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Heroes, Anti-Heroes, and Pure Evil
April 8th 2008, 23:52 CEST by Caryn

A couple of months ago a friend insisted that I should play Jade Empire, a classic Xbox game from Bioware, and I found myself completely hooked. I didn't expect to be so won over given that I really disliked KOtOR, but Jade Empire really turned me around. And so having finished that game last week, I started playing Mass Effect this weekend.

These games have gotten me thinking about the Good and Evil spectrum that's such a standard in recent Bioware games (I'm not too familiar with Bioware games pre-KOtOR). I notice that when I'm given the choice to move my character along these spectrum, I find I want to initially play the evil bad ass because that would be dark and cool, but I'm hesitant to do so for what seems like such a stupid reason: I get the sense that developers always build a game around the idea that you're a hero, and thus inherently good, and that playing the evil path is really more of a side game that you play later just to see what it's like, after you've seen the "real" game the developers intended you to see.

And I don't know why I think this, but I suspect it's because games are typically built on very black and white stories with simple concepts of good and evil, and the hero always prevails even if we're being given the option to play the bad guy and even win as that character.

This is where Mass Effects gets interesting for me. Rather than creating a simple good and evil spectrum, they have the Paragon and Renegade spectrum, a spectrum with names that are less associated with black and white concepts of good and evil and more associated with taking the high road versus getting the job done no matter what it takes. I created a female marine and chose the Spacer and Ruthless options for my character, because she looked like the type of person who was career military and who wouldn't take shit from anyone.

Then I worried that I would be forced to take her down a purely dark and evil path, but have happily found out that you can play your character as an anti-hero without losing too much of the hero aspect. It makes me wonder what most people like to see in these types of games -- do you like your choice-based games to have strong concepts of good and evil? Do you always choose one particular side to play, and what do you choose first if you play more than one? Do you feel that having morally ambiguous paths for your character waters down the enjoyment of a game and makes it less heroic and epic? Does it take games closer to other forms of storytelling like movies and novels when your character isn't so black and white, and is this a good or a bad thing for games?
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Home » Topic: Heroes, Anti-Heroes, and Pure Evil

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#536 by TreeFrog
2008-06-16 17:21:39
So: nuclear power. We need moar cheap energy, we need fewer emissions, but people are still afraid of the nukes. Realistically the plants aren't going to explode, since they're not (in the West, anyway) run by Russians drunk out of their minds on carcinogenic bootleg vodka. So all we have to do is solve the waste disposal problem.

Which I have done: put it on a rocket and fire it into the sun. It also provides a use for surplus ICBMs.

The protruding upper halves of the letters now appear, in the local language, to read “Go stick your head in a pig”, and are no longer illuminated, except at times of special celebration.
#537 by m0nty
2008-06-16 17:24:01
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
Things are so simple when you're young.
#538 by bago
2008-06-16 17:28:39
manga_Rando@hotmail.com
You do have to be of a certain age to truly appreciate the "GET OFF MY LAWN" argument.

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.
#539 by TreeFrog
2008-06-16 17:31:31
Who's young? Making the effort to shave my face on a regular basis doesn't make me young.

The protruding upper halves of the letters now appear, in the local language, to read “Go stick your head in a pig”, and are no longer illuminated, except at times of special celebration.
#540 by CheesyPoof
2008-06-16 17:53:17
I agree that shooting nuclear waste into space is a good solution from the pollution perspective, but nuclear waste is heavy, despite 50 years of shooting shit into space rockets still go kablooey, and all the political nonsense that would happen should a country try it.

<Hugin_len> Basically, cheesy doesn't have awful taste in music, he's simply very white.
#541 by lwf
2008-06-16 18:55:41
Just store the nuclear waste at the orphanage, it's not like their parents are going to complain.

When you look at all the observations, calculations, and analysis that has gone into astrology, religion and mysticism make astrology look like an exact science. Wii.
#542 by G-Man
2008-06-16 19:19:00
Shotting nuclear waste into space is a ridiculous idea, which would cost far more than any benefit it would confer. In fact, it is so uneconomical that it might even erase any net energy gains from using nuclear power in the first place. To say nothing of the fact that we probably want to keep spent fuel around since it can be used a source of fuel for different types of reactors.

In any event, why is nuclear waste considered a major pollution problem? When you think about it, the amount of nuclear waste isn't really that great, compared to the size of the planet. Pound for pound there are probably more Doritos wrappers out there than nuclear waste. Just bury the stuff in a safe place and leave it alone for a few thousand years.
#543 by FoRmaT
2008-06-16 19:22:13
Somehow you made me think of Futurama.

