308: First Kisses (And Deaths-By-Molester)

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First Kisses (And Deaths-By-Molester)

Good stories live in the complexities and corollaries born of more nuanced moral choices. Sometimes, you just have to get in the car with the child molester.

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That is amazing. Is Alter-Ego available to play online? I'd love to give it a go.

It'd be interesting to see if I could follow the footsteps of Pink from The Wall. ^^

Amazing read, and amazing game alter ego is. Keep up the great work, that game me a 10 mins read that will give me a day to think.

That level of detail for choices sounds amazing! If Alter Ego were available anywhere, I would definitely want to pick it up after reading this. Times like this is when I lament the fact that I'm too young to have experienced games like this and missed out on other early console games because my parents didn't buy me a system until the Playstation.

If there was a game out there now that featured a system like this would definitely make an impact on gaming as a whole and could even help give gaming some better credibility to those who seem to want to bash it at every turn.

I wish gamedevelopers would pick up on these kind of moral dilemma's. The newer RPG's get dumbed down into action-RPG's. Still fun, but it is less RPG and more action. Gray choices are way more interesting then the black and white ones.
The Witcher 2 does bring back this way of choosing and it gets positive reviews for it. So there is hope for the future.

Is said game available (I know it's been asked but it sounds really good)?

Chuck Wendig:
Also during infancy, I'm confronted with another baby who gets his face too close to mine. One of my options is to punch him. So, I think, "Screw it, I'm going to beat king hell out of this other baby," if only to see what the game does with that choice. The answer? Surprisingly, while my Gentleness stat goes down, my Physical stat goes up. I just got rewarded for playing Baby Fight Club.

And that's the ticket.

Yes, we generally assume that punching a baby is wrong... but the game doesn't tell you that, does it? The game simply provides you the reasonable outcomes of that behavior--you're less gentle, but you're stronger. It's up to you to decide whether that's a good thing or not.

I'm put in the mind of comic books, and specifically those old "comic book pricing guides." "Super Duper Comics #1? That's worth $11-ty billion." There were even guidelines as to what constituted mint versus near mint condition. It always came back to a "Says who?" problem. Just like every kid learned when they went to a comic shop and tried to sell that "$100 comic." The price guide is bunk. Each person decides for themselves how much that particular comic is worth to them. If I'm not willing to pay you $100 for that issue, it's not worth $100 (to me).

In most games these days, that's how morality works. Somewhere in the game's story (and code) is a little pricing guide. It tells you that behavior X is worth Y positive (or negative) morality points and it tells you that more morality points is better. Often, we don't enjoy these systems because they leave us with a subconscious, "Says who?"

Players must be allowed (and even challenged) to assign their own value to actions. Rather than behavior X being worth any amount of morality points, behavior X leads to outcome Y and unintended consequence Z, to be revealed later. Maybe it's good, maybe it's bad. Maybe Y outweighs Z, maybe it doesn't. Maybe some people loved Y, while others hated it, and their opinions toward me reflect that... but maybe I'm okay with that trade-off, and I feel I've come out on top.

When we take the morality out of the moral choice system, at least in the overly-direct way, we start to get into real choices. We can start crafting moral dilemmas. And unless both options are equally enticing, there's no "dilemma."

One good thing that Fallout: New Vegas did is separate karma from reputation. Stealing things gave you bad karma... but you only lost reputation if you got caught by the people you were stealing from. And stealing for another faction? Sure, it was negative karma, but it was positive reputation for them. In a sense, morality is decided by whether or not what you did benefited a particular group. If it did, they could look the other way.

Morality had more than two options. You could be seen as a hero by one group, and a villain by another. And if you were heroic through villainous means (like stealing), some folks might mention the fact that you're a bit of a jerk... but they'll still work with you, without trusting you completely. The system could have gone a lot further with this, but it was already on the right track.

Alter Ego sounds like excellent study material for anyone looking into making a "choice-consequence" system, which is far more meaningful than a "morality" system anyway.

