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LONG BLOG

Do The Wrong Thing: And do it right, for once.

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If there's one thing that really bothers me about The Wrong Thing in games, it's that it's almost always THE Wrong Thing. Evil (and good, for that matter) are always so cookie-cutter, it takes no effort to figure out how to make your character a bad guy. This can be a boon in some cases, especially when the whole point of the game is being the bad guy, and you start as such; Overlord and Dungeon Keeper are great examples. When it's made clear from the start that you're the meanest sumbitch in the forest, and your job is to keep things that way, I have no qualms with being made a stereotype. The trouble is when games try to inject a flimsy element of "choice" into matters.



While you're at it, try flipping that lens now and then, and letting the player see things from several sides of a game's core conflict. Sure, the Holocaust and Nanking were abominable, but how do you think Germany felt about Dresden, or Japan about Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Just what is wrong when things escalate to that point?

Finally, make it matter. The straw that broke me with Fable, regardless of the rest of these issues, was the fact that your actions for good or for naught are just as easily reversible. Redemption or condemnation are easily achievable, should you be leaning a way you'd rather not, by throwing money at the church or sacrificing your friends and loved ones in the dead of night. With such quick fixes for your moral dilemmas, why bother petting or harassing the local livestock? Lock the player out of certain skillsets, subquests, or character interactions if they choose moral paths that conflict with them. Make party members stay or leave based on their compatability with you. And while I'm against completely locking a player into one track based on their choices, make major shifts appropriately difficult. Word of mouth and public image are just as (if not more) powerful as(/than) personal drive, and no one got off the registered sex offender list just by volunteering at a bunch of bake sales and hugging some kittens.

Games have come quite a long way, but it's still far too infrequent that wrong gets done right.
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About nekobunone of us since 5:17 PM on 06.29.2007

Hi, I'm Chris, though I've been going by nekobun and variants thereof for so long, I kind of answer to both anymore.

While I've kind of got my own thing going in the realm of indie coverage, at least in the form of playing through (and streaming) (and writing about) the huge backlog I'm developing of games gleaned from various indie bundles, I try to keep my more mainstream, game-related features here, as well as opinion pieces on the industry at large, out of mad love for the 'toid. When I'm not rambling here or trying to be clever in comments threads, you can catch me rambling on Facebook and my Twitter, and trying to be clever in the Dtoid.tv chat.

Now Playing:
360: Halo 4
PC: F.E.A.R.
SNES: Secret Of Mana

Promoted:
I suck at games: PEW PEW LASERS
Improving game communities: Collective consciousness
Nothing is sacred: These walls have torn my world apart
The wrong thing: Only cream and bastards catch them all.
Love/Hate: I love to hate -you-
Love/Hate: B(u)y the book
The Future: Is still what it used to be
My Expertise: Playing the race kart
Something about sex: Sex sells, but who's buying?
E3 Approaches: It's oh so quiet
Freedom: Together, we'll break the chains of HUDs
East vs West: We've got the empire
Handhelds: Graduating as 2000's Catchemaledictorian
Relaxation: Cheesy double Chief burrito
Online Passes: A spoonful of sugar
Peripherals: Many tentacles pimpin' on the keys
This is what MAGfest is all about
Beginnings: Put it on the pizza
Disappointment: Bad(vent) timing

Recap Topsauce:
It's Thinking: Could you quit playing with that radio, love?
Do the wrong thing: And do it right, for once.
Afraid to shoot strangers.
Not if you were the last junkie on Pandora
Is Jim Sterling servicing the video games industry?
Something About Sex: Unsafe at any speed.
Doing DLC right
Congress passes sweeping Elfcare reform bill
Bottom five healthcare systems in videogames.
Pushing my love over the quarter line.
When my life would depend on an eight point none.
Remember the heroes.
Every Journey begins with a single step.
It's all over now, bomber blue.
Being Social: We'll always have Rainbow Road
Labor Day: Of course you realize, this means wark.
Please, aim it higher.
There Would've Been Brawl: Show me 'round your eggplantcage.
Integration: A place for everything
Zelda Week: I guess this is growing up.
MAGfest: the (don't be an) idiot's guide
Promotions: The bees are alright
Now is the winter of on-disc content
This was supposed to be a dozen items about nekobun.
Without Slenderness, there's something missing.
Cheap tricks (and treats) don't come cheaper than free.
The legacy of the (unlikely) wizard.
Cheap Tricks II: Sugar rush boogaloo
Thank you, for bringing me here, for showing me Home.
Burnt flowers fallen: the tragic bitchotry of Lilly Caul
Red and blue, resolving into purple.
Xbox LIVE:nekobun
PSN ID:strictmachine
Steam ID:nekobun
Mii code:2610 8366 7890 1412


 

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