"Action stars of two decades ago shot .44 bullets out of their cocks. Honestly, if me and Charles Bronson were in the same room I'd kill myself just to make sure he didn't hurt me."
#544 by bago
2008-06-16 19:26:43
manga_Rando@hotmail.com
He's right though. Spent fuel is about 95% recyclable and when running at that high of a matter/energy conversion rate you are many orders of magnitude more efficient. 200 lbs of waste for 200 KW of power without recycling? (PNOOMA). Excepting fusion and mater anti-matter reactions, nothing gets anywhere close to those conversion rates.

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.
#545 by Hugin
2008-06-16 19:27:09
lmccain@nber.org
Shooting nuclear waste into space is also a great way to set up a "dirty bomb" style disaster, when by accident or sabotage a rocket explodes in midair and spreads that junk in the atmosphere to rain down for miles around.

"Bioshock, sadly, is no Painkiller." - BobJustBob
#546 by FoRmaT
2008-06-16 19:33:18
You could probably sell that to Michael Bay...

"Action stars of two decades ago shot .44 bullets out of their cocks. Honestly, if me and Charles Bronson were in the same room I'd kill myself just to make sure he didn't hurt me."
#547 by anaqer
2008-06-16 19:34:52
For further possibilities, see Superman II. Or don't.

Dust. Anybody? No? High in fat, low in fat? Dust. Anybody? No? Dust. It's actually very low in fat. You can have as much dust as you like.
#548 by bago
2008-06-16 19:38:50
manga_Rando@hotmail.com
Does anyone realize the fuel/efficiency costs of getting crap out of our gravity well? Read up on what a Mass Ratio is.

The inanity of shooting some of the densest matter known to man out into space to save energy is a level of idiocy that is hard to fathom.

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.
#549 by Shadarr
2008-06-16 19:45:59
shadarr@gmail.com http://digital-luddite.com
If dirty bombs were really as great as people seem to think I'm sure somebody would've used one by now.

Witnesses in the house heard Jones say "why did you pee on me Pooh Bear?" A few moments later, the witness heard the son say "Mama you done stabbed me."
#550 by TreeFrog
2008-06-16 19:48:42
G-Man (#542):
Pound for pound there are probably more Doritos wrappers out there than nuclear waste.

Doritos wrappers won't kill you or anyone else who comes into contact with them for the next several million years stone dead. And who's talking about disposing of anything useful? If you can recycle it, recycle it. Duh.

Hugin (#545):
Shooting nuclear waste into space is also a great way to set up a "dirty bomb" style disaster, when by accident or sabotage a rocket explodes in midair and spreads that junk in the atmosphere to rain down for miles around.

I was thinking of some sort of small sarcophagus for the material itself. Encase it in something rigid and stick a black box in it. But yes, the Happy Fundie Gang getting their hands on it is an issue.

The protruding upper halves of the letters now appear, in the local language, to read “Go stick your head in a pig”, and are no longer illuminated, except at times of special celebration.
#551 by FoRmaT
2008-06-16 19:49:30
I think no country will ever do it, even if it's only out of fear of retaliation. Or maybe some lunatic Taliban leader? O that Iranian prime minister, as a present when he loses his office?

"Action stars of two decades ago shot .44 bullets out of their cocks. Honestly, if me and Charles Bronson were in the same room I'd kill myself just to make sure he didn't hurt me."
#552 by bago
2008-06-16 19:51:32
manga_Rando@hotmail.com
Yucca what?

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.
#553 by FoRmaT
2008-06-16 19:52:18
I was thinking of some sort of small sarcophagus for the material itself.

I only know that whenever a train transports nuvlear waste around here, there'll be a mob of treehuggers chaining themselves to the rails, just because they're passing through with that shit. Imagine what they'd do if someone intended to bury it near theyr town! Theyd... chain themselves tighter or something.

"Action stars of two decades ago shot .44 bullets out of their cocks. Honestly, if me and Charles Bronson were in the same room I'd kill myself just to make sure he didn't hurt me."
#554 by m0nty
2008-06-16 19:52:23
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
Spent nuclear fuel, the gift for the man who has everything.
#555 by TreeFrog
2008-06-16 19:52:32
Plant. Yucca plant. They looooove enriched uranium.

The protruding upper halves of the letters now appear, in the local language, to read “Go stick your head in a pig”, and are no longer illuminated, except at times of special celebration.
#556 by FoRmaT
2008-06-16 19:52:46
nuvlear=nukular.

"Action stars of two decades ago shot .44 bullets out of their cocks. Honestly, if me and Charles Bronson were in the same room I'd kill myself just to make sure he didn't hurt me."
#557 by bago
2008-06-16 20:58:35
manga_Rando@hotmail.com
badum-pssh!

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.
#558 by gaggle
2008-06-16 21:12:44
We can pump thousands of tons of metal into the sun when Superman is around to fling it there. Until then just stop thinking, you're hurting those around you.

