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-   -   1Up - Are We What We Play? (http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4454)

Dhruin May 4th, 2008 15:24

1Up - Are We What We Play?
 
The title is a mouthful but the topic is interesting. Inspired by an MTV blog, 1Up asks four editors to discuss the idea, Are We What We Play? Here's part of Jeff Green's answer:
Quote:

On the other hand, I have played plenty of other games in which I most certainly have felt a certain identification with the character I was playing. Not surprisingly, this mostly tends to occur in role-playing games, especially (but not limited to) the kind in which I'm creating my own character from scratch. It's no coincidence that, given the option, I name my character the same name no matter what game I'm playing. I've been the same guy through 20+ years of gaming, regardless of genre. And that same guy has one constant trait: he can't be bad. If we're talking D&D, I'm always Lawful Good. I can't not be. Maybe it's my upbringing, maybe it's overcompensation for mistakes I've made in real life — who knows. I just know that I actually feel uncomfortable with the notion even of being "chaotically good." Given the choice, I want my in-game character to do the right thing, always. My default class, given the choice? Paladin. The few times I've actually dabbled in making the "bad" or "wrong" choice, I always feel terrible about it and need to reload the game to an earlier save. The "choice" in BioShock was no choice at all to me: not saving the little sisters was too horrific for me to even consider.
More information.

Morbus May 4th, 2008 15:24

Incomplete article to say the least.

Besides, why should we also role-play ourselves? I mean, always? It's unimaginative and not challenging, and it's a step closer to LARPing… It's lame too…

txa1265 May 4th, 2008 15:34

But then, why not? Because you aren't just making your same-old decisions, but instead putting your own sense of right & wrong into a different context and testing yourself that way. Learning about yourself, perhaps.

woges May 4th, 2008 16:12

Learning how vain you are maybe.

V7 May 4th, 2008 18:30

Can't help but feel he missed the point of role-playing.

elikal May 4th, 2008 19:25

Err. not want to be a jerk, but when he said he didnt play KOTOR or Fallout but instead Oblivion I stopped reading. He cant know about moral choices and playing yourself or not if he avoided two of the most important games in that term. Period.

As for the question itself: I know ppl fall in two categories. One side wants to be what the usually DO NOT do, the other prefer to be who they would be in such a situation. Its an entirely different approach, and whats more to say about this?

Personally I cant imagine what it would be to play someone elses moral. I dont know a heck about someone elses moral, so I play myself if I were Jedi or Paladin or whatever. Sounds unimaginative, but tbh, ANYONE who tried to play a role NOT fitting to his own real moral compass seemed like a jerk to me, if I take my MMORPG experience. Or in other words: ppl are much worse pretending than they think. Be yourself, learn about yourself; all this faking usually just looks stupid anyways, heh. ;)

Turjan May 4th, 2008 21:53

I'm not that extreme, but I usually choose between only two different character names, and I only use a limited set of character classes or types. There are certain options that simply don't interest me (like pure heavy armor fighters). I don't see a reason to play anything I don't like. I usually play games a limited number of times (or only once), and that means to make choices.
Quote:

Originally Posted by txa1265 (Post 78535)
But then, why not? Because you aren't just making your same-old decisions, but instead putting your own sense of right & wrong into a different context and testing yourself that way. Learning about yourself, perhaps.

That's one way to put it. My enjoyment in these games comes from going with my character through different situations from the usual. I'm more of an immersive roleplayer, and playing roles very different from my own personality asks for a certain distancing that I don't like. I'm not playing for an audience here. The game has to please me, nobody else. And watching some pixelated stranger doing weird things quickly gets old. The only exception is when this stranger is funny.

And I cannot play evil in most games, either. It's not only the point I might feel bad about some of the actions, but often the evil way is incredibly stupid.
Quote:

Originally Posted by elikal (Post 78547)
Err. not want to be a jerk, but when he said he didnt play KOTOR or Fallout but instead Oblivion I stopped reading. He cant know about moral choices and playing yourself or not if he avoided two of the most important games in that term. Period.