I just gave it a go and managed to drink cleaning fluid, cause digestive problems, burn the house down and get burns on 30% of my body and get killed by aforementioned stranger all in about 20 minutes. This seems like a pretty cool game.

First:

You can play it: http://www.playalterego.com/

Second:

As a sidenote, in my bio you'll note I mention "unborn progeny," who was scheduled to be born tomorrow. He decided to be two weeks early, so, not so much with the "unborn." :)

Now, time for him to play his own personal game of ALTER EGO.

-- c.

ARGH. I got tortured and killed after running away! My physical stat was 100! How the fuck did he catch me? Not cool, game.

Chuck Wendig:
First Kisses (And Deaths-By-Molester)

And how did I know this'd be about Alter Ego? Really novel game, I have to say. And yes, I think we ALL got killed by the molester at least once just to see if the game had the guts to do it. (The last option before you die IIRC even breaks the fourth wall and calls you out on this.)

The hell of it was it taught me a lesson in being observant - they tell you the plate number at the very START of the encounter, before it's obvious what he intends. Then if you do the sane thing and run away, you're asked to recall it for the police.

I couldn't do it. I'd read the damn thing not a minute before real-time and I couldn't even guess it off a multiple-choice list of five(?) similar options because it hadn't seemed important. Was quite the lesson for me in paying a bit more attention to the mundane.

It amazes me the simplicity of morality in most games, and I get why some games do it - they want to make it cut and dry to lure the instant gratification crowd to replay. That's why some games let you flip-flop right before the end. It kind of bugs me, but I just chalk it up to my own personal tastes vs. the will of the majority. Sure, I like the scent of bovine taint. That doesn't man anyone else should.

With that said, it would be nice if there were more "niche" games that cover the morality spectrum. The closest things I have found to them in modern games are the Japanese dating/hentai games, and I just feel dirty for even thinking about them.

Man, I was going to write an essay on this very subject. Now it's redundant. Thanks a lot.

It's a good article, though.

Good work, simplicity has come about through games. It is disturbing and why I avoid so many new titles and stick to good pen and paper games and their groups.

I played the game a while ago, on Extra Creditz' recommendation. It was awesome, as I spent a 4-hour session (instead of studying for an exam) living my life. I remember managing to be pretty fit and smart during my youth, but I lost it as I got older. I finally died old, while playing baseball with my children (grandchildren?). I had jumped to catch the ball, caught it spectacuarly in mid-air while simultaneously having a heart-attack and dieing with a smile on my face.

I was amazed. It was great.

Wow, looks like an amazing game. I just spent an hour playing it instead of writing a paper that's due tomorrow. Which seems like a rather unfortunate moral choice in itself.

Wow, I had heard of this back in the day but had not tried it. Fun game and rather different.

I had this idea for a cRPG morality mechanic which is basically copied (but somewhat simplified) from The World of Darkness P&P RPG. There's a set of Virtues and Vices there (the Vices are basically the Seven Deadly Sins), so I thought, "Why not have some choices in the game give you points in a given Virtue or Vice, not in a general Good or Evil direction?". It would be hard to get quite right, but it would be very awesome. Especially if these choices would be abstracted as to not be a point value, but rather an intensity of a colour, perhaps? Like, if my "aura" has a lot of red overtones, that means I've been quite Angry recently. But at the same time, I may be a very Just person. See, not black & white anymore?

cRPGs have a lot to learn from P&P RPGs. There's another system which works similarly, seen in the King Arthur Pendragon RPG, where you play a Knight and have a set of Good and Evil traits. Raising one decreses the other and vice versa. That's cool as well, because I may be playing a very Calm and Just person, but at the same time be Lustful and Proud.

And in the end, you get to choose one of the ending depending on two or three of your dominating traits.

I can totally see this working out, if only somebody decided to try and do it! That would be a proper RPG...

