My Inner Bad Guy

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My Inner Bad Guy

When it comes to being bad, motivation is everything.

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Nice article Susan. The people in that game deserve to die when even when I'm driving a tank towards them, they only do a small jog in the direction I'm going.

Good read. I shared the same opinions when I played the game; while most of my friends were eager to slaughter anything that got in their way simply because of the sheer awesomeness of using Alex's abilities like some berserk fiend, I found it to be even more enjoyable to try to play the game while limiting the occasional collateral damage which was somehow a bit hard to do when the AI is not that great - know a lot of crazy doods who would use the same route that is being guarded by the military because of a certain -hint- infected invasion -hint-.

And Alex's decision of whether or not to reach the end by any means possible or not, is really something I haven't really dealt with in most RPGs I played, maybe because of the scale of his decisions, killing 200 civilians to exterminate 2000 infected, or going directly for the hive and letting the military destroy the rest of the infected without putting the civilians in harms' way, or just destroying everything for the 'ep' and 'fun'.

*huggles new CS art* ...what? It's friggin' adorable.

Anyway, good to see this column return, and I really liked this one. I haven't played Prototype, though I think I can relate. No matter how many times I try in Fallout 3 to be kind of a badass, I always end up with more good karma than bad. Afterall, I'm apparently just trying to find my dad. So with the proper motivation, I imagine I would have a lot less trouble being a jerk.

Susan I completely agree. While I wouldn't say it lets me be the 'bad guy', I'd say it lets me be the 'anti-hero'. Which is, you know, in many ways, -still- a bad guy. haha, so I completely agree with the 'escapism' bit

Totally agree. It's their fault for not getting out of the way, serves the idiots right.

I also enjoy when the characters are more down to earth, most badguys are just rediculous.

when it lets me i can be an absolute c**t in most games, look at me wrong and i will impale your face upon my spikey arm

Just a question, is this supposed to be where you explain certain things in your reviews or is there something else going on? It's not that it's badly written or anything, in fact it's at what I expect when I come here, which is a high level of writing, but I just don't see the point of this series.

black lincon:
Just a question, is this supposed to be where you explain certain things in your reviews or is there something else going on? It's not that it's badly written or anything, in fact it's at what I expect when I come here, which is a high level of writing, but I just don't see the point of this series.

It's just a look at her views on topics in games, such as this.

NoMoreSanity:

black lincon:
Just a question, is this supposed to be where you explain certain things in your reviews or is there something else going on? It's not that it's badly written or anything, in fact it's at what I expect when I come here, which is a high level of writing, but I just don't see the point of this series.

It's just a look at her views on topics in games, such as this.

I guess that makes sense.

I wasn't dissatisfied, I was just confused, I had no Idea what the point was, but I guess you're probably right.

black lincon:

NoMoreSanity:

black lincon:
Just a question, is this supposed to be where you explain certain things in your reviews or is there something else going on? It's not that it's badly written or anything, in fact it's at what I expect when I come here, which is a high level of writing, but I just don't see the point of this series.

It's just a look at her views on topics in games, such as this.

I guess that makes sense.

I wasn't dissatisfied, I was just confused, I had no Idea what the point was, but I guess you're probably right.

Yeah, I geuss it's supposed to offer us a look through other gamer's perspectives on topics. Nice reading and makes you wonder.

black lincon:
Just a question, is this supposed to be where you explain certain things in your reviews or is there something else going on? It's not that it's badly written or anything, in fact it's at what I expect when I come here, which is a high level of writing, but I just don't see the point of this series.

Context Sensitive is about whatever I'm pondering in gaming at the moment. Sometimes it might coincide with a review, but most of the time it likely won't.

It is kind of sad that most games seem to treat the "bad guy" as a graduate of the Snidley Whiplash School of Evil-Doing. Being evil for no other reason than "evil is cool", cackling madly and twirling your sweet handlebar moustache while you tie the damsel to the train tracks because... well, she's a damsel and you just happen to live near train tracks- it's extraordinarily one-dimensional and comes across as cartoonish and whimsical even in games that are otherwise gritty and serious (or self-important, depending on the tone).

