Every Other Game Ever

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The thing is, murder is the name of the game. Or, should I say, murder IS the game.

In most game character's defense, it's not like they have a choice most of the time. It's usually kill or be killed. Then there's the motivation issue. It's still an interesting point but it's not exactly apples to apples either.

Unless you're in Dynasty Warriors where they're just knocked out!

Hah, he does have a valid point.

I'm not sure if I would hire kratos...maybe start him off with merchandise first.

Problem is, it's about as valid a point as "You had to kill innocent german soldiers to stop Hitler!"

In some cases, it's the exact same argument.

In some, maybe, but the in the majority of cases it's not. Most real-life gang leaders aren't interested in shooting up civilians and spend most of their time peddling drugs anyway. So in a crime game like GTA or Saints Row the protagonist is still acting morally reprehensibly. Even overthrowing a dictatorship isn't necessarily a morally legitimate cause for execution extreme amounts of violence, since that violence might not be necessary (a la Just Cause) or civilians might end up getting caught in the crossfire (see also Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2).
Only in situations where large groups of people stand at significant risk of being killed can you justify killing large swathes of antagonists. But those kinds of situations usually boil down to something like: A villain is going to blow up the earth with his giant death laser on the moon! And by that point the context of the game has usually become too cartooney to be having any serious discussions about morality. That's one of the reasons why the Second World war is so unpopular as a setting these days. The relations between the the Allies and the Nazis has been so oversimplified into "Allies Good, Nazis Bad" that it's very hard to introduce any measure of depth into your story.

You know I hate too admit it but Grey makes a point // How many countless family's do you ruin each time you fight your way to the main boss? Sure they were hired goons but who's to say they didn't have wives and kids to go home to each night // In the end, who is the true monster, the villain wishing to take over the world and enslave humanity or the man who killed this way through an army of hired goons to shop him?


This also why Taken is such a bad movie. It tries to be all gritty and realistic, but in the end this guy murders and tortures a bunch of henchmen and bosses to get to his daughter and then they pretend like everything ends happily ever after, forgetting about the fact that Liam Neeson's character is basically a completely psychopath.

In most game character's defense, it's not like they have a choice most of the time. It's usually kill or be killed. Then there's the motivation issue. It's still an interesting point but it's not exactly apples to apples either.

And when it's kill or be killed that's fine. Bioshock is a good example of that. But a more important question is whether or not the protagonist had the opportunity of staying away from dangerous and violent situations. In Deus Ex: Human Revolutions you're basically just a hired gun who goes around looking for trouble at the behest of his corporate overlords. There's not a strong moral basis for that.
The same goes for most games in which you're a soldier. Mostly soldiers don't have to justify their actions, because the end goal of a war isn't something a soldier should concern themselves with; they just have to follow orders. But just because they don't have to justify themselves doesn't mean that they are in the right. Take Battlefield: Bad Company for instance. Bad Company is group of loose canons who are so reckless and insubordinate that they have literally been earmarked for canon fodder. They joined the army for the heck of it and then any killing which ensues is not because of some grand ideal, but because they put themselves in a situation in which they had to fight. That loose attitude to violence is just as reprehensible as the same attitude of any antagonist.

Games tend to justify this by dehumanizing the enemies. In Half Life 2 for example, the Combine troops were all masked aggressors that barely spoke and in BioShock, the splicers were deformed psychopaths that screamed nonsense and attacked you with super powers. Aliens, demons, zombies and robots are also decent cannon fodder. These are ways to reduce or eliminate player empathy with the NPC enemies.

However many games, Dishonored for example, try to make feel you bad about killing too many people. You might overhear a guard who's throat you're about to tear out talking about how he's about to propose to his girlfriend. Other times if you kill someone, his buddies will yell in outrage that you just made his children orphans. The more a game goes through the trouble to make the enemy characters more human and even go as far as to suggest that they have normal lives outside of being your enemy, the worse you're going to feel about shooting, stabbing or blowing them up.

I think this strip is most accurate in military style shooters where the baddies are human enemy soldiers, and their evil leader could very well point out that you mass-murdered hundreds of his troops just to get to him.

Oh and happy birthday, Grey.

This thread is beginning to depress me. No one who kills, whether paragon police officers or psycho killers or gangsta drug lords or mid-eastern terrorists or US Navy SEALS, does so without tangling with the moral conflict between the necessity of taking a life and the gravity of killing. And where they stand can be radically different from how they are seen by their peers or the public. SEALS often have to retire because the guilt is insurmountable, while gangster cleaners and enforcers feel completely righteous in their position. Islamic terrorists are usually pretty solid sure that God is on their side (and no other religion can effectively contest that point).