"You can produce nuclear reactions directly through ultra high electric field initiated photodisintegration."
#559 by TreeFrog
2008-06-16 21:34:35
gaggle (#558):
Until then just stop thinking, you're hurting those around you.

Fair enough. The ones you love always hurt you.

The protruding upper halves of the letters now appear, in the local language, to read “Go stick your head in a pig”, and are no longer illuminated, except at times of special celebration.
#560 by gaggle
2008-06-16 21:39:32
Hahah oh noes. What a way to go, hmrmf.

"You can produce nuclear reactions directly through ultra high electric field initiated photodisintegration."
#561 by FoRmaT
2008-06-16 21:48:36
I wanted to say something like "imagine if he had been collecting bowling balls", but I guess it didn't really matter. Ton of lead weighing the same as a ton of feathers and all that.

"Action stars of two decades ago shot .44 bullets out of their cocks. Honestly, if me and Charles Bronson were in the same room I'd kill myself just to make sure he didn't hurt me."
#562 by TreeFrog
2008-06-16 21:53:01
It would have been... messier.

Also harder to stack.

The protruding upper halves of the letters now appear, in the local language, to read “Go stick your head in a pig”, and are no longer illuminated, except at times of special celebration.
#563 by Ergo
2008-06-16 23:44:38
Anyone that reads manga deserves that fate.

Invention is the Green Goblin of Necessary Lemonade.

--Flowers
#564 by FoRmaT
2008-06-16 23:50:06
I think mangas can be quite good. Problem is, there are literally millions of them, so for someone to just go out and pick one that doesn't suck is really really hard. The only written one I actually read was Akira.

"Action stars of two decades ago shot .44 bullets out of their cocks. Honestly, if me and Charles Bronson were in the same room I'd kill myself just to make sure he didn't hurt me."
#565 by Ergo
2008-06-17 00:14:19
I saw the movie. I hated it.

Invention is the Green Goblin of Necessary Lemonade.

--Flowers
#566 by CheesyPoof
2008-06-17 00:17:30
I watched it twice trying to get it but never did. Meh. And now they're making a live action version? Ugh.

<Hugin_len> Basically, cheesy doesn't have awful taste in music, he's simply very white.
#567 by gaggle
2008-06-17 00:24:18
There are certainly parts of Akira I recall as spine-shiveringly good. The villain's rise of power, the glorious destruction, the awe inspiring orbital laser cannon. And an intense portrayal of the future, not unlike what Blade Runner and such gave us.


Good stuff. But it is riddled with plenty of animé conventions so you have to be somewhat patient and open to their way of telling stories (like screaming a person's name, Kaneeeeeddaaaaa!!!!). I can see how it isn't for everyone, but I'll still think higher of someone who likes it.

"You can produce nuclear reactions directly through ultra high electric field initiated photodisintegration."
#568 by TreeFrog
2008-06-17 01:48:51
Akira is one of the best films ever made. Anyone who hates manga and/or anime because they're comics/cartoons can DIAF. No pleas of mitigation.

Teeeetsuooooooooooooooooooooooo!

The protruding upper halves of the letters now appear, in the local language, to read “Go stick your head in a pig”, and are no longer illuminated, except at times of special celebration.
#569 by BobJustBob
2008-06-17 01:51:56
I think people hate manga/anime because 'tards say stupid shit like "Akira is one of the best films ever made."

"The best experiences are generative experiences. The best stories are player stories." - Will Wright
#570 by bishop
2008-06-17 01:53:26
http://www.darkintel.org/00FF00/
I bought akira on dvd years and years ago and still haven't gotten around to watching it.

Take that!
#571 by gaggle
2008-06-17 01:57:00
TreeFrog++

"You can produce nuclear reactions directly through ultra high electric field initiated photodisintegration."
#572 by Dumdeedum
2008-06-17 02:00:59
http://www.dumdeedum.com
I watched Akira years and years ago and decided manga/anime wasn't for me.  Today I can't actually remember anything whatsoever about the film but I've stuck to avoiding anything remotely similar and it's served me swimmingly.

I'm pretty sure it's a gateway thing, one day you're watching Akira, the next you're doing whatever it is people to with whatever pokemon are.

#573 by FoRmaT
2008-06-17 02:01:37
I've got a version that has two alternative translations. They have different voices and dialog, but I couldn't really tell what all the differences are.

Oh, and; Akira is one of the best films ever made.

"Action stars of two decades ago shot .44 bullets out of their cocks. Honestly, if me and Charles Bronson were in the same room I'd kill myself just to make sure he didn't hurt me."
#574 by FoRmaT
2008-06-17 02:02:53
I'd call Akira an adult movie. I'm not sure the Pokémon audience should watch it.

