Edge readers share their opinions; one wins SteelSeries hardware
I see that BioWare have released figures for dragons killed in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Since I played offline, my count won’t be included, but I’m ashamed to admit it’s three, including the compulsory one. That’s two more than I wish it was. Maybe I can excuse one, since I didn’t know what I was getting into, but I consider needing two bites at the cherry to discover it was sour to be a lapse of judgement on my part. These dragons are complete one-offs, look magnificent, don’t attack you unprovoked, and to beat them you have to break their legs one by one till they’re defenceless — and they limp, and cry out in pain. Damn it, Jim, I’m a gamer, not a torturer.
This has happened to me increasingly often in recent years. The first time I can remember was in Shadow Of The Colossus, when I stopped about halfway through because Mono just wasn’t worth the death of such fine creatures minding their own business, and killing them to corrupt Wander didn’t feel like ‘success’ in any way I could relate to.
Then I refused to kill Paarthurnax in Skyrim. The other dragons had to go to Save Th The World, but he’d made that possible; the Blades’ argument was no better than “tw “two legs good, two wings bad”, and I’d he heard that before. Finally, at the end of last yea year I refused the Kyrat Fashion Week mi missions in Far Cry 4, even at the cost of lea leaving one “bastard honey badger” standing, alt although I’d been slaughtering everyone and eve everything else – as you have to – as usual.
Ordinarily, I’d be the first to argue that gam games are not real, that digital avatars do no not have backstories, personalities or sex sexualities, and that no pixels were harmed in the massacre taking place on my screen, bu but it seems to me that all of my refusals hav have an aspect in common: I’m being told by the designers to go after something unique that has no intention of coming after me. I’ve read about Milgram’s Experiment 18, and what happens if you ask volunteers to roleplay prisoners and guards. I’ve always believed, and have some real-life evidence, that I’m one of those people who would tell the men in white coats where to stick their clipboards, and missions like the above increasingly play like variations on such psych evaluations to me. Maybe the next game will require my character to cut someone’s liver out and eat it as a power-up, and supply a cutscene complete with fava beans and a nice Chianti?
Ironically, this is exactly the opposite effect to the one the media sensationalists claim: far from games desensitising me to real-world situations, I am importing my morality into them, even when it is to my gameworld disadvantage to do so. Whatever the reason, as graphics start to claw their way out of the uncanny valley, and articles in E277 suggest the only available consensus in triple-A art design (at least outside of Nintendo) is photorealism, I’m starting to feel that somewhere up ahead there’s going to be a definitive line in the sand, and that the gaming community had better spot it before the Moral Minority do. Dave Lockwood
“I am importing my morality, even when it is to my gameworld disadvantage to do so”
Where such moral choices exist, they tend to be off the critical path, placed not solely to tempt you into some immoral atrocity but to make the player question the morality of everything else they’ve done, too, no? What we’re trying to say is that those bastard honey badgers deserve everything they get.
Whose line is it, anyway?
It’s hard to fault the graphics, scale and sheer ambition of today’s best games, but one crucial ingredient seems to have not moved with the times – audio. And not sound