No Right Answer: Good vs. Evil - Who Wins More?

Good vs. Evil - Who Wins More?

Some would say that Mankind is prone to evil, others would argue that's not such a bad thing. Let's discuss whether it's better to metaphorically free life's little sisters or harvest them.

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I think this discussion can only be about fiction because good and evil are childish concepts when applied to the real world. Good and evil, as concepts, are meant to make humans feel better about themselves and are not a useful method when dealing with the complexities of reality. Morality and ethics are the real litmus tests we use and neither concept is tied to good or evil but intent and outcomes. I find that the whole concept of good and evil is more often used by people to defend immoral or unethical actions than for any other reason. Good and evil are concepts that are an extension of tribalism.

We create evil caricatures in order to pretend like the people who do cruel or terrible things have some special quality that seperates them from their fellow human. It's a way of pretending like we could not possibly act the way that "evil" people do because we have the opposite quality, "good." Even calling a mass murdering psychopath "evil" is merely a deflection, a way of not addressing who that person is and why they did what they did. If we were to look at that person's humanity, their reasoning, their life and their mind we might find some sympathy for them. Instead it is simply easier to call them evil and pretend like we , ourselves, could never be capable of such atrocities. It is no different than calling someone a monster. They aren't evil, they aren't mosnters, they are humans just like us.

Good... Evil... It doesn't matter if we can't sympathize and/or emphasize with the entity in question... Otherwise, we would be against them and/or indifferent to them in the long run...

Also, that was both a creapy and smexy laugh right there... ;)

Gorrath:
I think this discussion can only be about fiction because good and evil are childish concepts when applied to the real world. Good and evil, as concepts, are meant to make humans feel better about themselves and are not a useful method when dealing with the complexities of reality. Morality and ethics are the real litmus tests we use and neither concept is tied to good or evil but intent and outcomes. I find that the whole concept of good and evil is more often used by people to defend immoral or unethical actions than for any other reason. Good and evil are concepts that are an extension of tribalism.

We create evil caricatures in order to pretend like the people who do cruel or terrible things have some special quality that seperates them from their fellow human. It's a way of pretending like we could not possibly act the way that "evil" people do because we have the opposite quality, "good." Even calling a mass murdering psychopath "evil" is merely a deflection, a way of not addressing who that person is and why they did what they did. If we were to look at that person's humanity, their reasoning, their life and their mind we might find some sympathy for them. Instead it is simply easier to call them evil and pretend like we , ourselves, could never be capable of such atrocities. It is no different than calling someone a monster. They aren't evil, they aren't mosnters, they are humans just like us.

While I agree with most of this philosophically I'd like to add that what is best of being evil and being good depends on your end-game. (If we can agree that there is such a thing, while not being a set value).

Financial success, I'd say evil. Ruthlessness will get you a long way.

Social success, I'd say good. Trust does not evolve from betrayal and fear (trademarks of evil).

What wins more in the real world? I'd say evil. There are so many ways this world could be better, but we just dont care enough to do something about it. Evil might be the same as the absence of good. Letting evil happen. And if one thing is certain, its that there is a truckload of evil happening every goddamn day, and diddly squat is done about it because a big part of us are just too comfortable staying where we are.

In fiction hasn't this all been dwindled down to whether or not the villain is more evil than the good guy? If you had to inject real life into the evil debate Blade is evil because he wants to commit genocide on the vampires. But vampires are more evil because they drink people's blood & maybe turn others into vampires.

I find the 'Good ending/Player character is always canon' trend to be incredibly irritating. Nobody likes having their choices, their story, their *character* invalidated by a sequel they no doubt were rather heavily anticipating. "Good is always Canon" along with its cousin first cousin "Male character is always canon" and "Human character is always canon" have often made playing games-rpgs in particular, and Star Wars and D&D games specifically *quite disappointing* at the end of the day.

I'd like to think it's a situation that's getting better, but It really isn't...The Old Republic is the game that comes immediately to mind-KOTOR II let you set KOTOR I's protagonist's alignment and gender without using import data, in a short 3-minute dialogue...while TOR, a game with a much higher budget, decided 'screw that' and just made Revan a mulleted lightside male. *yawn*

I'm finding myself less and less interested in taking up new RPG franchises as time goes on, because I know that too few of them are actually interested in taking into account the variety of choices a player can make over the course of the game. I don't want to get invested in a particular story or character only to find out that everything I got invested in got thrown out in a sequel.

tzimize:

While I agree with most of this philosophically I'd like to add that what is best of being evil and being good depends on your end-game. (If we can agree that there is such a thing, while not being a set value).