KotOR? Give me a break. The game clearly favored the "good" way, even though dark powers were somewhat more powerful. And the dialog options for the evil side were incredibly awful. "Look, I'm EVIL! I steel lunch money from school children!" Although this example stinks. The dialog was more banal than that. To be fair, in the last third part of the game, the good options became ludicrous, too. I sometimes looked at the "good" and "evil" answer options, and my finger just didn't want to click on anything. Where is the intelligent, believable answer? Which for me means that the game at that point lost its immersion aspect somewhat.
Quote:

Originally Posted by elikal (Post 78547)
As for the question itself: I know ppl fall in two categories. One side wants to be what the usually DO NOT do, the other prefer to be who they would be in such a situation. Its an entirely different approach, and whats more to say about this?

You know, I could imagine something different as long as there is at least some overlap with my own personality. Most games don't give me the option to play some (for me) enjoyable evil person. To put it in Baldur's Gates terms, I could imagine to play an evil Edwin, but most games only let you play an evil Montaron.
Quote:

Originally Posted by elikal (Post 78547)
Personally I cant imagine what it would be to play someone elses moral. I dont know a heck about someone elses moral, so I play myself if I were Jedi or Paladin or whatever. Sounds unimaginative, but tbh, ANYONE who tried to play a role NOT fitting to his own real moral compass seemed like a jerk to me, if I take my MMORPG experience. Or in other words: ppl are much worse pretending than they think. Be yourself, learn about yourself; all this faking usually just looks stupid anyways, heh. ;)

I see this especially with people I know. In MMOs, people choose their own words, and no matter what they do, they are always recognizably themselves. There are many people who always play the same stick, no matter what putatively totally different role they pretend to play. It's amazing.

NFLed May 5th, 2008 00:17

I also like to play lawful good though not to his extreme. When I make evil choices I don't feel bad about it but I lose a certain part of my sense of immersion, I would never make an evil choice in real life (well, almost never) and to do so in a rpg just makes me lose some sense of immersion.

Is it just boring playing the same ol' lawful good? Not at all, the fun depends upon the game itself.

V7 May 5th, 2008 08:29

Quote:

Originally Posted by elikal (Post 78547)
Personally I cant imagine what it would be to play someone elses moral. I dont know a heck about someone elses moral, so I play myself if I were Jedi or Paladin or whatever. Sounds unimaginative, but tbh, ANYONE who tried to play a role NOT fitting to his own real moral compass seemed like a jerk to me, if I take my MMORPG experience. Or in other words: ppl are much worse pretending than they think. Be yourself, learn about yourself; all this faking usually just looks stupid anyways, heh. ;)

Yes its like when you go to a movie and it turns out to be a bunch of actors pretenting to be other people. ;)

Alrik Fassbauer May 5th, 2008 15:26

In role-playing, I can ONLY play what I KNOW from at least a fraction in MYSELF.

So, I can only play - as an actor - roles which I actually KNOW how to play - and this knowledge comes from deep within.

It is reflected, mirrorred, by the way I am.

This is why I CAN'T play evil characters.

I can only p▀lay characters - and their choices - which resonate with at least parts of me, myself.
From this point of view, the quite from above quite nicely reflects me.

(Although I didn't write it. At all.)

Arhu May 5th, 2008 16:06

Well, I've always believed that in role playing the character you play reflects part of yourself. It's only that you are put in a different situation and "act out".

Speaking of which, professional acting is probably the most refined form of role playing, so the theory of player-character duality could be applied to actors and actresses too. And I often hear that the roles they play does indeed reflect part of themselves (Johnny Depp's roles for instance). Now, I'm sure that most of them who portray villains or evil characters are pretty good people in real life, but it could also simply mean, to paraphrase Mike's words, that they are testing themselves or are learning about themselves that way.

Runswithscissors May 5th, 2008 18:28

I thought the same thing as V7.
I'm very set in my morals and no mere computer game will ever manage to change that. Yet I can play whatever character I want to, be he evil, female or 100% goody two shoes.

It's a game. When I read some of your comments they reminded me of people I know who are so dissatified with their lives that they pretend to live in a fantasy world. It is rather pathetic listening to someone talking about the last time the orcs attacked as if it really happened. Don't get me wrong, I spend lots of time playing games (RPGs) and reading fantasy books and I like to get lost in those worlds, but they are not real and I don't apply real values or morals to the characters I play.

Quote:

Well, I've always believed that in role playing the character you play reflects part of yourself. It's only that you are put in a different situation and "act out".
And I play characters that are badass/cool and do what they'd do in the situation, not what I would do.
And I'm pretty sure that an actor doesn't have to play a serial killer to know that murder is "bad". Sorry, but I don't see any merrit in your argument at all.

