211: Kill Billy

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Kill Billy

Brendan Main has killed thousands of faceless enemies during his videogame career. But the one he remembers most wasn't an enemy at all. Main ponders the meaning behind his propensity for virtual goat-slaying.

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Great article.
I remember playing KQ1 myself and thinking the exact same thing.
That darned goat just tugged at your heart strings.

Incidentally, the goat is used to head-butt the troll off the bridge, offering you safe passage across.
But I don't think it's a requirement, only a shortcut.
But I digress.

Once again: Great article.

Eh?

deep thinking for a game.

awesome that a game as simple as that can do that with you.

Awesome article, kind of an eye-opener actually, haven't thought about this before. By the way, the animal on the top of the article is not a goat. ;p

I just have one thing to stay about this:

"You can't get ye flask."

The goat can kill a troll? Makes sense, really. I should have brushed up on my fairy tales.

Instead, I made the mistake of sending the goat off to kill Nazis. He came back wearing an eyepatch, and muttering something incomprehensible about "Lord Xenu."

This is quite interesting. Developers could learn from experiences like this.

Developers seem to have forgotten what makes people attached to games. Instead of letting the player define their relationship with the game, they tell you exactly how you're supposed to feel.

Awesome story, Brendan.

Brendan Main:
The goat can kill a troll? Makes sense, really. I should have brushed up on my fairy tales.

Instead, I made the mistake of sending the goat off to kill Nazis. He came back wearing an eyepatch, and muttering something incomprehensible about "Lord Xenu."

Wait, what?!

OT:Nice story, but too bad today's games don't have anything like that.

I was reading this whole thing, completely intrigued by it, and once I got to the end it said you played the Accordion, so now I have to ask:

Do you play the accordion?!

-

I've never played kings quest, but usually when a game offers "options" like that, there is this part in my brain that blocks off all the malicious thoughts I have. It's like, give me a hammer, and I'll be too scared to hit any nails. I can only think of a few games like this though, like Fallout, The Witcher, and with animals fresh in my mind now, MGS3 snake eater. I even remember walking up to a goat/ram or something in MGS3, and it stood there, just trusting me, and I broke that trust and stabbed it in the throat. I felt bad, but I got 3 ration looking things out of it.

In Deus Ex 2 I once caught a penguin in the blast radius of some terrible killing device. Whenever I walked past it the poor thing would still be burning, like a permanent beacon marking my atrocity.

Some nights I wake in a cold sweat and swear I can hear the distant crackle of roasting pingu flesh ... somewhere, somewhere on the breeze.

That said, my actions were purely accidental. You're a monster Brendan Main, a monster!

King's Quest was also amongst my first forays into gaming, and I could never complete it when I was young (it's tough enough now, let alone for a 5 year old!).

I don't think it ever crossed my mind that you could kill the goat though.

My first examples of animals in games that have stuck with me are Frogger and Alley Cat, both of which put you as the animal.

I'd also like to mention the awesome remakes of King's Quest 1+2 (and Quest for Glory 2), available to download from AGD interactive. You can also pick up King's Quest 3 from Infamous Adventures (who are currently working on Space Quest 2)

pparrish:
In Deus Ex 2 I once caught a penguin in the blast radius of some terrible killing device. Whenever I walked past it the poor thing would still be burning, like a permanent beacon marking my atrocity.

Some nights I wake in a cold sweat and swear I can hear the distant crackle of roasting pingu flesh ... somewhere, somewhere on the breeze.

That said, my actions were purely accidental. You're a monster Brendan Main, a monster!

Reminds me of one time in WoW, had started a firestorm on a bunch of enemies, and as the ticker kept track of the points I was dealing out, as well as the trolls dying, along pops up: You just killed a squirrel. Do I stare in aghast shock, tears welling in my eyes at this accidental act of squirrelicide? Nope, I bust out laughing like some medieval Joker.

The trolls were probably going to use the squirrel against me anyway.

ElArabDeMagnifico:
so now I have to ask:

Do you play the accordion?!

-

I do indeed. I find its a great way to impress the ladies out there who both love video game theory and accordion music. All none of them.

pparrish:

Some nights I wake in a cold sweat and swear I can hear the distant crackle of roasting pingu flesh ... somewhere, somewhere on the breeze.

That said, my actions were purely accidental. You're a monster Brendan Main, a monster!

Well, if it was accidental, that's another matter. That drops the charge from first-degree penguicide down to third-degree mobslaughter. With a good lawyer, you'll walk.

If you think the goat thing was bad, I really shouldn't tell you about the time I befriended my lunch, and then mercilessly devoured it.

Poor Samwise the Sandwich. Your only crime was deliciousness.

Hmm i was expecting something to do with Billy Mays.

I'm sad now ='(

This reminds me of Pigglet in Illusion of Gaia. I had never seen anything that quite like that in gaming before and it completely shocked me.


