Monday, June 28, 2010

Taking games too serious

For quite some time now I’ve been a regular visitor to the forum over at Big Fish Games. I browse through the forum, discuss a bit, help out with other gamers’ questions…

But one thing surprises and agers me every time I meet it: gamers who either think games should not have any supernatural or occult themes or they should not give a gamer any possibly not-completely-moral choices.

The newest of this threads belongs to a vampire-themed game (thankfully without any sparkling vampires) named “Blood Oath”. In the second half of the game, you are presented with a choice: Feed from a vampire hunter who has made your un-life miserable before or do not feed. While it is suggested that you will die when you don’t feed, this isn’t true. You will be saved and still can continue in the game. Still, it obviously is a tough decision – if you take the game too serious.

I never take possibly dying or killing in a game too serious. I’ve played ego-shooters (quite some of them and those quite a lot) when I was younger (I rarely do so these days). I’ve played GTA (though not part four, because up until quite recently my computer wasn’t up to it and it doesn’t run well on ATI graphics cards). I played the infamous great white in the “Jaws Unleashed” game (and it was fun). On the other hand, I never managed to go down the path of the dark side in “Jedi Knight”. I usually end up as a risk-taking close-combat quarter in RPGs. But whether or not I’m doing good (or bad) deeds in a game doesn’t affect my actions in the real world. I rarely drive faster than speed limit (and never much faster). I’m polite to people. I get up and offer my seat to elder people or those who need it more than me in public transport. I lead a good life – well, as good as you can be without being a saint.

But I draw the line between what I do in real life and what I do in a digital world. A game can be reloaded, you can play it again, make different choices and see where that leads you. In fact, to me that’s part of the fun in such games. I like games with dark themes, too. I like spooky and dark stories and games that run along the same lines are far more interesting to me than, say, a bright game with a woman in love looking for the man she loves (and that’s, basically, the second category in which hidden objects games mostly fall). (The “Dream Day” series is the only exception from this rule for me.)

But I don’t tell other people their choice in games is wrong. Everybody has a different taste and not everyone likes what I like (which is probably a very good thing). It gets on my nerves, though, when other people try to do that to me.

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