Nathan (vovat) wrote,

What did they ever do to you?

Video games generally encourage the player to kill just about every living thing they see, and role-playing games are certainly no exception. When I'm playing one of them, I get into the habit of whacking anything that I run into in a random encounter. But is that really reasonable? I'm not saying you shouldn't kill the demons of pure evil and the like, especially since sealing them away never really works (and, for that matter, death isn't always a deterrent to their wicked ways either). But, for instance, one of the enemies in Final Fantasy VI is a stray cat. Does such an animal really need to be killed immediately? Come on, even the SPCA usually gives people a chance to adopt the cat first! And even with some of the more ferocious creatures, isn't it quite likely that they just want you out of their territory? Yet running away from the encounter means no experience points, and sometimes even the loss of money. You're rewarded for killing wild animals that sometimes don't even attack unless you do first. Is that really a good lesson to teach our youth? I think one reason I like the 8-Bit Theater comic (which is based on the original Final Fantasy) is that it acknowledges the heroes (well, most of them anyway) are jerks.

The original Phantasy Star does have the option of talking to some of the aliens you encounter instead of fighting them. When the communication is successful, your would-be nemesis simply says a trite line of dialogue and leaves, but at least it's a start. Tunnels of Doom, a game that I used to play on my old Texas Instruments computer when I was a kid, gave the option of negotiating with monsters. In true American spirit, however, "negotiation" really meant "bribing." Don't get me wrong; I enjoy slashing and burning various video game monsters. I just sometimes think it would be rather more ethical if you had other options (not counting running away, which tends to be frowned upon).
Tags: comics, final fantasy, video games
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