After it happens, the music comes back. Its the typical town BGM, as if nothing bad has happened at all and the world is at peace again.
But what about Pigglet?!

i feel the exact same way a lot of the time!
especially when im playing fallout 3, im given the choice at every random wasteland scavenger i encounter. To kill him, or not to kill him. My choice makes no effect on the game's main story, theyre just there... I try and settle for the "not" option. i cant bring myself to kill the person. it comes down to a moral decision. for every other game you go out and buy, call of duty; gears of war; socom; the point of the game is to kill other people, thats how you win, thats what there meant for. But here, when you see a random person, just getting by, it comes down to what kind of person you are, and when i do kill those people, it reflects bad on me. and it feels like shit knowing that they died for no purpose :(

either that, or its all PETA's fault
dam those animal rights activists, make us feel all guilty for doing the simplest things, like having bacon in the morning!
(and oh nos, my sisters one of them :O)

it reminds me of my time playing fallout3 there was this one time i was searching for ammo
downtown and i would find a scavenger whit a pet yao guiao i thought over killing him for a second and then my evil side kicked (it does that sometimes..) i imedietly sprayed a inferno over him whit my flame thrower and then took whatever he had on his body then afterwards
the yao guiao would just stand there whit a worried expresion on his face and looking down
on his flaming master waiting for him to wake up he then suddenly looked at me whit a look
that says: he will wake up will he?.even though it was just virtual reality it still hurted
inside but still even if a part of me wanted to stay whit the thing i could also hear myself
laughing inside..so i walked away and kept going and going...

awesome article BTW i wonder if these symbols will change our way of gaming in a distant
future? i can think of a world were humans together fight of giant monsters and zombies and
aliens aaah...(hipie fantasy)

hah, this might be one of my favourite articles yet.

Nowadays everyone is always going on and on about freedom in games, but it always comes from the small things. Being able to kill the goats because, why wouldn't you be able to kill the goats? Hence was GTA born.

I also always play nice and always follow the good path on my first (and only, unless it's a really great game) playthough. By the end of Fallout 3 I think I could have slaughtered an entire town and come out of it with good karma.

Great Article.

I agree that the only real moral choices we make in a game don't come from the coding but from yourself. Over my years of gaming, hordes have been slaughtered in my unceasing blood lust but I remember well the few times when I've killed something innocent for no reason.

Most recent example would be killing a deer in Oblivion. Unlike most wildlife in the game it just stood there as I walked past, just staring. On a whim I killed it and immediately felt incredibly guilty for killing something that was in no way involved with the cataclysmic events occurring around it. I had no need for the venison that could be taken and my blade skill was maxed so there was nothing to gain from a skill perspective.

It's eyes will haunt me forever.

I had a similar experience while playing Farcry 2. I'd always been aware of the various (unfortunately just) herbivores wandering the plains, and sometimes enjoyed trying to sneak up on the odd deer to get a better look, and marveling at the way they would turn and bound gracefully away.
I was one day driving hastily around a cliff face towards my next mission while some silly animal jumped in front of my car and was unceremoniously knocked dead (I checked the wiki afterwards and it says that just touching the car will kill the poor creatures). I was so shocked at the senselessness of the pain I had suddenly caused when I hurriedly hopped out and ran back to find a deer lying glassy-eyed in the grass. I was dumbstruck with shame for amout 10 seconds before I remembered that it was just a game, and I probably wouldn't be sent to some obscure corner of hell for unintentionally murdering an aleady non-living entity within a videogame.
It was still a pretty awful experience.

Brilliant, loved it.

Shocking experience Andronicus.

I learnt my lessons about messing with animals from Zelda, I'd hack at those chickens revelling in their screams and screeches, laughing as I went, but then the chicken would turn, a dark look in its eye, one of darkness and revenge, and with its dark warcry it would summon a hundred thousand chickens to descend from the heavens, blocking out the sun to rip at poor link with there talons, until the screen would darken and I would watch are poor, green, animal hating boy fall to the dust with a sigh. I would reload my lesson learnt, "do not anger the fowl" and from fear I learnt to respect the chicken. Dogs where still fair game though.

Well done. Best article I've read for at least a month.

You make me reflect on the other King's Quest titles, in particular (I don't remember which one exactly) the one where you have to trick the unicorn into becoming bait for the lady (a witch?) in the castle on a mountain. I think the required phrase was 'Shoot horse', and it took me something like an hour to figure out how to shoot the horse with the cupid's bow. When I finally did, and realized that the horse was the bait for a trap, I felt genuinely bad for the horse, since I knew what it's fate had to be. It also brings to mind the scene in the same game (I believe) where you have to dig in the graveyard, and you come across a molded old teddy bear, another item that put solid emotion into my heart, as it was something, much like your goat, that just struck a chord like very few other events could.

I couldn't help laughing, but it slowly, eerily decreased nearer the end of the article, and I too had feelings for the goat.