Financial success, I'd say evil. Ruthlessness will get you a long way.

Social success, I'd say good. Trust does not evolve from betrayal and fear (trademarks of evil).

What wins more in the real world? I'd say evil. There are so many ways this world could be better, but we just dont care enough to do something about it. Evil might be the same as the absence of good. Letting evil happen. And if one thing is certain, its that there is a truckload of evil happening every goddamn day, and diddly squat is done about it because a big part of us are just too comfortable staying where we are.

Well if we just use good and evil as place holders for ethical/unethical then the concept is as valid as the ethical concerns they are meant to represent. So does ethical or unethical behavior lead to more net reward? Well, context is everything I guess and we'd have to agree on a valuation system for the consequences and outcomes of the behaviors. Is the best way to get rich by ethical or unethical means? That question alone has so many aspects it becomes difficult to sort them out.

If you invest in a telecom company and make a ton of money from it, you've gained great financial benefit without doing anything unethical. But what if the company is only successful because it engages in unethical practices? Your net financial gain would still be built on wealth generated by unethical practice of someone else. But then, are the practices of said company really unethical? Someone might say the use of low-paid Chinese labor makes the business unethical but the actual workers, who's only other alternative would be making far less money growing rice, may not see it as unethical at all. Perspectives and context make every bit of this sort of good/evil valuation nearly impossible.

That's one of the reasons I reject the whole notion of good and evil. It's a black and white evaluation and nothing is ever black and white, just a mess of conflicting interests and greys. That's not to say that we can't do our best to suss these things out; it is imperative that we do, but even trying to boil down almost anything to good vs evil isn't useful, even for acts of extreme violence.

Gorrath:

tzimize:

While I agree with most of this philosophically I'd like to add that what is best of being evil and being good depends on your end-game. (If we can agree that there is such a thing, while not being a set value).

Financial success, I'd say evil. Ruthlessness will get you a long way.

Social success, I'd say good. Trust does not evolve from betrayal and fear (trademarks of evil).

What wins more in the real world? I'd say evil. There are so many ways this world could be better, but we just dont care enough to do something about it. Evil might be the same as the absence of good. Letting evil happen. And if one thing is certain, its that there is a truckload of evil happening every goddamn day, and diddly squat is done about it because a big part of us are just too comfortable staying where we are.

Well if we just use good and evil as place holders for ethical/unethical then the concept is as valid as the ethical concerns they are meant to represent. So does ethical or unethical behavior lead to more net reward? Well, context is everything I guess and we'd have to agree on a valuation system for the consequences and outcomes of the behaviors. Is the best way to get rich by ethical or unethical means? That question alone has so many aspects it becomes difficult to sort them out.

If you invest in a telecom company and make a ton of money from it, you've gained great financial benefit without doing anything unethical. But what if the company is only successful because it engages in unethical practices? Your net financial gain would still be built on wealth generated by unethical practice of someone else. But then, are the practices of said company really unethical? Someone might say the use of low-paid Chinese labor makes the business unethical but the actual workers, who's only other alternative would be making far less money growing rice, may not see it as unethical at all. Perspectives and context make every bit of this sort of good/evil valuation nearly impossible.

That's one of the reasons I reject the whole notion of good and evil. It's a black and white evaluation and nothing is ever black and white, just a mess of conflicting interests and greys. That's not to say that we can't do our best to suss these things out; it is imperative that we do, but even trying to boil down almost anything to good vs evil isn't useful, even for acts of extreme violence.

This just got a whole lot more interesting than I figured it'd be, but alright, I'll bite :P

I agree that situations/circumstances are usually just shades of grey. And while there is no universal "goodness" or "evilness", it is quite possible to define good and evil behavior.

Good is selfless, protecting, self sacrificing.

Evil is non-empathic (probably a better word for this, I'm not a native english speaker, sorry), antisocial and exploitative.

