Edge read­ers share their opin­ions; one wins SteelSeries hard­ware

Draco malfea­sance

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

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