YOU MURDERER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BehattedWanderer:
You make me reflect on the other King's Quest titles, in particular (I don't remember which one exactly) the one where you have to trick the unicorn into becoming bait for the lady (a witch?) in the castle on a mountain. I think the required phrase was 'Shoot horse', and it took me something like an hour to figure out how to shoot the horse with the cupid's bow. When I finally did, and realized that the horse was the bait for a trap, I felt genuinely bad for the horse, since I knew what it's fate had to be. It also brings to mind the scene in the same game (I believe) where you have to dig in the graveyard, and you come across a molded old teddy bear, another item that put solid emotion into my heart, as it was something, much like your goat, that just struck a chord like very few other events could.

King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella

Possibly one of my least favourite of the series, some of the puzzles were really difficult to figure out. There were also a few occasions where even when you knew what to do, actually doing it was another matter entirely. Getting the eye from the witches was one, and placing a plank over a chasm... always remember SNSO! (Save Now, Save Often!)

Andy_Panthro:

BehattedWanderer:
You make me reflect on the other King's Quest titles, in particular (I don't remember which one exactly) the one where you have to trick the unicorn into becoming bait for the lady (a witch?) in the castle on a mountain. I think the required phrase was 'Shoot horse', and it took me something like an hour to figure out how to shoot the horse with the cupid's bow. When I finally did, and realized that the horse was the bait for a trap, I felt genuinely bad for the horse, since I knew what it's fate had to be. It also brings to mind the scene in the same game (I believe) where you have to dig in the graveyard, and you come across a molded old teddy bear, another item that put solid emotion into my heart, as it was something, much like your goat, that just struck a chord like very few other events could.

King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella

Possibly one of my least favourite of the series, some of the puzzles were really difficult to figure out. There were also a few occasions where even when you knew what to do, actually doing it was another matter entirely. Getting the eye from the witches was one, and placing a plank over a chasm... always remember SNSO! (Save Now, Save Often!)

That's the one, sure enough! I need find a way to play those again-I've only got VI. Thanks for the link, since I can download a few of them there. Now, time to go watch Sir Graham get killed a few times!

I bet you think this is news don't you? Wonder where you could have possibly stole it from...

http://gameoverthinker.blogspot.com/

Try video 25 or 24, it's one of those (i think), but he's covered this ground before. You probably haven't done it on purpose, but I'm just warning you that you're re-inventing (or in this case re-iterating) the wheel...

EDIT: I've looked, and I can't find the correct video, but I would like to make it perfectly clear that Brendan Main is NOT plagiarising a previous article by another author, merely that this idea that gamers form their own sentimental attachments with video game characters or creatures without outside influence from the games developers themselves is not a new concept.

I regret using the words "stole it", I should have said "...got inspiration to write your own article..."

Baby Tea:
...
Incidentally, the goat is used to head-butt the troll off the bridge, offering you safe passage across...

Man, for a second I thought the people that make KQ were really deep and intelligent developers... Dang bridge troll, he ruined half the symbolism!

BehattedWanderer:

That's the one, sure enough! I need find a way to play those again-I've only got VI. Thanks for the link, since I can download a few of them there. Now, time to go watch Sir Graham get killed a few times!

I managed to pick up the King's Quest Collection a few years back, so I could play those games again (also got the Space Quest one). I hope they can find their way onto Good Old Games or something, the Quest series of games were some of Sierra's finest efforts.

There is supposed to be a King's Quest IV remake somewhere on the web, but I haven't seen anything new from them for a long while, so it may be dead. It was fan-made, so may have been shut by Vivendi(Activision/Blizzard).

Seems the website is still around, no info on the game though!
http://www.mmgames.org/KQ4/

Why would you care for the goat? Because it's unique. Those thousands of people you killed were common and forgettable. The goat stands out, the people don't.

i have never felt that close to an npc, in most games i usually send them away or if its not possible send them into the war zone to get them killed or kill them my self.

great article.

Andy_Panthro:

I managed to pick up the King's Quest Collection a few years back, so I could play those games again (also got the Space Quest one). I hope they can find their way onto Good Old Games or something, the Quest series of games were some of Sierra's finest efforts.

Annnnnnd...I just ordered the KQ collection, having not been aware that it was made. Sierra did have a really good lineup of games, and some of my favorite retro titles, including the Quest series, and the Lode Runner Games.

There is supposed to be a King's Quest IV remake somewhere on the web, but I haven't seen anything new from them for a long while, so it may be dead. It was fan-made, so may have been shut by Vivendi(Activision/Blizzard).

Seems the website is still around, no info on the game though!
http://www.mmgames.org/KQ4/

I just looked up Vivendi, and good grief do they own a lot. It would be interesting to see the remade games, and hopefully the keep remaking them, or at least remake the older ones so that they're playable on today's systems.

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...

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