I like the chinese worker example you made, and while I have no problems agreeing with you that using low-paid chinese labor is probably neither unethical or evil, KEEPING them low-paid is. When you rob people of the opportunity to grow, you are evil. It is possible to do this for ones own financial benefit. Which would, in my opinion be evil. Again, this is not necessarily the psychopaths evil of inflicting pain on someone, it is more the evil of exploitation and further more or less enslavement.

I think it IS possible to say weather something is good or evil (provided one can agree on the definition first.. :P ) However, most cases are not clear cut. We live in a world of grey. For the most part.

Oh man, this is the big one. THE big debate. Given what's going on in the real world now, I just hope that the comments here will be more nuanced and respectful and-
Oh who am I kidding? It's going to be a firestorm.

tzimize:

This just got a whole lot more interesting than I figured it'd be, but alright, I'll bite :P

I agree that situations/circumstances are usually just shades of grey. And while there is no universal "goodness" or "evilness", it is quite possible to define good and evil behavior.

Good is selfless, protecting, self sacrificing.

Evil is non-empathic (probably a better word for this, I'm not a native english speaker, sorry), antisocial and exploitative.

I like the chinese worker example you made, and while I have no problems agreeing with you that using low-paid chinese labor is probably neither unethical or evil, KEEPING them low-paid is. When you rob people of the opportunity to grow, you are evil. It is possible to do this for ones own financial benefit. Which would, in my opinion be evil. Again, this is not necessarily the psychopaths evil of inflicting pain on someone, it is more the evil of exploitation and further more or less enslavement.

I think it IS possible to say weather something is good or evil (provided one can agree on the definition first.. :P ) However, most cases are not clear cut. We live in a world of grey. For the most part.

I do tend to wax verbose so I'm glad you find it interesting!

Now you say here that good could be defined as selfless, protecting and self-sacrificing but any act has multiple facets which would need to be evaluated to determine if the act met one or more of these standards. If, for instance, someone feels that their life and those of their children are hopeless, they may view it as a selfless or protective act to drown their children in their bathtub. Their intent might have been good, to protect their children from a world of hopeless degradation, but I think we'd be hard pressed to call the act a good one. A suicide bomber is committing a selfless act too and yet many do not find their acts to be good ones either. These judgments must not simply be assessing the matter of intent but also outcome. How do we judge the suicide bombing act as bad if it's a selfless act? Because the outcome may cause undue carnage to undeserving people.

The same goes with an act that might qualify under the description you put forth. If one does something that lacks empathy but the outcome is good, the outcome is good regardless of the intent behind the act. If you've ever heard of or seen the show "House", he is a great example of this. He's a genius doctor who saves lives but not out of any sense of empathy, he simply likes solving puzzles and patients represent those puzzles. His act lacks empathy but is not evil. Also, one might assert that my wife and I act in exploitative ways to one another all the time. We exploit our love for one another for personal comfort and pleasure. Certainly doing this is a fair trade and so wouldn't be evil, we both well know that we are susceptible to the other's exploitative whims and give into those whims willingly. Really, most any relationship is exploitative in some way or another. Those Chinese factories people love to bash (and for good reasons) have directly led to increased standard of living for millions of Chinese. There is no doubt they are exploitative, but there is also no doubt they've been good for the country as a whole. China has one of the fastest growing middle classes in the world due in major part to foreign investment in those factories.

You mention more about this last example as you continue. A natural outcome of the investments being made is that the Chinese people, as a whole, will end up being paid higher wages. It may take time and it is happening because of greedy investors and exploitative companies, but if the end result is better living conditions for millions of people, how do we judge this as evil? I don't think we can, I think we can only assess whether individual parts of this system are ethical or unethical and whether some of these parts should be outlawed, forcing the companies to take on more ethical practices faster.

In short, I think you are on the right track arguing for good values to be one of the pillars of ethical/good behavior but one must assess intent, outcome and context in order to make a full judgement. Calling something good or evil fails to address all three of those points and so isn't useful.

Darth_Payn:
Oh man, this is the big one. THE big debate. Given what's going on in the real world now, I just hope that the comments here will be more nuanced and respectful and-
Oh who am I kidding? It's going to be a firestorm.

Why so cynical? Has the debate so far not been plenty civil? I don't mean this response to seem reactionary, I'm just curious as to your mindset and expectations.

