RPGs, interconnectiveness, psych-profiling and Big Brother
March 30, 2010 1 Comment
I’ve recently (better late than never) have gotten majorly into RPGs as a game genre, after years of RTS and FPS… mostly because the stories in RPGs are far more complex, detailed, insightful, and entertaining, unlike the linearity of FPSs and an equally linear set of ‘rules’ that inevitably evolve in any RTS you play too long.
But never mind that; the really interesting thing is, because of the realism, and the reasonably open-ended nature of gameplay, RPGs can offer a very interesting set of moral choices to be made as you progress. The ultimate objective is still the same; but how you reach it can vary.
And most games now are coming with a social component – sharing achievements, online communities, virtual personas. It’s not just sitting in your HDD anymore; new games can import the choices made in previous versions, keep the story going. With FB Connect, they know exactly who you are; the real you, not a virtual identity, an anonymous game character.
Ever though of the implications in psychoanalysis, law enforcement?
It can be a healing tool – teaching socially dysfunctional patients how to interact with normal society, monitoring the progress of their reintegration by their in-game behavior, the choices they make.
It can be, on a darker note, a profiler as well. What would you say about the mind of a person who, even in a fantasy world, always makes the choice between good and evil in a particular direction? One who chooses to sacrifice team-mates for personal advancement? One who has an extensive collection of sniper-weapon games, and has ranked up the highest scores? One who, in a open, sandbox-style scenario, chooses to be even more vicious and psychopathic than even the escapist game intended? I’m not talking about stealing cars in GTA; I’m talking of running the driver over after, then going on a full-on vehicular manslaughter rampage. Would you, as a law enforcer, like a list of the people in your neighborhood who have been tagged with certain game-behavior red flags as potential problems?
Games are getting more and more realistic every day. They began as an escape from reality, but that escape is coming full circle right back into the reality it offered a relief from. And there are no psychological checks and balances.