Thread: A Thought
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September 3rd, 2007, 14:45
Originally Posted by woges View Post
Theres a wiki page on the virtues of Ultima:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtues_of_Ultima

A lot of detail there.
Ah, thanks !


I've been thinking futher, actually.

We learn. If we want it, or not. Take a tactics game, for example. You learn how to efficiently "use" your troops against an enemy. You learn what we call "tactics". That's what a tactics game is for.
More subtle, you learn that you need to developd different tactics depending on the troops you have - in any new tactics game anew.

Somehow I came to the conclusion that this learnibg effect is vastly underrated by the designers - and by the marketing, because the mareting is and to doing what marketing does best: Market games. ("Hur, hur, hur".)
Therefore, a marketing team wil most naturally take emphasis on what's making a game appealing to people in order to sell rather more "copies" of that game.

And most naturally, they will do everything to suppress theunwanted rffects a game might have - in any area.

For example, we learn to crawl, be silent, and sneak up to an enemy in the thief games. Okay, most of you (if not all) will now say, "but this is only a game, it has no relations to reality".

And that is the point.

I have come to the conclusion that the "but it's only a game" argument is used too often as an excuse to allow nearly everything in a game - and to leave ethics out.

Most naturally, in a children's game, children are allowed almost anything. That's the way it goes.

Except for really unpleasant things, for example, like grabbing a cat by its tail as a kind of handle and throwing it away this way. (I actually know of a case where a nightly car driver threw his unwanted cat out of his car and a friend of mine (in another forum) picked the small cat up - only to realize a day later at the veterinary that the whole bundle of nerves going from the backspine into the tail was torn by this brutal act. The cat had to be put down.)

"This child is just playing" or "this is just a game" is what we hgear most about children which are playing.

But - the same excuse we hear in video games. "But this is only a game", and "I was merely playing - this has no relation to reality !" This is as if the term "game" puts a game actually in kind of a taboo zone where criticism is not allowed, because it's just - a game.

And a game is fun. Otherwise we wouldn't play it. We play everything that's fun to us. Like soccer/football, for example.

So, we buy games which are fun to us.

The game, as we play it, if free from any criticism, because "it is just a game" and therefore operates in kind of a taboo zone.

So, we can do whatever we want.

We can give a child a marble ball, and see what it does with it. We can give the child a bunch of lego stones and see what it does wioth it. We can give a child a model airplane and see what it does with it. We can give a child a gun, and see what it does with it.

That's what we do in many games. In a game - no matter which one, but in this text it's clearly the emphasis on video games - we are operating in kind of a taboo zone where everything is allowed. There are no parents indicating to us that killing someone might not be good.

Of course, we are mostly presented with monsters. What a lame excuse just to allow killing someone ! "Kill or be killed", is what we learn in games involving weapons and guns. It's as simple as that. And we learn, no matter what.

I personally believe that what we learn is kind of digested and tranported within our minds to other fields and applied there. Economy, for example. Take over your opponent (a competing company), or you'll be "killed", in a figurative sense.

In a gang-fight, it's just the same.

We learn, and we apply lerarned things to other areas. Otherwise we couldn't survive.

We learn through video games things we shouldn't apply to other areas - for example to sneak up behind someone. But I fear that we do so - regardless. It's built in us. We are built to transport and apply things we learn into other areas. Everyone raising a child can see that. A neuron network form through this.

So, my pont is, that games allow everything, because they're games, and therefore protected by kind of a taboo. In a game, everything is allowed.

At one point while thinking I came to the conclusion that games like "ManhunT" are a most natural evolution of this "everything goes" attitude. In a game, everything is allowed.

And in order to rather sell more games, ethics are left outm because they spoil the fun. So, in the last consequence, Manhunt is the most natural evolutionary development of this thought pattern.

Only our own built-in ethics refrain game designers from more ghastly, brutal games. In the movies, even that doesn't exist, movies like "Saw" for example show, or "Kill Bill" even tries to promote "killing" into an art in itself. Plus lots of blood, of course.
But movies are not games, though.

I personally believe, if games are designed forther into that pattern - operating in a taboo zone where everything is allowed thus giving the designers and the marketing enough excuses to incorporate everything that's allowed into them, we will see more and more games like Manhunt and other not so drastic "killing games", as I put it.

And of course, there omes the point when people say that video games are not "games" anymore, but rather "art" or at least "a new form of art". But still they operate in the taboo zone that was once in our deepest past erected just for children's games !
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