Gorrath:

Darth_Payn:
Oh man, this is the big one. THE big debate. Given what's going on in the real world now, I just hope that the comments here will be more nuanced and respectful and-
Oh who am I kidding? It's going to be a firestorm.

Why so cynical? Has the debate so far not been plenty civil? I don't mean this response to seem reactionary, I'm just curious as to your mindset and expectations.

IT's not the debate in the video itself, but in the comments section. Pretty soon every Tom, Dick, and Harry is going to jump in and scream about what they think is evil in the real world. Personally, in regards to the video, the EvilIsCool trope lasts up until the villain goes all mass murdery and loves it, and becomes a total dog-raping bastard that you can't wait for the good guy to kill, if the world is better off without them.

As Dark Helmet said in Spaceballs, "Evil will always triumph because Good is dumb." And no truer words have ever been spoken. I'm just talking about real life here. I mean, everywhere you go, evil is winning the day, and more often than not evil colludes with evil even while pretending they're enemies. And the good guys? We've either been told by the media to hate them or they're so nice and naieve that they don't realize that the only way to fight real evil is to be even more horrifying than the bad guys, because playing nice, saying please, and fighting with honor and laws does jack shit.

Darth_Payn:

Gorrath:

Darth_Payn:
Oh man, this is the big one. THE big debate. Given what's going on in the real world now, I just hope that the comments here will be more nuanced and respectful and-
Oh who am I kidding? It's going to be a firestorm.

Why so cynical? Has the debate so far not been plenty civil? I don't mean this response to seem reactionary, I'm just curious as to your mindset and expectations.

IT's not the debate in the video itself, but in the comments section. Pretty soon every Tom, Dick, and Harry is going to jump in and scream about what they think is evil in the real world. Personally, in regards to the video, the EvilIsCool trope lasts up until the villain goes all mass murdery and loves it, and becomes a total dog-raping bastard that you can't wait for the good guy to kill, if the world is better off without them.

Well, I know this place can be volatile (lol, internets) but I think we can have a really productive conversation, as we have had so far. Also, I agree with your assessment. Evil might seem cool and sexy, until they go full-on over-the-top evil and everyone wants them to get their comeuppance. I often root for the bad guy to get their lunch taken almost from the beginning but it really depends on how the story points play out. John Wick, for example, has a protagonist who's a bad guy himself. His whole motivation is merely revenge and the way he enacts his revenge is absurdly over the top in comparison to the slights against him. We cheer him on because we hate the bad guys, even though we know he's just as bad as they are. I don't think it's good or evil that makes us cheer or hate, it's what we are manipulated into feeling about the characters, no matter if we can really justify their actions.

You guys didn't mention the fact that evil has one thing that always beats good.

The songs oh man can evil sound good.

If I had to choose I'd be evil just to get the best songs.

Fun ep guys and my evil laugh is better I think.

LysanderNemoinis:
As Dark Helmet said in Spaceballs, "Evil will always triumph because Good is dumb." And no truer words have ever been spoken. I'm just talking about real life here. I mean, everywhere you go, evil is winning the day, and more often than not evil colludes with evil even while pretending they're enemies. And the good guys? We've either been told by the media to hate them or they're so nice and naieve that they don't realize that the only way to fight real evil is to be even more horrifying than the bad guys, because playing nice, saying please, and fighting with honor and laws does jack shit.

I don't think people in real life can be categorized as good and evil. Evil is a strong word, and to say that evil is triumphing in real life is rather ridiculous, since society survives on people getting along to some degree. Most people get through their day without doing awful things, and those who do are either desperate and live crappy lives or are not aware that what they're doing is unacceptable. I think you are way oversimplying the issue.

Evil always wins eventually, for some simple, scientifically proven reasons.

First; willpower is actually finite, and has to be spent against temptations all the time (240 or so times a DAY you are seduced by junk food thoughts. And that's just one of the seven deadly sins!!!).

Second; Temptation is eternal. And the easy way, the selfish way is always the most tempting.

So you can use your willpower for decades. But forever?
And even if YOU can, there will always be people who cannot.

