Recently, I was playing Fable III, and of course, I made a ton of promises that financially I couldn't keep. Well, I could have if I was smart enough to start banking money from the time I started the game. Let's face it, for some of us, that's just too much work. I don't have time to spend hitting buttons in a correct timed sequence over and over again to net me cash money. I wish I did, but I barely get to play half of the games I want ever since I graduated into adulthood along with being a reviewer under some crazy deadlines. Fable III is an example of one of those games I didn't get around to until recently, but it made me think - why am I always striving to be a good person in video games? Isn't this supposed to be an alternate world devoid of reality where your conscience shouldn't play into your choices? And yet, for some reason I always do the "right" thing. I've been good in Infamous, Mass Effect, Fable, Dragon Age, etc. These are my opportunities to be someone else and I still always stay aligned with my morals. And mind you, I could easily go to the bad side and not feel like anybody is judging me; nobody is watching me play these games. They're not real, but I think where I've hit the nail on the head with this is that they feel real.
We've come so far with graphics and technology that I find it hard to separate myself from my character. For instance, if I'm killing somebody for no reason in a game other than for my own selfish reasons, it feels wrong. But here's the thing - some games have it so realistic now where you see the blood and hear the cries and screams. Being evil is sometimes on a whole new violent level and even though these people aren't real, these games are giving me an experience that mimics something real. This is both good and bad.
I'll start with the good. For me to play games I must be compelled to play on, the easiest way to wrap me into that is by giving me a story and world that I can get wrapped up in. I've saved the worlds 100 times now in video games, but as long as you give me a good enough reason to keep saving it, I will always continue. Interestingly enough, even years ago, when games had blood splatters like Mortal Kombat - something about it never felt real to me. The visuals did nothing that ever made me feel bad about any of it. Lately, though, with our graphical advancements and games now having realistic voiced dialogue, it's impossible to deny that it feels more real than ever. And that's why I still stick to being the nice girl.
People always tell me, it's more fun to be bad - be a different person from who you are in real life. I'm sure that's true; however, I sleep better at night knowing I'm not torturing characters who look me in the eye, plead for their life, and resemble everyday people I see on the street.
I'll end this post with noting - not all games have evoked this sense of realism in me. I think it's interesting to ponder. For instance, in the Call of Duty games, I have yet to feel bad for any of kills. Honestly, I think this is because I'm so removed from knowing what war is like and the stories never invest me even close to the other games I listed earlier. Also, in CoD, it's shoot or be shot, so if it's to save my life...well then the rules change. But maybe it's because I don't play the CoD games for the same deep experience that I do other games, therefore, it doesn't hit me on the morality meter. I think we've all been desensitized by the media to some degree, and if a video game can get me that riled up about my choices where I'm facing a moral dilemma, well then they must be doing their job well. For now, I'll stay good, I don't need to taste the evil side to know it's just not for me. In the end, it all just feels too real for comfort.