Dastardly:

I'm put in the mind of comic books, and specifically those old "comic book pricing guides." "Super Duper Comics #1? That's worth $11-ty billion." There were even guidelines as to what constituted mint versus near mint condition. It always came back to a "Says who?" problem. Just like every kid learned when they went to a comic shop and tried to sell that "$100 comic." The price guide is bunk. Each person decides for themselves how much that particular comic is worth to them. If I'm not willing to pay you $100 for that issue, it's not worth $100 (to me).

Actually, no. The personal value to each person is subjective, but there is a market value based on supply and demand. I might not care much about Action Comics #1, but it's definitely worth more than $100, seeing as I could easily re-sell it for much, much more than that. A comic book shop, being precisely in that business, is going to buy your comic or not based on what he thinks it will go for to the highest bidder, not what he personally thinks of the comic.

The problem with the "comic book pricing guides" was probably just that they weren't very accurate, especially since only old, rare comics are actually worth serious money. In fact, I'd wager that it was printed primarily as a tool to get little kids to buy comics for more than they were worth.

BloodSquirrel:
Actually, no. The personal value to each person is subjective, but there is a market value based on supply and demand. I might not care much about Action Comics #1, but it's definitely worth more than $100, seeing as I could easily re-sell it for much, much more than that. A comic book shop, being precisely in that business, is going to buy your comic or not based on what he thinks it will go for to the highest bidder, not what he personally thinks of the comic.

The problem with the "comic book pricing guides" was probably just that they weren't very accurate, especially since only old, rare comics are actually worth serious money. In fact, I'd wager that it was printed primarily as a tool to get little kids to buy comics for more than they were worth.

Yes, there is a "market value" based on supply and demand... and that value is subject to the very individual market in which this transaction is taking place. Also, it's subject to the personal assessment of the person with whom you're negotiating.

One store might only offer you $100 for the comic, while another somewhere else offers you $10,000. It's not solely based on personal preference (though a dealer that doesn't like a particular series might underestimate his ability to re-sell it for more), and that's not what I meant by someone deciding "what it's worth to them."

For some people, yes, the trade is based on how they feel about the comic. For others, it's based on what they feel they could get from the comic in another, future transaction. That feeling may be based on a lot of information aside from personal feelings, but it is still very individual.

The idea is that the price in "the guide" doesn't have any authority whatsoever. In the end, the two parties involved in the transaction will reach their own conclusion based on far more individual assessments.

Now, for the section I've bolded: how do you know you could see it for much, much more than that? Could be that all of the people interested in it already have it. Could be that they'd be more willing to just buy a re-print for a normal price, rather than go after an original. Could be that they disagree with your assessment of its condition. There's no guarantee until you find a buyer and get a guarantee from that buyer. That's the point I was making there.

Well, sub-point. The larger point is that we can similarly alter the supposed value of a consequence based on personal beliefs about the weight of that consequence, the weight of the mitigating factors, the perceived benefit (now or later), and many other factors. When the game forces a particular value on us, it reads as artificial. We know it's not our conclusion, so we reject it.

That game sounds amazing. Is there anywhere to play it these days (on a modern system)?

I agree that one of the major shortcomings of most modern morality meters in games is that they are single-axis. You are either Satan or Jesus, with not much middle ground. If you waffle a lot on decisions (like I do), taken the "immoral" choices almost as often as the "moral" ones, you still come out as Mr. Morals, which makes no sense. The choices are usually pretty mundane in their effects too -- you get a different item, or power. At most sometimes you will get a different ending cut-scene. Big whoop.

Wow. Just... wow. I played through Alter Ego and feel like I just had my life flash before my eyes. After playing it, I had to remind myself I'm 21, not an old man like I felt like after the last portion of the game. Just a brilliant game... using many specific examples of situations to evaluate someone's life as a whole. I felt a chill go down my spine no less than 6 times while playing. My mother and father dying were so sudden and especially terrifying.

Thank you so much for sharing this, Chuck. I will definitely end up passing this along to others.

I just finished my play through. I had a decent childhood -- I was a good child, though not without a temper -- a mischievous adolescence. I dated here and there, fooled around a lot in college... and then things got a little fucked up. The game started glitching and not following through with some of my choices, including my college graduation, which meant I had wasted 12 turns.