And thus, evil has the longer breath.
Good will then get morally outraged and try to change things, but that is short term.
Nothing manmade lasts forever (so far), yet temptation and finite willpower are so far solid, the past million+ years... >:)

And games that offer multiple endings, and then (with the same organisation(s) or character(s)) decides ONE is canonical for a sequel.
That is a crime against free will. It's saying; Haha, you thought you had accomplished things, and where going to build upon that?
NOPE; couldn't be bothered to start the game with 2 or 3 options you can choose (or, already did choose in game 1 and are now locked in!). Imagine that. As long as the new one has a +16 broadsword or more bloodsplatter it's all that really matters!

Gorrath:

tzimize:

This just got a whole lot more interesting than I figured it'd be, but alright, I'll bite :P

I agree that situations/circumstances are usually just shades of grey. And while there is no universal "goodness" or "evilness", it is quite possible to define good and evil behavior.

Good is selfless, protecting, self sacrificing.

Evil is non-empathic (probably a better word for this, I'm not a native english speaker, sorry), antisocial and exploitative.

I like the chinese worker example you made, and while I have no problems agreeing with you that using low-paid chinese labor is probably neither unethical or evil, KEEPING them low-paid is. When you rob people of the opportunity to grow, you are evil. It is possible to do this for ones own financial benefit. Which would, in my opinion be evil. Again, this is not necessarily the psychopaths evil of inflicting pain on someone, it is more the evil of exploitation and further more or less enslavement.

I think it IS possible to say weather something is good or evil (provided one can agree on the definition first.. :P ) However, most cases are not clear cut. We live in a world of grey. For the most part.

I do tend to wax verbose so I'm glad you find it interesting!

Now you say here that good could be defined as selfless, protecting and self-sacrificing but any act has multiple facets which would need to be evaluated to determine if the act met one or more of these standards. If, for instance, someone feels that their life and those of their children are hopeless, they may view it as a selfless or protective act to drown their children in their bathtub. Their intent might have been good, to protect their children from a world of hopeless degradation, but I think we'd be hard pressed to call the act a good one. A suicide bomber is committing a selfless act too and yet many do not find their acts to be good ones either. These judgments must not simply be assessing the matter of intent but also outcome. How do we judge the suicide bombing act as bad if it's a selfless act? Because the outcome may cause undue carnage to undeserving people.

The same goes with an act that might qualify under the description you put forth. If one does something that lacks empathy but the outcome is good, the outcome is good regardless of the intent behind the act. If you've ever heard of or seen the show "House", he is a great example of this. He's a genius doctor who saves lives but not out of any sense of empathy, he simply likes solving puzzles and patients represent those puzzles. His act lacks empathy but is not evil. Also, one might assert that my wife and I act in exploitative ways to one another all the time. We exploit our love for one another for personal comfort and pleasure. Certainly doing this is a fair trade and so wouldn't be evil, we both well know that we are susceptible to the other's exploitative whims and give into those whims willingly. Really, most any relationship is exploitative in some way or another. Those Chinese factories people love to bash (and for good reasons) have directly led to increased standard of living for millions of Chinese. There is no doubt they are exploitative, but there is also no doubt they've been good for the country as a whole. China has one of the fastest growing middle classes in the world due in major part to foreign investment in those factories.

You mention more about this last example as you continue. A natural outcome of the investments being made is that the Chinese people, as a whole, will end up being paid higher wages. It may take time and it is happening because of greedy investors and exploitative companies, but if the end result is better living conditions for millions of people, how do we judge this as evil? I don't think we can, I think we can only assess whether individual parts of this system are ethical or unethical and whether some of these parts should be outlawed, forcing the companies to take on more ethical practices faster.

In short, I think you are on the right track arguing for good values to be one of the pillars of ethical/good behavior but one must assess intent, outcome and context in order to make a full judgement. Calling something good or evil fails to address all three of those points and so isn't useful.

Going off to bed so bear with me :P

I prefer to separate intent and result, even method. They CAN and should be viewed both separately and as a whole.
Example:

There is a girl with a manipulative mother and a sister. The girl and her sister had a falling out on account of the sister behaving badly. The mother wanted the family to be "whole" and so decided to influence things. The girl is easily swayed and has a huge conscience, the sister is more or less impossible to sway and pretty selfish. The mother proceeds to go after the weakest link, the girl and play on her bad conscience. The mother tries to emotionally blackmail and manipulate the girl to befriend her sister again.

Intent: The intent is purely good. The mother wants her daughters to be friends, and she wants the family to be happy and together.

