Moral Inflexibility in Games

So games with moral choice systems have been getting better, no longer is the choice to either save the orphan or burn him alive, but it's still got a long way to go.

Take for example the Tenpenny Tower's quest in Fallout 3, where the "good" action is basically acting like a retard, or in the same game the Vampire quest line where you are basically acting like an enforcer running a protection racket. Then there are a number of quests in Mass Effect 2, a game that generally gets the moral choice system pretty right, for example one of the first "found" missions you do via scanning has you finding data that could harm your partners if released to the public.

Of course the good action is to send it to the authorities, the neutral to send it back to them, and the "evil" to keep it for yourself, seems pretty straight forward right? send it to the public to be a good guy, wrong, moral choices very rarely exist in a vacuum, you never forget in the game that you're working with them because it's the only choice, so antagonising them is plain stupid, the good choice should be to keep the data, and the evil choice should be to send it back to them. After all there is nothing stopping you releasing it once you're done with them? Now some people might say that fits the definition of Mass Effect 2's morality system, which defines the actions as moral and ruthless, and keeping the data back is pretty ruthless (I'd personally say intelligent).

But the problem is, in most games with a moral choice system, it's one or the other, you can't be an angel and a demon, and there is no reward for being a well rounded character, and you're punished for taking different actions, for every "evil" action you take, even in games that don't take away from your "good" score like Mass Effect 2, you're punished because you've lost access to those "good" points which can drastically effect the plot, forcing you to make decisions you'd never make in the same situation if it was reality.

You often hear players say "this playthrough I'll be evil" or similar, but is that something we want as gamers? or would it be better to let us play the game as we want? making decisions based on the situation as if we were there, rather then forcing us to conform to a pre-established moral system.

Raise the legal drinking age to 21?

So the other night I was watching Q&A on the ABC where they had the PM Kevin Rudd being asked questions by a bunch of 16-25 year olds (I think that was the age group), and one of the questions was "should the legal drinking age be raised to 21" now he waffled a bit, saying there needed to be studies to see if it would have an impact on the road toll, good answer, but when asked his personal opinion if he wants it, he said "of course".

Now this yeah I'll be 30, so it has no impact on me, I don't have kids, don't plan on having kids, so again no impact on me, but one thing I would like to point out, is the double standard.

In Australia 18 is the age when you are considered an adult in all things, you can drink, you can drive (not at the same time you morons), you can enlist, or join the police forces, etc, etc. My issue with the idea of raising the drinking age, which for all I know might actually make an impact, is that it splits that, either you're an adult with all the rights and responsibilities that come with it at 18, or your not.

If you're not careful you'll end up with situations like they have in America where kids are fighting wars before their legally allowed to buy a beer, and frankly, that disgusts me.

Damn American Dates!

Okay this might sound kind of petty, but it's an annoyance and we all know how well I deal with those don't we? So I'm watching the Fallout New Vegas trailer (see below) and at the very end it says "Fall 2010"... and I just want to /facepalm because I have no fucking clue when that is, for starters Australia doesn't have "fall", we have Summer, Spring, Winter, Autumn, so is "fall" Spring or Autumn? And then there is the fact that the seasons are reversed down here, Summer is around the new year... Winter is the middle of the year...

Why can't they realise that the Internet is a global thing and just say "Q3" 2010? Everyone can work out what quarter 3 means, it means July to September... anyway looks pretty nice, even if it confuses the fuck out of me on when it's coming out.

Limitations of English

So last night I was doing a bit of day dreaming while I was suppose to be fixing something, I had made a note to someone online that I was a little bit sad now that I've finished Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2, very good games, as it means that there aren't any games coming out anytime soon that I'm really excited about.

At this point he told me "get a life!"... which put my back up as I replied this sadness wasn't "a family member died" or even "my pet died", it was a tiny sadness on par with "oh, my favourite TV show is finished for good". He apologised and empathised, understanding what I meant.

But that got me thinking, English is so wonderfully precise about something, with dozens of different words with slightly different meanings for some things, but so horrible imprecise about emotions.

Take for example the word Love, in English the word can mean so many different things, all depending on context, yet other languages such as Ancient Greek they had 5 different words for love, each depending on context, the two most famous were Agápe (family / friend love) and Éros (romantic love).

It makes me wonder why English with it's complex grammar and wide range of words for the simplest concepts doesn't have different words to convey different levels of the most complex thing humans can experience, emotions, hell we don't even have our own word for "person I'm going to marry" having to borrow it from the French (fiancée).

It's odd, really.