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Good and Evil September 26, 2007

Posted by jmoran21 in Games, Morality, TV.
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This morning my mother asked me if I had seen the Heroes season 2 premier yet. When I replied that I had not, she asked me in a conspirator’s tone of voice if I had known that George Takei’s character was “evil.” I informed her that I did not consider anyone on Heroes to be evil, and not just because the writers delight in revealing the hidden motives of seemingly monstrous characters. The series deftly avoids clichéd super villain archetypes* but rather shows morally vacant individuals making abhorrent decisions that they see as necessary.

Story telling in new media can take this concept to their highest heights by allowing the reader/viewer/player to make their own shades-of-gray decisions. Or at least, they can potentially do this. It seems that far too often, games that feature morality systems take the easy choice of doing something obviously noble, or taking said noble thing, getting it piss drunk, tying it to a chair, and beating it senseless with it’s own mother’s cane. This is just a branching play style for people who know whether they are playing good or playing evil. In traditional story telling, I love it when it’s difficult to tell the good guys from the bad ones. What I want desperately from new media is to face the same conundrum when examining myself.

*Sylar is not evil. He’s a force of nature, trying to become king of the jungle because he just doesn’t know any better. He has sentience but no remorse, but I don’t think he even knows right from wrong in the first place.
**Check out the first episode of NBC’s Chuck for the first (and likely only) reference to Zork in prime time network TV history.

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1. The Vernacular of Heroes « Blue Tattoo - December 11, 2007

[…] Sylar. I’ve previously gone on record saying Sylar isn’t evil. This was wishful thinking on my part, as the writers have turned […]


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