Method: The method is evil. Emotional blackmail especially by a significant other is a horrible thing.

Result 1: The mother is "successful" in her manipulations and he daughters are speaking again. She has succeeded in her goal, but her relationship to at least one daughter is worse, and the relationship of the sisters is not good either.

Result 2: The mother fails her manipulations and her relationship to the girl is worse than before.

The result can never be good or EVIL. It just is. It can be good or BAD depending on who is viewing/assessing it, but never good or evil. Good and evil is as you say a question of intent, and also a question of method. You can have good intentions and evil methods, and probably also evil intentions and good methods, although I am hard pressed to think of a good (haha) example.

It is hard to envision ACTUAL evil intentions because it speaks of a desire to simply do harm to others for the sake of doing harm. I can only refer to roleplaying D&D and the Chaotic Evil alignment for any appropriate example, and I dont know if such behavior exist in the world, probably only in "damaged/sick" individuals. Psychopaths.

But for general evil I am inclined to lean towards Buddhism. If you act, and your actions cause suffering and pain in other innocents, it is what I view as evil. If you act out of good intent and the result is suffering, it is what I call an accident. Accidents are never evil, they just are.

The suicide bomber might not have evil intentions (in his own head) but causing the suffering of others is almost always evil. The result is good for the bomber and bad for the...er...bombees? Bombed? But not evil.

Your example with the parent is invalid to me, because that parent would not be interested (really) in hindering suffering to their child, they would rather be interested in hindering suffering to themselves, in not having to watch their child go through pains. As such, it is not selfless, but selfish. Any parent wishing to spare a child from this world, would refrain from having kids in the first place.

In terms of games, I'm still waiting for one that does "playing the villain" well. In just about every game I've seen (such as Bethesda games), being good simply pans out better. The evil is usually at the level of kicking puppies for fun with zero benefit involved whatsoever. It's never even tempting.

I'd love to see a game in which being good comes at the cost of reduced rewards, so it is a sacrifice to be good. The first Bioshock tried to do this with saving the Little Sisters, but ultimately it was more beneficial to save them as opposed to harvest them. I want the evil option to at least be tempting! I get no moral kick out of being good if it only makes logical sense to choose it!

Auron225:
In terms of games, I'm still waiting for one that does "playing the villain" well. In just about every game I've seen (such as Bethesda games), being good simply pans out better. The evil is usually at the level of kicking puppies for fun with zero benefit involved whatsoever. It's never even tempting.

I'd love to see a game in which being good comes at the cost of reduced rewards, so it is a sacrifice to be good. The first Bioshock tried to do this with saving the Little Sisters, but ultimately it was more beneficial to save them as opposed to harvest them. I want the evil option to at least be tempting! I get no moral kick out of being good if it only makes logical sense to choose it!

I thought Dishonored handled it pretty well. Being "bad" is so much easier and, in my opinion, a lot more fun, but what happens with Samuel and Emily along the High Chaos path made me feel awful. Personally, I think most of the non-lethal eliminations of key targets were a whole lot crueler than just killing them, but saving the city etc. made the extra effort of a Low Chaos playthrough worth it.

Of course, there were the practical bonuses too. Extra rewards and such from those grateful to you. But for me it was really just about not getting the bad outcome.

Click interested
see discussion instead of debate
close vid and get more annoyed with the direction of this series

The thing is Good and Evil are rarely ever the cut and dry in real life. You usually don't find maniacal, cackling, Saturday morning cartoonishly evil villains in real life. Even Hitler, as evil as we like to think he was, probably believed he was doing the right thing. He certainly believed he was doing what was best for Germany.

Overall a highly entertaining debate especially the twists at the end, there's one thing I didn't really get though. Was that last minute swerve by Chris before they cut to the credits supposed to be a reference to something or was he just being random?