Despite the fact that I now had to go into business instead of research (which I found depressing in itself) I finally got fed up and tried to settle down. First gf was beautiful. Unfortunately, I reminded her of her dead ass daddy and she couldn't find me attractive ("I'm sorry poppa!"). Second gf was pretty fun in the sac. Second gf's husband turned out to be a jealous asshole. Third gf had a kid, but he was nice. He even called me dad. I asked her to marry me... and she accepted! I bought a house. We planned the wedding and the honeymoon and everything was going great. Until she left me at the altar. So now I'm old, uneducated, and unattached. At least all that MacSauce money was keeping me living cushy with all my toys. You know, until another glitch resets my debt and I'm suddenly in the red for 200 grand.

Hearing starts to fail. Bones become brittle. All of my friends die. I slip away into oblivion cold and alone... but hey, at least I remembered the outfit my first date wore, and all of my old neighbors, right?

Life sucks.

dub post

Dastardly:
For some people, yes, the trade is based on how they feel about the comic. For others, it's based on what they feel they could get from the comic in another, future transaction. That feeling may be based on a lot of information aside from personal feelings, but it is still very individual.

Here's where you're fundamentally wrong- people don't sell things that can be sold for $10,000 for only $100 just because they personally value it less. They may do it as an act of charity, or because they didn't know that they could get $10,000 for it, but not because it's just not worth more than $100 to them.

What someone can realistically expect to sell something for is not "very individual". It isn't based on the seller's opinion of it, it's based on the buyer's value of it. If you are a comic book shop owner, then you know roughly what you can sell Action Comics #1 for. You aren't going to look at it and say "Wow, the art sucks. Nobody will pay more than $5 for this!". You're going to look up what people are buying it for, and value it accordingly.

Using your logic, people might not think a $100 bill is worth $100 because they might not like the paper it's printed on. In reality, since the paper itself is nearly worthless to them, the $100 bill's value is entirely derived from what it can purchase. There's nothing "individual" about it.

Dastardly:

Now, for the section I've bolded: how do you know you could see it for much, much more than that? Could be that all of the people interested in it already have it. Could be that they'd be more willing to just buy a re-print for a normal price, rather than go after an original. Could be that they disagree with your assessment of its condition. There's no guarantee until you find a buyer and get a guarantee from that buyer. That's the point I was making there.

The last copy of Action Comics #1 that was sold went for $1,500,000. I'm pretty sure I could get at least a cool $200 for it.

I actually find the licence plate one a bit... frustrating? Firstly, I didn't feel like the context of it was properly framed. It seems acknowledging the man at all dooms you, based on encountering that event twice; I expected more randomness too, as with the other events, such as a parent or other adult intervening, or the man being genuine.

Secondly, I find it improbable for every child to encounter the murderous pedophile. Thirdly, I'm not sure what the event is meant to test. Some of the events seem to test you as the player, especially the knowledge type ones. Others test your desires and expectations on how to shape your alter ego. Given most of us are past the 'don't talk to strangers' age, I'd find it odd if it were testing you on this, and it seems like a strange dead-end: either you survive by being psychic and, using player knowledge, ignore the bad man, or you let your guard down for a second and die for even talking to him, even if it's in character for your alter-ego. I didn't see the moral dilemma there. There are a few in the game, but I didn't consider that to be one of them.

Also, I don't get how the licence plate is significant, although it was mentioned and I checked it expecting it to be something obvious, but nothing stood out.

This game does have moral consequences, and that's what I enjoyed the most and is what really makes morality in games, for me. While some smart alec could reverse engineer and expose all the internals of the game, that'd subtract from the magic. Keeping the stat changes somewhat distanced and under the covers stops you from min-maxing too much, and the flaws are just as interesting as the qualities in terms of game play. What really compels me is the consequences of your actions, especially with the random element thrown in. Sometimes people will react unpredictably badly to a good choice, or a bad choice/lazy choice will result in unexpected benefits. People don't always react in direct proportion to intention, as intention doesn't always show in action or the subsequence interpretation.

