I drew a comic!
DISCLAIMER: Since I already had one family member get confused and mad at me, this comic is a joke, perhaps, a parody of society and video games.
It’s in the style of one of my favorite internet comics Three Word Phrase, Cause I have no style to call my own.
Our upcoming game will probably run into situations like this. We are going to have the ability to effectively “judge” a user’s decision.
The reason that all those “be a saint or the Devil” games have such extreme decisions for each side is because it’s easy. When you get into fuzzy areas of what is right and wrong, well that’s grounds for getting angry when the designers don’t agree with you, the player.
Players now-a-days demand agency. If I hit the “good” button, I want good points! But if the industry is pushing for video games to become something more, to push the bounds of art or society or something like that, games can’t have decisions with unoffensive binary judgment in them. I wouldn’t expect any mainstream game to ask the player an ethically tough questions, they need to appeal to everyone, make everyone happy. Which is why I think we all have to look to the indie scene for this kind of experience. (Although I like that Geth choice in Mass Effect 2.)
Mainstream games are designed so that you never see the man behind the curtain. The idea is that if you want to sell big, players shouldn’t feel like they are butting heads with the designers. But when the game tells you what is right and wrong, the designers are pushing their will on you. So the easiest way to make it agreeable is to limit it to extreme polarity.
But in the world where I want to live, games are artful. And art is always a conversation between the artist and the audience. Indie games, my games, will often contain the opinions of the designer because we don’t care what you think. And my games are going to judge you accordingly. If you don’t agree, then my game hates you. (But we can still be friends.)
Our upcoming game is going to have a lot of this. Users will create scenarios and users will judge your actions. You don’t have to agree because ultimately, when you enter someone else’s work, you are playing by their rules. And most of us are dicks.