During the cold war, the United States went to lengths to keep its nose relatively clean, at least in comparison to the Soviet Union. We could afford to be ideologically righteous. They were pragmatic in favor of the long game. (Today, both Russian fiction and games continue to have that air of necessity. I think it's cultural, influenced by Vodka-inducing winters.)

After eleven years of the war on terror, the United States tortures people, and uses robots to murder fifty civilians for every one high-value target. My country is the evil empire, and those terrorists who think they are rag-tag rebels fighting the good fight really are rag-tag rebels fighting a vastly overpowered enemy. And they certainly don't have to look far to see the atrocities of their enemies. (Granted, their regime will replace them with horrors of their own.)

So, yeah, the hero will always see the people he kills as the enemy. He will always see his murders as justified, his atrocities as necessary.

Go ahead and pretend he's the good guy, though. He does.[1]

Incidentally, Vasili Blokhin murdered tens of thousands by his own hand in the service of his country as chief executioner of the Stalinist NKVD. And then there's Bombardier Thomas Ferebee of the Enola Gay.[2]


[1] That would actually be a good twist for a game, where in at the end of the second act, the hero has a Falling Down revelation.
[2] I'll let you do your own research on that one.

It's ridiculous how since Spec Ops: The Line every single shooter has to use this throwaway line. Most of the time it doesn't even make sense in the context of the story.

Scars Unseen:

True, it'd be nice to see a game where these one man armies try to re-integrate into a normal civilian life

Not a game, but here's how it might go:


Man, I love Warbot in Accounting. My favorite one is when he is trying to get the birthday invitations made.

The really annoying part is when the protagonist leaves the big bad guy alive after killing dozens of dudes to get to him.

"You're not worth it!" yea bro, I bet the 15 guards you tossed off the Vatican wish that they weren't worth it.

Or when the main good guy tries to sympathize with the main bad guy after all the blood spilt and the final, climactic battle's about to begin. Or when you're feeling pity or sorry for the main bad guy because hey, "he's just a misunderstood guyyy". Fuck that. You should be sympathizing with the guys that got into the henchman business to feed their family, or save up for that cool car, or something, not the guy who's batshit insane to hire a bunch of henchmen to begin with (for some goal that they're clearly not going to stray from because of some talk from the main protagonist, especially after he/she mowed down all those henchmen in the first place).

I think it is not a valid argument to attack and kill everybody on sight, because they shoot at you.

In most shooters it is YOU, who walks gunblazing in enemy territory (or at least armed to the teeth)
Then there is a guardsman who just hopes to get through the night and you trespass on the place he is paid (or bound by duty and honour) to protect. He might not even think he is a terrorist, I mean, it's his home country, he's on guard duty.

And then he shot first.
For fucks sake if a corps of armed to the teeth marines would intrude in my country to find whoever or whatever and kill everyone on sight I would try to kill them too.

So basically, I always have a bad feeling when I am killing somebody, it is just so easy to be in their shoes. (I do not want to count in family members and such, because then I would have to stop playing)

That is the reason why I did not finish God of War 3 ... the obliterate Zeus scene was too much, I already destroyed the world and he just wants to stop me from doing more evil. I had to turn off the console and say "Never play this game again"

And then there's Bombardier Thomas Ferebee of the Enola Gay.

Please tell me everybody knows of Enola Gay.

To adapt the words of Urdnot Wrex,
"Anyone who fights us is either stupid or on [antagonist's] payroll. Killing the latter is business. Killing the former is a favor to the universe."

Oh wow. It only took 10 posts for this thread to Godwin itself. That's pretty damn fast.

Also, nice comic I guess.

This same thing happened in Hotline miami

In the end, you can ask the twins stuff like:
Q: Is this just a game?
A: Yes, and you sure as hell enjoyed it.

Q:Why are you killing people?
A:We don't. You killed all of them, and wasn't it fun?

For this I cannot do nothing but say yes, and realise that i am the real monster here.
Damn, art can really kick you in the face.

One thing I really liked about one of the Turok games, I think it was evolution but I'm not sure anymore, is that the enemies would sometimes surrender. They would drop their weapons and kneel down with their hands behind their backs and surrender. You could shoot them but I never did on purpose when they did that.

Completely suicidal enemies gets old after a point.

The game Iji does this (http://www.remar.se/daniel/iji.php)

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