While everyone had been looking forward to E3, I went the other way. I started looking back at some of my older games, mainly because there wasn’t anything at E3 that caught my attention. I kept trying to follow the expo, but nothing jumped out at me.
Good, evil, or beyond?
So I started to play Fallout 3 again, and last night I dug out Fable 2. I spent a while last night playing the blacksmithing mini-game, trying to scrape some money together to buy some property, which I didn’t really do on my first play-through. Tonight, I might try to make some more cash on Fable, then stick Fallout on for a bit. I’m not very far in, but I know what I’m going to do next. I’m going to detonate the bomb at Megaton, watch the explosion rip through the skyline, then I’ll reload the game. Because I can’t play the rest of the game with the mark against my name.
I don’t know why, but whenever I play a game where there’s the choice to play either as a good guy or a bad guy, I always seem to play as the good guy. I just don’t feel right about being bad. Whenever I can sense that a game is going to force me to make a choice, I have to save the game. My hard-drives are littered with forgotten save files, remnants of game story branches that I’ve “saved for later” but never gotten back to. Whenever I try to go down the bad guy route, I stick with it for a little bit, but it never seems right. I always resort back to being good. I can’t help myself. Even when I have the intention of doing a good play-through and a bad play-through, I do the good one first, then never get around to playing the evil way. Each play-through ends up the same way.
In games that have the hero, I can play as the hero. In games that have an anti-hero, I can play as the anti-hero. Give me a choice, there is no choice for me. I even am restrained morally when there’s no in-game punishment. On Fallout 3 and New Vegas, I can’t bring myself to shoot dogs. I have to run for it until I can get the animal friend perk, only using violence if it’s a matter of life or death. However, when playing GTA or Saint’s Row, I have no qualms about shooting an innocent in the face. It’s almost as if the shackles of choice have been removed. I’m already bad, so I’ll continue to be bad. It’s only when I play any Elder Scrolls games that I can have an element of evil about me through choice, and that’s only so I can complete the thieves guild and dark brotherhood. I never become a vampire. I try to avoid anything that will have a negative impact on my reputation. I always try to be morally sound. And I don’t know why. If I can go on a GTA killing spree, why can’t I be supremely evil in Fallout? It seems utterly bizarre that I can’t be evil when given the choice.
I think one reason is because I have it in my head that it might ruin the game for me. When playing on Fallout 3, for example, I never take any companions with me for fear of them getting killed. I collect everything and trudge back and forth from the location back to a safehouse to drop everything off. I never sell items. I want to see everything, and have game saves everywhere so I can check out every possible route and possibility for each game. I hate missing something, no matter how trivial. The problem is that I end up missing bits because I avoid the evil route in a game. There’s people out there that will enjoy being the bad guy, but I still can’t do it yet myself. If a character approaches my guy in need of help, I feel obliged to help them. I’m always the good guy.
But that’s the point. When games have freedom like that, people will always play the way they feel most comfortable. In my house, one kid plays Oblivion as a mixed character, neither particularly good or bad, two prefer to play as good guys, and one plays generally as a good guy, with a weird penchant for stealing the shoes from beggars. The youngest is too young to play games yet, but who knows what play-style he will have? Only time will tell. As for me, I’m going to try my hardest to be the bad guy for once. I’m going to be evil. I’m going to cause chaos. I’m going to kill people. But I’ll still draw the line at killing dogs. Here’s to being evil.