Dark, Dangerous Stories
“Lets face it – we play games of death and destruction. Virtual worlds are replete with tropes of war, violence and sexuality. But what they will admit to is another matter. They just wont go quite that far. They are neutered. Like so many guitar bands these days they have the ink and the piercings but the music formulaic, simple-melody, boy-band pop. Its all fit for 12 year olds.”
That is true, and I feel that there is a certain depth lacking when everything has to be covered by a moral issue, a reason for existing. You’re a soldier, so you kill people – but they’re the enemy/aliens/whatever, so they’re automatically the bad guys, and it’s ok. In Warcraft, and many other MMORPGs, you have countless quests where you have to go out and kill xx amount of animals, rinse and repeat. But there is usually backstory about the population exploding, or them eating the questgiver’s crops or whatever…so it’s not just cruelty to animals, it’s a public service.
Why can’t we have dark games, where you can just choose to be bad? And I’m not talking about mindless Grand Theft Auto bad. Dark choices that change your character, change what events come his way, change the world that he lives in.
I think the World of Darkness MMORPG has potential to be a dark game, if they’re not afraid to run with it. Characters prey on humans and engage in bitter power struggles against each other. Characters go mad based upon what happens to them in the game. It’s not all moral good guys-against bad guys sanitized violence.
Perhaps you would actually learn moral issues from the game, if you were allowed to explore what darkness really meant. As he says in the article, “…a world where black magic felt, well, a bit black”. What if your choice to be a necromancer or black magician actually changed your world, made it a darker place where evil beings walked? What if you could rule the world at the expense of your soul? What if those choices allowed you success in certain areas, while others were slowly barred from you, so you shut yourself off from a lighter/happier world, and created a different version of the game for yourself?