Monday, September 24, 2012

Come to the Dark Side...

Does playing an evil character in a game affect your real life? 

Every game has a story.  Whether you’re talking about role-playing games that brag about the amount of immersion or FPS games that say “Oh yeah, and there’s a story, too.”  Every game has a story of some sort.  Mario has to save the princess, Pac Man has to eat dots, and Galen Marek has to help the Rebellion defeat Darth Vader.  

So what makes a story?  To put it simply, conflict.  To tell an interesting story, something has to be wrong.  Sometimes it’s circumstances, sometimes it’s one specific enemy.  A good story has more than one conflict; it has a main, overall conflict and several other, more specific sub-conflicts to add to the depth.  

What I’m going to talk about today, though, is the scenario when a story has one specific enemy, or one specific evil that the “good guys” are fighting.  More specifically, I’m going to talk about those games that give you the choice to be evil, and if it’s a good thing or not.  

After all, RPG’s rave about giving you choices and letting you do whatever you want, right?  In Knights of the Old Republic, for instance, you don’t have to be the Jedi that saves the galaxy.  In fact, you can choose to be the evil person who kills the bad guy just so that you can destroy the Republic yourself.  

Maybe you’re thinking: “Why would anyone want to do that, anyway?  What fun is there in being the bad guy?”  You’d be surprised.  I know a lot of people that enjoy playing the story from the side of the bad guy.  I’m currently playing Skyrim as a not-so-great character myself.  I’m doing the Thieves Guild quests, which means pick-pocketing, lock picking, and general mischief.  It’s not because I think that shop lifting is a fabulous thing, it’s because it changes the story, and I want to see what things are like from another perspective of the game.  

So, does it make me less Christian to enjoy playing a thief in Skyrim?  It’s just a game, but at the same time, it’s still me behind the keyboard choosing for my game avatar to do those things.  This is an age old discussion that Christian gamers have talked about time and again, and from my experience, it’s almost always an even split between yes, no, and both at once.  Allow me to explain.  

The people who say yes make the point that the choices you make in a game are still representative of you, and to be an evil character is still, albeit virtually, making bad choices. 
The people who say no are either the people who say “It’s just a game!” or that they’re just portraying the character in the game and that it doesn’t affect their real life at all.  

I have to agree with the people that say both yes and no, and here’s why: what it all comes down to is your heart.  When you play a villain, does it feel wrong to you?  Does it make you feel guilty to be playing a bad guy?  Then I have great news for you.  

You don’t have to if you don’t want to.  Every RPG ever gives you that choice.

  If you can enjoy playing another side of the story guilt-free, then do it!  Games are just stories that you are a part of, so go and be whatever part of the story that you want to be.  As long as you keep your relationship with God as your first priority, everything else will sort itself out.  

*Hops off soap box* 

Oh yeah, and I have another review to share, which you can read here.

Until next time, have fun... and be evil if you want to!   


  1. Dude. I saw your name since you entered my Modest Pop giveaway and "Threepwood" jumped out at me - I was pretty sure that it's a Monkey Island reference. Now I see that your blog is about gaming, I'm actually kind of positive that's what you were going for ;) And I just wanted to give you a virtual high five.

    I agree with you about playing the other side of a story in games - I don't think it's a bad thing at all.

  2. I agree with you I've taken flack for the fact that I like and play the anti-hero all the time the one in the middle so to speak but I like playing them because of reasons I can't really explain it I just do but that doesn't mean I'm willing to shoot the person who says something I don't like.

    Very good point made my dear.

  3. Thanks to both of you for commenting. Sorry I didn't even notice until today.
    Haha! I loved your blog already, Kelli, but you're even more amazing now for knowing where Threepwood comes from. Yes, it's certainly what I was going for, and I think it's a fun way to catch someone's eye. *Virtual high five back*

    @Bleach: Exactly! Playing the anti-hero is a lot of fun sometimes, especially in forum RP's. A lot of games don't have much of a neutral party, but Skyrim does, and I think it's great. Also, you're the best cousin ever for reading my blog. ;)

  4. YAY for being the best cousin ever <3