Video discussion aside, I find that in a game like Fallout 3 the matter of Good and Evil is not always so cut and dry if you get down into the nitty gritty of it. Take the supposed remnants of the United States government known as the Enclave, the faction in game is unquestionably painted as the evil one and the Brotherhood of Steel the good. Though their moral compass might have been removed or completely inverted the Enclave does have a noble sounding goal, the eventual restoration of the US to it's pre-nuclear war glory. The only problem is that they feel that for this to happen all irradiated inhabitants of the wasteland would need to die, which is pretty much anyone who is not in the Enclave. To some this may be perfectly acceptable logic when you consider the horrible state of the world and the scarcity of resources like food and water that isn't irradiated. But the game never lets you choose Enclave or the Brotherhood, no matter how many times you play the core game the enclave always loses in the long run even if you don't destroy their base or kill their most senior military officer. Even in the Broken Steel add, unless you sneak nearly everywhere you go you have to all but annihilate the last of the enclaves forces and only then do you get the option to use a satellite guided missile strike to either hit their mobile command post or destroy the Brotherhood's primary base in the Pentagon.

But that's just a sparse analysis of the two main factions in the game, some things 'I think' are unquestionably evil, like wiping out an entire town that has an undetonated 'megaton' nuclear bomb sitting in the middle of it because some rich asshole[s] living in a tower thinks it's an eye sore.

I agree with the what the folks above me have stated. This debate really only belongs in the context of fiction, real life is just too morally grey.

As far as fiction is concerned I always end up cheering for the bad guy, mostly because they are more interesting characters! I especially love the intelligent ones, (for some reason the good guys are always somewhat thick.) Hannibal Lecter is one of my favourite characters of all time.

"Good wins, Evil loses. That's how the stories go. But what if Good cheated? And what if Evil threw the fight?"
-paraphrased opening that I love from a book by Tom Holt (can't for the life of me remember the title)

best ending... good breaks down thinking evil has just won it all, and then evil breaks down begging to be good again. very nice.

Good > Evil though obviously :-P

AgDr_ODST:

Video discussion aside, I find that in a game like Fallout 3 the matter of Good and Evil is not always so cut and dry if you get down into the nitty gritty of it. Take the supposed remnants of the United States government known as the Enclave, the faction in game is unquestionably painted as the evil one and the Brotherhood of Steel the good. Though their moral compass might have been removed or completely inverted the Enclave does have a noble sounding goal, the eventual restoration of the US to it's pre-nuclear war glory. The only problem is that they feel that for this to happen all irradiated inhabitants of the wasteland would need to die, which is pretty much anyone who is not in the Enclave.

Most of the people we consider the most evil had noble sounding goals, they just wished to obtain those goals though genocide.

I love my mother and my mother is good. Therefore, I can't be evil.

It's good to be bad, but it's better to be evil.
Because evil will always find a way.

That being said, you can be the good guy, I'll be the one in the Dark Tower on the throne of skulls, using virgins as pillows because the skulls are too hard and uncomfortable as the rest of the world burns when I reveal my Dark Tower is actually a rocket/spaceship that's way too big to take off without destroying the planet or at least life as we know it in the process.

FurinKazanNZ:

I thought Dishonored handled it pretty well. Being "bad" is so much easier and, in my opinion, a lot more fun, but what happens with Samuel and Emily along the High Chaos path made me feel awful. Personally, I think most of the non-lethal eliminations of key targets were a whole lot crueler than just killing them, but saving the city etc. made the extra effort of a Low Chaos playthrough worth it.

A good go-to in terms of gameplay, though I found the gameplay theme of "here are toys, awesome toys that are easy to use ...now don't" wore thin. (I did get the good ending, but in large part because I liked the game difficulty at the start and found the addition of powers made it far easier than it needed to be. I do resent not being able to summon hordes of rats to eat my foes, though)

Games with a message of delayed gratification (like Dishonored) or empathy over selfishness are fine enough, morally, but I do really pine for games-as-entertainment that move away from the Good / Evil (Light / Dark, Paragon / Renegade) dichotomies. It's the moralistic equivalent of zombies - I get why they're programmed into games (easy to set up) but they're crazy overused, to say nothing of being intellectually insulting - to paraphrase ZP, do I save the orphan or burn down the orphanage?

I'd love to see a game subvert this by having dualism (if they can't manage anything better) but then have either extreme be 'bad' endings and have the twist be a win condition that is to hit as close as possible to 'neutral'.

PS - at the end of the vid : "creepy". Unless you were misspelling for effect, in which case I'm confused but carry on.

"Nice guys finish last," is a misquote. The original quote was about a particular set of people (the 1946 Giants) finishing in 7th place (next-to-last that season).

 

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