211: Kill Billy

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A modern day example of this is the dog in Fable 2. At the end of the game it dies for you. And then you have the choice to either bring it back, bring back countless dead or get a million dollars. Needless to say, I brang back the dog, even though by the end of the game he doesn't do much. I just felt to bad to take money or save 1000's of humans. Therefore:

1 cute fluffy animals life > The lives of thousands of innocent humans.

I'll miss you, Dogmeat...you died defending me.

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.

Kings quest was the first game I ever played. I started it when I was six and I named the goat "goatertons" because I could.

This happened to me in Fallout 3.
There is a super optional, unmarked quest that has the most useless "reward" but it tests you emotionally.
I'm not talking about Megaton, or poisoning the water, I'm talking about the kid kid-napper quest.

1. YOU offer to bring a child to the slavers, they don't ask you.
2. YOU have to find the most vulnerable child, and the moment I started the quest I knew exactly who I needed.
3. I had the child at heart perk so I could convince Bumble that we were going on an adventure without much convincing.

It was the first time in that game that I actually felt horrible for being such an evil bastard, and I did nuke megaton, poison the water supply, and destroyed the Citadel from orbit beforehand.

This is the best article I've read yet.

Lord George:
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.

But that's an entirely different lesson from the one with the goat. For the Legend of Zelda infamy of chicken assault, what you are learning isn't guilt, it is the risk vs. reward of consequence. Your restraint from attacking the chicken comes not because you'll feel guilty afterwards (firstly, you know that it cannot die, and although you were probably curious as to whether or not it could die the first time you attacked it, you quickly learn that you'll never get the chance to find out), but because you fear repercussion. The same way a child only does what they're told if they don't think they can get away with doing otherwise. That's actually the opposite of morality, and seems more sociopathic than anything.

With the goat, the reality is that there are no consequences. You can get away with it, and you know it after countless times of trying it. The game does not reprimand you for doing so -- it even gives you the option of doing it in the first place -- at which point the question of "So what's stopping you?" is not so easily answered... or one could say that it is quite easily answered, if less than a second later the goat is dead on the ground in a bloody heap. It poses a moral dilemma on a more realistic level. Sure, you can tell yourself that it should not matter because the goat is not real, but applying that same logic to real life, if you had a person who no one knew, no one would miss and you felt no particular way about in front of you, as well as a tool suitable for killing said person, the knowledge that there'd be no repercussions in this life (or the next) for killing them, and the opportunity itself made the urge appealing, what would you do? Would you kill it just to see what happens/how you feel afterward, or would you never even consider it? It ends up being whether the distinction between the real and the virtual comes from an ethical/moral sense or merely a from there being no real consequences stemming from the virtual.

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