Moral dilemmas in games have been around forever, but nowadays it seems like all gaming companies are rushing to put their own moral twist into their masterpieces. Video games are no longer judged by whether you enjoyed the gameplay or not, but by the story and graphics as well. For this reason, game writers are aimlessly placing moral conflicts in games because they believe it generates both good revenue and a good story, but is that really the truth?
As the game industry keeps stacking up the inner conflicts the line between what is right and wrong continues to blur. Players face a constant barrage of horrible “would you rather’s” that force you to choose between options such as killing your best friend to save innocents or to let him live and kill millions. A great example of this would be from Heavy Rain. At one point you must cut off one of your fingers to save your kidnapped son, and that’s just the beginning of the horrible tasks you must complete. Choices, such as the example given, leave gamers hardened and cold which defeats the purpose of including moral dilemmas in the first place. The same thing has happened to the horror industry where what used to be scary, such as blood and guts, are just a regular occurrence in the games we play now. They continue to add more disturbing ideas to keep gamers scared and on their toes. While this does create a good horror game it starts to get ridiculous just as the inner conflicts will continue to get more disturbing.
The ever-present moral dilemma is becoming the signature mark of the current generation of games just as never-ending clips of ammo is a signature mark of 80’s action movies. Whether one agrees with this or not is all opinion, but a fact that cannot be ignored is that the overuse of a plot device, such as morality, will eventually lead to a fall in sales. A good example of overusing an element within the entertainment industry would be special effects in movies. Recently there has been a fall in sales for anticipated blockbuster movies and all signs are pointing to a lack of story and an overabundance of special effects. The would be draw for movies has been overdone and the people crave a good story in addition to the fantastic effects we see nowadays. Either the movie industry will have to keep escalating the visuals or they will have to bend to the will of the audience and actually begin to create movies with a compelling story line.
As we roll into another year of gaming it will be interesting to see what the powers that be give us. Yes it is clear that there will be plenty of epic gaming with tons of great blockbuster titles, but will they all live up to our expectations? Will they contain more impossible moral dilemmas for us to decide? It is not for certain but whatever happens this year, hope and pray that the gaming industry doesn’t turn ethical plight into the game cliché of 2014.
[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” ]About the Author – Kyle Deck hopes to pursue a career in concept ideas for game companies and help make some kick butt games. But until then he’s here to bring you some equally kick butt reviews! Find him on twitter – @KyleDeck[/box]