69: Asteroids Do Not Concern Me

"On that day I learned two things about myself that have remained true to this day. The first was that I am irrevocably a gamer. The second: When given a choice in the matter, I will always choose the dark side.
Sorry, Universe, their side goes to 11."

Russ Pitts escapes his trials and tribulations by crushing pathetic rebel scum.

Asteroids Do Not Concern Me

Your article on being bad in games was interesting. However, sadly 'being bad' is something else that's hampered more often than not by bad writing. Of course, it's great fun (in a rather juvenile way) to play Ming the Merciless or Darth Numbrod - to play someone who knows they're evil, who embraces their moral vileness and who enjoys nothing more than crushing star systems under their heel and laughing maniacally.

But it's not very complex. In many ways, it's just as simplistic as playing the farmboy-become-saviour, just with cooler clothes. How many people really see themselves as evil? Even the poster boys for evil throughout history saw themselves as the good guys. What would be miles more interesting than playing Mr Evil Cackle would be playing characters that think they're the good guys, even if the player knows that their actions are questionable. Characters that believe they're committing murder for a greater good other than getting some cool loot for their Evil HQ. In so many games, good and evil have the depth of a Halloween mask, and that's disappointing.

As a sidenote: What I enjoyed about TIE Fighter (apart from the coolness of piloting an Imperial craft and the obvious gameplay improvements over X-Wing) was that the Empire was presented as a force that saw itself as striving for a noble goal: bringing order to the galaxy. When I jumped into the cockpit of my trusty TIE Interceptor, I was doing so because the rebels were terrorists. Not because I was one evil mother. And that's interesting storytelling, as far as I'm concerned.

Glad you liked it ... :/

Actually, I see your point entirely. There's a definite thrill in being able to see into a supposed "bad guy's" mind; into the motivations, fears and dreams that make him the man he is, beyond as you say the evil laugh.

I don't think that this deep, broad characterization was necessarily supplied by the makers of the game, rather that we, who obviously love and cherish the world upon which it was based, supply much of that from our own mind.

Regardless, there are times when it's good enough to simply "be" the badguy, without having to understand him. To truly "escape" as it were. That was my frame of mind when I first played TIE Fighter, but I already shared that story. Thank you for sharing yours.

Anybody else have a TIE Fighter story?

Quick additional note: I *did* like the article, which I should have mentioned. :) I agree - sometimes you just want to play the bad guy and not think about moral or ethical concerns. I'm in the unfortunate position where I even feel guilty when using nerve cutters on my working class in Alpha Centauri. Blame my being a lapsed Catholic for that. ;) Nevertheless, I enjoyed the GTA games, even though I was playing a 'bad guy'. How's that for self-contradiction?

My Tie-Fighter story is that I missed it when it came out and haven't found a satisfactory way to play it now. It's sad because It has come so highly recommended to me by so many friends. (Why oh why did they not tell me back when I had a system that could play it?) Anybody remember Crusader: No Remorse? from a similar time - and definitely the spiritual predecessor of Deus Ex and System Shock :)

But to put this comment back on track - Does anyone know a good way to get it to run under XP or 2K? Dosbox feels too jerky for me - had same problem trying to run Mechwarrior that way.. Would love some suggestions.

I can second your Crusader love. That was a fine game, even if it did make my Pentium PC bleed.

As for TIE Fighter, a quick search turned up this gem. Haven't tested it though. I'll give it a try tomorrow and let you know.

It's fun to be bad now and then, but it's also fun to play along as the tragic evil figure who's convinced their on the right side. It keeps one's own moral assumptions in perspective.

My TIE Fighter story mostly revolves around how I really wasn't good at it, so I had to turn off collisions and turn on invincibility and still wound up not being able to clear the levels (I was young, okay?). But this emulator you've found.... I might have to try it again.

I tried it earlier and it gave me a nice crash. Although I do usually have about twenty programs open at one time. I'm going to try it again later with nothing else running.

Another story from Russ Pitts? Christ, how many anecdotes do you have?

Otherwise, good article. Retrospectives are always fun if written well. And you hardly need to be told that you write well.


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