I don't mind being the bad guy once in a while, so long as there's a believable reason behind it, I can measure my responses according to my tastes, and there are palpable repercussions from what I choose to do. (Completely different from, say, Fallout 3, where the game tells me I'm a naughty person for giving a junkie a free fix, even if I believe that life in the Wasteland is hell and inducing a little pharmecutical happiness is hardly the worst way to deal with it.)

So your being bad, but for a good reason :) I can completely appreciate that *goes online to Purchase Prototype* Now lets see if i can resist the urge to completely rampage and destroy everyone in sight because i'm bored.

This is the first thing I've seen that gives me a twinge to play prototype. Gameplay and graphic wise, I assume; been there, done that.

But the plot/story, slightly twinged from others maybe; to be something associative; could be my push to make this my next purchase.

Really intriguing article. I wasn't going to pick up Prototype, but now I'm curious... Usually, I'm bored silly by video game characters that act solely for the reason of fulfilling game mechanics and prefer characters that act because they have motivation. I was thinking "mindless sandbox+superpowers game?" when I read the review, but this article changed my thinking. =3 And it's very well-written besides.

Susan Arendt:

black lincon:
Just a question, is this supposed to be where you explain certain things in your reviews or is there something else going on? It's not that it's badly written or anything, in fact it's at what I expect when I come here, which is a high level of writing, but I just don't see the point of this series.

Context Sensitive is about whatever I'm pondering in gaming at the moment. Sometimes it might coincide with a review, but most of the time it likely won't.

Okay, I thought you were trying to defend your statements in your previous reviews, but that made little sense as I don't believe the Escapist would give you a series about that.

also, interesting choice for a graphic for the series.

I'm exactly the same way, funnily enough. I just can't be evil in games. I used to be great at it - when I was a kid, I'd always do the "no I won't help you and I'll kill you for asking" option in Kotor, but when I went back to it a few weeks ago, it just... I couldn't do it. I didn't want to. Even though I really wanted to go through the dark side route the second time I played, I couldn't make myself be the bad guy. I'm not really sure what changed - I tried to play The Darkness again, recently, a game I really quite enjoyed when it was new, and I found it difficult to ignore the horrible things you do to people in that game.

I really love Prototype; it contains so many features and concepts that I can't get enough of, and if I can detach my overactive conscience, the level of bloody destruction you can spread can be exciting. But even then, I can't stop myself from feeling sick when I hear the helicopter pilots desperately crying for help, or the police officers begging you to let them go.

I recognise that it's human nature - more than that, it's the nature of so many creatures on Earth - but I still find it difficult to really understand how you can look at a man struggling uselessly to break free of Alex Mercer's grip, and laugh. Even if it is completely virtual. Is the concept really so funny?

Orange Monkey:
So your being bad, but for a good reason :) I can completely appreciate that *goes online to Purchase Prototype* Now lets see if i can resist the urge to completely rampage and destroy everyone in sight because i'm bored.

It's not so much a case of "doing something bad for a good reason", as "doing something bad for a reason you can relate to and understand". Alex Mercer is still unquestionably a villain, but he's not meaninglessly evil, nor does he do it because he believes he's doing the right thing. He's simply been pushed too far.

Wait a minute... So collateral damage is acceptable providing the reason for it is self preservation and information? That doesn't sit right with me.

I get that the player might be able to connect with Alex more when he's emotionally driven by anger ("You are pissed + I am sympathetic = I will help you break things violently") but even still I hardly think that's a valid license to destroy the world. At least you have a clear aim with money, power and information, but where does retribution end? Anger (or any emotion for that matter) is a flimsier excuse than any material end to destroy everything because while it might connect and seem more agreeable to the player, it still doesn't offer an adequate reason for such behaviour.

At least with a bad person, you know exactly what you're aiming for. With an angry or emotional person, the end isn't exactly as clear.