Most modern games have what I term as proscriptive morality- the developer has some internal notion of morality by which all your actions are judged, making your character evil/good or renegade/paragon or open palm/closed fist good/bad karma. By following this absolutist morality to the extreme, often certain choices can be unlocked or benefits are offered.

What it really feels like is some unspoken contract between the developer and the player- there is one dimension to this character, which varies from black to white. It is likely you will follow it mostly through to one extreme or the other (or stay grey, for the oft neglected third option) and maybe play through the game (extended replay) for the other extreme. This will never be fully fulfilling and in fact leads to only two (or three) replays. It also can lead to jarring disjoints where a player may have different intentions for a given action, which is then judged badly by the absolutist morality system and can really jolt you out of the experience.

What Alter Ego gets right is giving you pure feedback, unbiased, un-judged. Showing the best intentions, you may sympathise with your Dad who's lost his job and is feeling very bleak about life, but he may lash out, despite your high family sphere; it certainly biases it towards a good result, but it doesn't guarantee it. While some cogs turn in the background and the game subtracts a few points off a stat, I'm instead reading into a simple paragraph so much about a father that never even existed. I'm becoming invested in this character, despite my best intentions being spurned. I feel genuine sympathy for his plight and frustration over being unable to help him.

The other encounter I had with a similar, powerful sensation was during a Dark Side run of KOTOR2. Aside from the wonderful Kreia and her hard to impress (sometimes impossible) ways, and morally grey take on what's normally a very polarised universe, there was one scene that I couldn't chose for the dark points. I had many, so skipping it was an option, but I was immersed enough in the game that the sheer despair of my victim actually disgusted myself for inflicting that upon him. I save-scummed and took the higher road to soothe my own conscience.

That's what games need if they want to really portray morality in games. No morality at all, at least on their part, only consequences. If you can involve the player deep enough in the game that they actually feel involved enough to pass their own moral judgement on the actions taken on their behalf in the game, you don't need a morality meter, just good questions, unpredictable (but weighted) outcomes, and your own conscience making you uncomfortable. I think I could handle playing the Dark Side again, but only with a detached disgust for the character I would play- it is, after all, a role-playing game and not all roles are idealised reflections of ourselves.

BloodSquirrel:
Here's where you're fundamentally wrong- people don't sell things that can be sold for $10,000 for only $100 just because they personally value it less. They may do it as an act of charity, or because they didn't know that they could get $10,000 for it, but not because it's just not worth more than $100 to them.

I think where you're fundamentally missing the point is that I've never said this. There are many things in my life that I've wanted to sell... and while I could sit on it forever waiting to get my asking price, I've let it go for less because I valued the "bird in the hand" versus the "two in the bush," so to speak.

A person might sell that "$10,000 item" for $100 because they just can't seem to find anyone that'll pay more than that, and they'd rather have less than have nothing. Of course, that price difference is purely hyperbolic, but the idea is that a seller might have to accept considerably less because it's the buyer that decides whether it's worth it.

My point all along is that value is determined by the buyer. Not by the seller, and not by the publisher of the "pricing guide." If you want to sell something, you can't just say, "Well, this book says it's worth a million dollars, so that's what you have to pay!" Because they don't have to. But if you want to sell it to them, you have to adjust your asking price--or choose another potential customer.

Using your logic, people might not think a $100 bill is worth $100 because they might not like the paper it's printed on. In reality, since the paper itself is nearly worthless to them, the $100 bill's value is entirely derived from what it can purchase. There's nothing "individual" about it.

And that's why it's currency, not a barter item. We have an agreed-upon and enforced system of law that assigns a certain value to that item. The government does not have a department that assigns value to individual products, like comic books. These are items on the market.

The whole reason we moved to currency is that its value is more consistent than value in any barter system. Maybe grain is worth a lot this year, but next year there's a bumper crop and no one needs it--so now your grain is basically worthless. The next year, there's a drought, and you're rich! And comic book value is subject to those same whims and fancies.