Arhu May 5th, 2008 19:36

Quote:

Originally Posted by Runswithscissors (Post 78621)
And I play characters that are badass/cool and do what they'd do in the situation, not what I would do.

I think that's a fallacy. The point is, you are not them. You, the player, are putting yourself in their shoes, hence you can't not do what you would do. Or in other words, you can only do what you would do, as them, in their situation (since you are in fact playing them), not what they would do. The difference is marginal, but it's there.

Maybe that's not exactly what the linked article is about, which seems to be that some players feel restricted to certain morals by their own choice, but anyway… Ultimately it's a matter of perspective and boils down to the endless debate over "what's roleplaying", so the entire argument may be moot.

V7 May 6th, 2008 00:41

Quote:

Originally Posted by Arhu (Post 78626)
I think that's a fallacy. The point is, you are not them. You, the player, are putting yourself in their shoes, hence you can't not do what you would do. Or in other words, you can only do what you would do, as them, in their situation (since you are in fact playing them), not what they would do. The difference is marginal, but it's there.

Sure you can, the hole in your arguement is easily demonstrated in a computer game, you work out what you would do and pick one of the other options.

Alrik Fassbauer May 6th, 2008 02:10

So, what's the point ? Trying to prove that I could play a "badass", although I couldn't ?

Well, I even feel mercy at one point for all of the Stormtroopers I "eleminated" in the Star Wars Battlefront game !

And they are only AI and bits & textures !

V7 May 6th, 2008 02:27

Not at all, I've no interest in how you want to play, just saying that people who play differently to you are no worse for it and don't necessarily have some part of them who'd like to go out and 'be evil' because they might be curious about seeing how a game deals with those themes.

Turjan May 6th, 2008 03:11

Quote:

Originally Posted by Runswithscissors (Post 78621)
It's a game. When I read some of your comments they reminded me of people I know who are so dissatified with their lives that they pretend to live in a fantasy world. It is rather pathetic listening to someone talking about the last time the orcs attacked as if it really happened. Don't get me wrong, I spend lots of time playing games (RPGs) and reading fantasy books and I like to get lost in those worlds, but they are not real and I don't apply real values or morals to the characters I play.

This sounds somewhat disparaging. I don't think people who make similar choices in CRPGs as they would in RL are dissatisfied with their life or live in a fantasy world. It's just a different way to play games. My play style in CPRGs tends to be immersive, but that doesn't make me a weirdo. If you like your games more abstract, that's fine with me. I just like to get caught in the atmosphere.

For my abstract gaming needs, I have board or card games.

Arhu May 6th, 2008 04:35

Quote:

Originally Posted by V7 (Post 78646)
Sure you can, the hole in your arguement is easily demonstrated in a computer game, you work out what you would do and pick one of the other options.

Ah, but that isn't really role playing anymore, now is it? More like.. just playing.

I don't remember where it was, but I once read an article about "ROLE playing vs. role PLAYING". The former would be Turjan's immersive play style with emphasis on connecting with - and actually experiencing a ROLE, the latter would be the abstract play style with emphasis not on the role, but on the PLAYING aspect of RPGing, more from an observant, detached point of view.

Both are perfectly valid play styles, but the relation might explain the difference of opinion regarding this matter.

V7 May 6th, 2008 07:49

Quote:

Originally Posted by Arhu (Post 78666)
Ah, but that isn't really role playing anymore, now is it? More like.. just playing.

I don't remember where it was, but I once read an article about "ROLE playing vs. role PLAYING". The former would be Turjan's immersive play style with emphasis on connecting with - and actually experiencing a ROLE, the latter would be the abstract play style with emphasis not on the role, but on the PLAYING aspect of RPGing, more from an observant, detached point of view.

I'd suggest you have it backwards, if you're inserting your own decisions rather than a characters you're not playing a role you're playing you. It may feel more immediate because you feel you're taking the place of the protagonist but it hardly qualifies as role-playing. The easiest step into another role is to play the anti-you and choose the opposite of what you normally would as in the example above but far more interesting is to create a character with ambitions and motives that differ from you and see how they develop.

Jaz May 6th, 2008 08:14

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer (Post 78657)
Well, I even feel mercy at one point for all of the Stormtroopers I "eleminated" in the Star Wars Battlefront game !

You quite obviously played on the wrong side, Alrik :p. The rebel scum is evil…!


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