I get that Prototype is a game (a game I haven't played so I may be far, far from the point) but I have trouble imagining a legitimate reason for anger induced madness.

Edit -- Also (and I don't mean to be rude with this), but in the first paragraph of the article, shouldn't it be "everything in sight" and not "everything in site"?

Brilliant article. I wholeheartedly agree. When it comes to games in which I have moral choices, I always choose the good path and force myself to then take the evil path just for the want for more achievements. I don't like choosing the evil path because I usually have little to no motivation to do so, other than 'choice'. So in a game which gives you motivation to be evil it's a great reason to empathise and follow suit.

Orange Monkey:
So your being bad, but for a good reason :) I can completely appreciate that *goes online to Purchase Prototype* Now lets see if i can resist the urge to completely rampage and destroy everyone in sight because i'm bored.

It is really hard to resist because they make it look so damn funny.

Great article. I think you hit the nail on the head as to why I don't appreciate the whole moral system in a game like Fallout 3.

So far, I haven't found a game that has a story which does the whole gewd and ebil bit very well, that, and I feel that the actions of good and evil go beyond the story, but as to how you play the game.

Scenario: A player is surveying an enemy supply base, which they've confirmed that they don't need to attack, and yet as they're leaving, they see a guard standing atop one the walls, looking in the opposite direction. Pulling out a sniper rifle, they kill him, and only him, and then exit the combat area.

Now, his death wasn't necessary, and yet the player singled him out among all the others, was the player's action just? Or are they the "bad guy"?

Or am I being waaaaaay to philosophical about this?

Maet:
Wait a minute... So collateral damage is acceptable providing the reason for it is self preservation and information? That doesn't sit right with me.

I get that the player might be able to connect with Alex more when he's emotionally driven by anger ("You are pissed + I am sympathetic = I will help you break things violently") but even still I hardly think that's a valid license to destroy the world. At least you have a clear aim with money, power and information, but where does retribution end? Anger (or any emotion for that matter) is a flimsier excuse than any material end to destroy everything because while it might connect and seem more agreeable to the player, it still doesn't offer an adequate reason for such behaviour.

At least with a bad person, you know exactly what you're aiming for. With an angry or emotional person, the end isn't exactly as clear.

I get that Prototype is a game (a game I haven't played so I may be far, far from the point) but I have trouble imagining a legitimate reason for anger induced madness.

Edit -- Also (and I don't mean to be rude with this), but in the first paragraph of the article, shouldn't it be "everything in sight" and not "everything in site"?

This is correct for the same reason Communism is perfect on paper: basic, vestigial human instincts are not factored in. Like it or not, humans got this far in the world by being brutal, murderous beings. We've come a long way in suppressing those violent impulses, but one has to understand that those instincts are not gone, and they are unavoidably brought out by very strong emotion, with very rare exceptions.

Unadulterated rage brings self-control and rationality crashing to the ground in a large, messy heap, and places an obelisk of mindless destruction in its place.

As far as what would cause such a rage within the circumstances of the game, one would need to have witnessed someone in a state of extreme delirium, be they in a chemically-induced craze or through sickness. When humans don't understand their environment and lack any sense of self-identity, they lash out at their surroundings violently. Most of us have experienced such a delirium first-hand at one point or another (but unlikely to the degree witnessed in the game, and certainly not by the same cause), and have reacted in the same way. That is why the author is able to identify with the protagonist in the game.

The depth of Prototype is there... you've just gotta stop and think for a second.

Bravo.

NoMoreSanity:
Nice article Susan. The people in that game deserve to die when even when I'm driving a tank towards them, they only do a small jog in the direction I'm going.

Agreed, its a bit like " Oh no! A tank is coming towards me! Let me slowly jog out of the way". Likewise the people who actually dive UNDER the treads of my tank -_-.

Anyway I generally don't consume the average person simply because it's more useful to keep a Military disguise backed up... Doesn't stop me killing them though, Those poor bunch of pixels.

