In response to "Kill Billy" from The Escapist Forum: Well I must say that was a fantastic article, it's amazing that you managed to write a 3 page story about how you felt remorse after killing a pixelated goat. A lot of the concepts you covered were very interesting to me.
It's odd how people can become attached to a simple character in a video game. People begin to form unintended attachments to the environment around them in games. Take for example, Animal Crossing. The entire premise of Animal Crossing is that you have all these little Animal Neighbors who live in this little world. If you don't tidy up this world by planting tree's or pulling weeds then animals begin to move out.
Normally you shouldn't care if some inferior character made of zeros and ones packs their bags to move out of your crummy, weed infested town. But, you do care for some strange reason and when that cute dog with the black spot on its eye named Ponto leaves... It's just heartbreaking...
Video games have historically taught players to assume that action is more beneficial to inaction. Games inherently require the possibility of action to be games. The goat was a rare exception to this. Its significance was determined solely on how it affected your perceived experience, not a game value or effect.
It'd be interesting to see inaction used more as a game option. Generally, if there is an opportunity in a game to either act upon something or do nothing, my instinct is to side with the former, just because the latter is something I'd expect to end in a Game Over, or at least a missed reward. It'd be interesting if the predictability of games got to be fresh enough to where such consequences would not be presumed.
The goat was an opportunity for you to create your own content (perceived meanings and consequences to the choice) without any sort of gameplay interference in your judgement. That's a pretty unique thing in this medium.
In response to "A Pikachu in the Family" from The Escapist Forum: When Furbies were the hot, new thing, I bought one for my little sister for her birthday. Problem was, the only one I could find was the store display and it was still two weeks before her birthday. So for the next few weeks I had to drive around with this little fellow in my car, talking to me the whole time. (I was told not to remove his batteries or else he might not work right anymore.) He would call me mommy, and even though I ignored him, he always knew when I was around and genuinely seemed to love me. So finally my sister's big day comes up and I give her her new little friend. She's overly excited not expecting one, and the family is pleased cause no one else could find one, but it was all very short-lived.
He didn't like my sister. He never once responded to her, only becoming "happy" when I was around. After about a month, my sister ended up removing it's batteries herself. I still have no idea how those stupid things are made, but after that incident, I avoided them at all costs.