Dastardly:
The last copy of Action Comics #1 that was sold went for $1,500,000. I'm pretty sure I could get at least a cool $200 for it.

But then how much help is a pricing guide that tells you it's worth a million bucks? What are the chances you're going to find someone with a million bucks that wants this comic and doesn't already have it? The number is just a fantasy until a buyer cuts you a check in that amount.

Dark Harbinger:
That is amazing. Is Alter-Ego available to play online? I'd love to give it a go.

It'd be interesting to see if I could follow the footsteps of Pink from The Wall. ^^

http://www.playalterego.com/

You can also download it from your local abandonware site.

beema:
That game sounds amazing. Is there anywhere to play it these days (on a modern system)?

I agree that one of the major shortcomings of most modern morality meters in games is that they are single-axis. You are either Satan or Jesus, with not much middle ground. If you waffle a lot on decisions (like I do), taken the "immoral" choices almost as often as the "moral" ones, you still come out as Mr. Morals, which makes no sense. The choices are usually pretty mundane in their effects too -- you get a different item, or power. At most sometimes you will get a different ending cut-scene. Big whoop.

http://www.playalterego.com/

Kinda reminds me of GRIOLE (or whatever the hell it was) from Hocus Pocus.

Pinstar:

Dark Harbinger:
That is amazing. Is Alter-Ego available to play online? I'd love to give it a go.

It'd be interesting to see if I could follow the footsteps of Pink from The Wall. ^^

http://www.playalterego.com/

You can also download it from your local abandonware site.

Or grab a version for something like the C64 so you can state-save.:) Was very interesting, after a "straight" playthrough, to go through it again and state-save at critical points so I could see how life diverged depending on my choices.

Dastardly:

I think where you're fundamentally missing the point is that I've never said this. There are many things in my life that I've wanted to sell... and while I could sit on it forever waiting to get my asking price, I've let it go for less because I valued the "bird in the hand" versus the "two in the bush," so to speak.

Dastardly:
A person might sell that "$10,000 item" for $100 because they just can't seem to find anyone that'll pay more than that,

Again, you're missing the fundamental ideas here. If they can't reasonably find someone to pay more than $100 for it, then it's market value isn't $10,000. Market value isn't set by a single seller deciding that he wants 100 times what anyone else is willing to pay for something.

Dastardly:

My point all along is that value is determined by the buyer.

Market value is not determined by a single buyer either. It is determined by supply and demand- if there are enough buyers who are willing to pay $10,000 a piece for the entire supply of a comic book, then a theoretical buyer who is only willing to pay $100 isn't going to get his comic just because that's the value that he determined it was worth.

Dastardly:

And that's why it's currency, not a barter item. We have an agreed-upon and enforced system of law that assigns a certain value to that item.

No we don't. The value of currency changes all of the time. It's called "inflation" and "exchange rates". Currency is subject to all of the same economic laws that other goods are subject to.

The only thing that gives $100 bill value is the realistic expectation of being able to use it in a future transaction. People don't value it because the law tells them to, they value it because it's backed by a powerful enough entity that they know that somebody else will accept it as legal tender. If this faith is ever broken the currency's value will drop like a rock.

Dastardly:

But then how much help is a pricing guide that tells you it's worth a million bucks? What are the chances you're going to find someone with a million bucks that wants this comic and doesn't already have it? The number is just a fantasy until a buyer cuts you a check in that amount.

Now you're just getting silly. If somebody paid $1,500,000 for Action Comics #1 (and by "if" I mean "go look it up on wikipedia"), [1] then you can be reasonably sure that there was somebody willing to pay $1,400,000 so that the person who paid $1,500,000 had to offer $100,000 more.

The number isn't a "fantasy", it's market data. It's what stock brokers, commodity dealers, speculators, and all other sorts of financial experts rely on to do their jobs. They're experts at what people are going to buy those things for. When you go try to buy a house, the real estate agent isn't going to sit down with you and listen about how you personally value the house. He's going to look up what houses in that neighborhood in a similar condition sold for this year, and he's going to base his price off of that. If you offer him 1/10 of that he's not going to care that you don't like the wallpaper or whatever- he's just going to toss out your offer and wait for somebody else.