"Action stars of two decades ago shot .44 bullets out of their cocks. Honestly, if me and Charles Bronson were in the same room I'd kill myself just to make sure he didn't hurt me."
#575 by TreeFrog
2008-06-17 02:08:25
BobJustBob (#569):
I think people hate manga/anime because 'tards say stupid shit like "Akira is one of the best films ever made."

Bjork - So Broken.mp3


gaggle (#571):
TreeFrog++

Spirit brother!


Dumdeedum (#572):
I'm pretty sure it's a gateway thing, one day you're watching Akira, the next you're doing whatever it is people to with whatever pokemon are watching Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Lé fix.

The protruding upper halves of the letters now appear, in the local language, to read “Go stick your head in a pig”, and are no longer illuminated, except at times of special celebration.
#576 by BobJustBob
2008-06-17 02:31:36
Bjork - So Broken.mp3


What, I haven't seen it. What do I look like, the kind of loser who watches anime? Fuck no.

I'm the kind of loser who stays at home on weekends and plays video games. Check your geek heirarchy.

"The best experiences are generative experiences. The best stories are player stories." - Will Wright
#577 by Shadarr
2008-06-17 02:31:52
shadarr@gmail.com http://digital-luddite.com
I think people hate manga/anime because 'tards say stupid shit like "Akira is one of the best films ever made."

QFT.  Someone talked me into watching either Princess Mononoke or Spirited away one time, because it was supposed not really be anime but just a great movie, and sure enough it was stupid and involved tentacles at some point.

Witnesses in the house heard Jones say "why did you pee on me Pooh Bear?" A few moments later, the witness heard the son say "Mama you done stabbed me."
#578 by BobJustBob
2008-06-17 02:33:30
Hey now, don't get crazy. Miyazaki makes good shit.

"The best experiences are generative experiences. The best stories are player stories." - Will Wright
#579 by CheesyPoof
2008-06-17 02:34:19
Spirited Away is pretty great. I think I have the end all be all collection of great anime, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Metropolis, Ghost in the Shell, and Cowboy Bebop. That's it. Princess Mononoke and Ghost in the Shell are optional. Cowboy Bebop is pretty great too.

<Hugin_len> Basically, cheesy doesn't have awful taste in music, he's simply very white.
#580 by FoRmaT
2008-06-17 02:34:37
Awesome.

"Action stars of two decades ago shot .44 bullets out of their cocks. Honestly, if me and Charles Bronson were in the same room I'd kill myself just to make sure he didn't hurt me."
#581 by bishop
2008-06-17 02:49:33
http://www.darkintel.org/00FF00/
The problem with anime is that nobody ever suggests you casually watch it. You're always told to go seek out and consume the entire series, which can frequently be god forsakenly long.
#582 by TreeFrog
2008-06-17 02:56:29
I hate seeing Miyazaki works held up as a shining example of the form. They're fucking vapid. If you like them, then yes, stop there and avoid anything by a different director.

bishop - if you genuinely want some quickly-digestible suggestions I can probably think of a few things while I'm pissing my life away at work tomorrow.


BobJustBob (#576):
Check your geek heirarchy.

I just did, and hey! Mine's spelt correctly.

The protruding upper halves of the letters now appear, in the local language, to read “Go stick your head in a pig”, and are no longer illuminated, except at times of special celebration.
#583 by Ergo
2008-06-17 02:58:35
Akira, like most anime, was too long, nigh-incomprehensible and had some of the worst dialogue I've ever encountered.  I was living in LA at the time it was released in the US (1990) and my roommates talked me into going to see it. I still want to kill them both.

Invention is the Green Goblin of Necessary Lemonade.

--Flowers
#584 by FoRmaT
2008-06-17 03:04:27
Japanese culture really is fascinating. I remember this documentary about Manga, and they showed people on their commute on a subway, and probably 80% of the passengers were reading Mangas ( I don't think it was set up). There are Mangas about god-damn EVERYTHING, from gay one-legged cleaning droids playing soccer to tentacles raping school girls in the ass, you name it. Crazy.

"Action stars of two decades ago shot .44 bullets out of their cocks. Honestly, if me and Charles Bronson were in the same room I'd kill myself just to make sure he didn't hurt me."
#585 by Shadarr
2008-06-17 03:20:44
shadarr@gmail.com http://digital-luddite.com
The problem with anime is that nobody ever suggests you casually watch it.

No, the problem with anime is that it's just not that good, compared to other movies or HBO shows, but anime fans act like it's the best thing ever.  About the only thing I can agree with anime fans on is that giant robots are awesome.

Witnesses in the house heard Jones say "why did you pee on me Pooh Bear?" A few moments later, the witness heard the son say "Mama you done stabbed me."
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