Reading this makes me want to play [Prototype] more than I did, I'll have to try and blag a copy out of someone tommorow.
It's good that someone finally made a game where people can relish in the fact that they're being complete dicks, good or bad cause or purely for self interest.
I feel games like SpiderMan lose value when you play as the friendly neighbourhood spider and start punching babies.

Games like GTAIV have some kind of justification to killing of a few pixel people, but when you look at the character of Niko Bellic, his reason for being in Liberty City I can't really imagine him gunning down groups of innocents.
However, with a game like [Prototype] being a jackass seems like the right thing too do, I'm going to trample over your flowerbed, run up the side of your house and leave my footprints on your roof, why?
I wanted to zoom zoom across the sky so I could drop in on that tank.
The characters story justifys the actions too.

I remember on the DVD of "The Crow", there was an interview with Brendon Lee about how he's been in films with lots of violence in them, but this film the violence is justified.
Finally gamers get a slice of that pie.

Are you kidding me? Whenever I found myself with the slightest bit of lost health in Prototype, I immediately leapt into the closest crowd of people and started consuming them left and right, as though they were nothing more than a bunch of cheesy nachos. Then I would hijack a helicopter and fly it into a military base.

Okay, so this spoiler will ruin the story of the game; if you haven't beaten it, don't read... at least, don't blame me if it spoils things.

very similar to the problem i have with bethesda games especially fallout 3 where you start from the beginning of you life and there is really no reason that your character would go evil other then to enslave, cannibalize and nuke people simply cus there is a button for it. But I suppose that thats the double edged sword of making a game too open.

I started playing Prototype last night. When you, as Alex is moving through a crowd of people, he'll push and backhand people out of the way. There's no way to stop this, short of walking around the people. It shows what kind of character Alex is, a prick, which is totally fun to play cause I'm such a normal, law abiding person in real life.

Susie gets her own section of the site? JUBILATIONS!

Despite all of the karma systems popping up in games lately, none of them have really performed well at all, which just shows laziness when it comes to game design, considering that Fallout managed to do it fairly right all the way back in 1997. Where Fallout differed from these games, and where it seems that Prototype differs also, is in its disconnection of the karma system from the game, where karma effects are subtle, and where most of the choices are morally grey.

I still think that Prototype is a derivative, boring, by-the-numbers "parkour, sandbox, mystical powers" game in a genre that should be dead, but if it gets this thing right, maybe it's worth some commendation.

silentsentinel:
Are you kidding me? Whenever I found myself with the slightest bit of lost health in Prototype, I immediately leapt into the closest crowd of people and started consuming them left and right, as though they were nothing more than a bunch of cheesy nachos. Then I would hijack a helicopter and fly it into a military base.

Humanitarian of the year!

Maet:
Wait a minute... So collateral damage is acceptable providing the reason for it is self preservation and information? That doesn't sit right with me.

I get that the player might be able to connect with Alex more when he's emotionally driven by anger ("You are pissed + I am sympathetic = I will help you break things violently") but even still I hardly think that's a valid license to destroy the world. At least you have a clear aim with money, power and information, but where does retribution end? Anger (or any emotion for that matter) is a flimsier excuse than any material end to destroy everything because while it might connect and seem more agreeable to the player, it still doesn't offer an adequate reason for such behaviour.

At least with a bad person, you know exactly what you're aiming for. With an angry or emotional person, the end isn't exactly as clear.

I get that Prototype is a game (a game I haven't played so I may be far, far from the point) but I have trouble imagining a legitimate reason for anger induced madness.

You have a clear aim with Alex, too -- to find out what has been done to you, and by whom. Your goal is perfectly clear: to get the information you want, then use that information to exact vengeance on those who've put you in this position. As for the collateral damage, like I said, it's not something I try to achieve as I play. I'd much rather the innocent civilians just stay clear of me. But if they don't, that's a them problem, not a me problem.

Well your article definetly brought some things I hadn't thought about, but my two favourite activities are how far can I throw someone and using the shield power to ram through crowds. Maybe I'll think twice now.

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