[1] I misread earlier, it was actually $1,000,000

BloodSquirrel:
Again, you're missing the fundamental ideas here. If they can't reasonably find someone to pay more than $100 for it, then it's market value isn't $10,000. Market value isn't set by a single seller deciding that he wants 100 times what anyone else is willing to pay for something.

And you keep arguing against a point I'm not making. If that isn't the market value for something, then a book claiming it is the market value is not entirely truthful or useful.

You keep speaking of comic books as though they are as dependable as currency, and they're just not. Any sort of valuation of an item over time is simply a product of desire plus scarcity. People want it, and there are only so many. How badly that person wants it is very personal, and it has a tremendous impact on the "value" of that item in a particular market.

Dastardly:

My point all along is that value is determined by the buyer.

This is another strawman. I never said one buyer determined the value. I'm simply saying within the context of a single transaction, it's the buyer that determines the value in the end. If the seller doesn't agree, there is no transaction, so it's outside the scope of this example.

Dastardly:
No we don't. The value of currency changes all of the time. It's called "inflation" and "exchange rates". Currency is subject to all of the same economic laws that other goods are subject to.

Within our country, there is no "exchange rate." And inflation has far less impact on the value of our currency than even the most basic "market" whims have on a hobby-good like comic books.

The only thing that gives $100 bill value is the realistic expectation of being able to use it in a future transaction. People don't value it because the law tells them to, they value it because it's backed by a powerful enough entity that they know that somebody else will accept it as legal tender. If this faith is ever broken the currency's value will drop like a rock.

Exactly. We value it because the law (a powerful enough entity) tells us it has (and will hold) value. The law doesn't "tell us to value it." It tells us the item has dependable value, and we believe it. But that is backed by the law. There's no such governing body for comic books, which is why we don't use them as currency.

When you go try to buy a house, the real estate agent isn't going to sit down with you and listen about how you personally value the house. He's going to look up what houses in that neighborhood in a similar condition sold for this year, and he's going to base his price off of that. If you offer him 1/10 of that he's not going to care that you don't like the wallpaper or whatever- he's just going to toss out your offer and wait for somebody else.

And if I get a house, fix it up, and someone tells me it's worth $1,000,000, but I can't find anyone that will buy it for $1,000,000, guess what? It's not worth $1,000,000. Same goes for cars--sure, we use the Kelly Blue Book as a guide to tell us about how much a car of X type in Y condition is worth, but in the end, that's not some kind of guarantee that you're going to get that much money.

And that's the only thing I've been saying all along about comic books, and also video game morality. Just because some people who claim to be "in the know" found out what the last guy paid, that's no guarantee that you're going to get the same price when you go to sell it. It's worth what your buyer is willing to pay for it.

And, in video games, assigning moral weight or value to an outcome has the same effect. Just because the writers tell a player that such an action has X moral weight, that doesn't mean the player is automatically going to buy into that assessment. It's better for the game to step back and let the player decide for himself.

Ironic Pirate:

http://www.playalterego.com/

Kinda reminds me of GRIOLE (or whatever the hell it was) from Hocus Pocus.

Oh sweet, it's on Android too!

Dastardly:

And you keep arguing against a point I'm not making.

Okay, I'm not going to play this game with you. I'm arguing against the point that you are expressing using the English language. If you think that you're making some different point than the ones spelled out in your posts then there's really no proceeding here.

"While you are outside, playing alone, a car pulls over to the side of the road and the driver motions for you to come over. You notice the license plate says OBO-237."

My choice: Curious/Helpful, but stay where I am.

"You have chosen an inappropriate response. (Or, at least, we hadn't thought of it. Please make a different selection.)"

Really? They didn't think of the possibility of a kid being curious, but not curious enough to merit leaving their game on the lawn? Hunh.

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