I was watching television the other day and a commercial came on for some new game, I didn’t catch the name, and it seemed aimed toward the little tikes – but something about it suddenly brought a realization forefront in my mind.
See, I’m a gamer – I’m not ashamed to admit that. I’m very finicky about what games I play, and now my computer is too outdated to play the new ones. But one thing I enjoy doing, after winning a particular game and reaching the end, I like to go back and play it again. You can explore places you didn’t have time for, seek out little areas you missed, try harder to kill everyone instead of running to that level’s goal while screaming like a little girl and ducking bullets like a ninny.
When I do that, I also like to set free my inner evil. I’ll frag compatriots (if there are any) I’ll blow up scenery if the game lets me. I’ll even ram buildings with vehicles if the game is good enough to show me results. I’ll drive over my commander with a jeep, run off in the opposite direction, and even leap from cliffs just because they’re there.
Back to this game — whatever it was called, apparently the object was for you to wander through life and be incredibly benevolent, and create a new society and ecology based on your generous, giving nature. BUT – and here’s the rub – there was an option to be Evil instead. You could run around in what looked like hell and be as mean and nasty and vengeful as you liked.
It reminded me of a game from years ago called Black or White. Wherein you were a giant, disembodied hand with god powers and you could affect your worshippers directly by picking them up out of the ocean to save them from drowning, or dropping fish into nets by the handful so your peeps didn’t starve. OR, you could pick some helpless smuck up and drop him INTO the ocean, roll massive boulders down over their measly little crops, and burn down their silly grass huts. There were consequences, naturally. If you were mean, you weren’t worshiped, you were feared. And anything you created was equally nasty.
That game got dull after three hours of picking people up and flinging them about willy-nilly, so I never got into it. But that commercial made me realize that – when given a choice of which character to play – everyone assumes you’re going to go into this thing as the Good Guy. In order to win the game, you have to do the “right thing”. But it’s so much more FUN to do exactly the opposite.
Clearly in real life, we can’t wander around god-like and toss people into the waves. So we play at it in games, choosing to be evil just for the fun of playing, because in reality we’re exactly the opposite. In books and movies, nine times out of ten, the bad guy has the most fun and the best lines, but the good guy always wins in the end (does that burn you too, or is it just me?).
Which would you rather play, if given a choice? Would you naturally choose to flex your deltoids of compassion, or petition Bad Horse for entry into the Evil League of Evil?