Tag Archives: Saints Row

Rogue Failure. Or ‘How I Stopped Worrying and Learned To Love the Paragon’

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I am not and never have been a rebel.  In life, as in gaming, I tend to follow a path of general decency and behaving unto others as I would wish for them to treat me – it isn’t cool, it rarely yields great rewards and marks you out to others in the world as being even more of a nerd than they expect you to be.  Thankless existence, unto eternity?  You said it.

I am, dear reader, a Paragon, a Paladin, a White Hat – and I’m ok with it.

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My current favourite gaming experience, the omnipresent “Kingdoms of Amalur”, gives me the chance to play as a rogue class ranged fighter and what I’ve discovered from my now 52 hours of game play is that I’m absolutely useless when given the choice to exercise bad behaviour in games.  ‘Amalur’, for example, gives your levelled-up Rogue class the chance to use your stealth ability to sneak up on adversary and ally alike and either shank them assassin style or simply pickpocket them for nifty loot.

Curiously, I find it more morally acceptable and preferable to sneak up on humanoid aggressors and slice them six ways to Sunday than to go creeping around the game world and cut purses or rifle through wallets – how’s that for a bizarre reaction to choices that a game designer provides you with?   I’d like to think that it doesn’t prove that I’m a sociopath-in-waiting but it does give you pause.

It’s this odd disconnect between real world personal conviction and the options inherent in a video game environment  which has kept me from playing sandbox gangster titles like “Saints Row”, “Mafia” and the grand-daddy of them all, “Grand Theft Auto”.  If I can’t envisage ever wanting to be the characters or inhabiting their world, there’s no way that I’m going to play the title – it’s probably a Boy Scout reaction to the criminal anti-hero archetype but there you go.

That’s not to say that I require characters in-game to be Peter Pureheart and impossibly, impractically noble as that option offers as much of a game-breaking flaw as glitch code or poor design decisions but I don’t want to play games where the protagonist’s raison etre is slaying innocent bystanders and arbitrarily causing car crashes.  It’s just not how I’m wired, folks.

I suppose the point that I’m grasping towards is that I like being offered choice about what I do in games – perhaps I should make 2013 the year that I start to take advantage of those choices and see where they take me in games?

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Same moral panic, different day.

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Read the fricking label?

As we haven’t had one of these stories for at least two or three months now, let’s all be united in our shock and surprise as somebody else calls for action on the negative impact of video games on the fragile minds of young people.

Quel surprise.

Putting aside glibness for one or two minutes, the points made by Alison Sheratt of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers are not wholly without merit.  Kids are being allowed to play unsuitable, age-restricted video games by their idiot parents and teachers are seeing the result of this in their classrooms.  They are understandably upset by this – this does not, however, permit them to presume to stop the rest of us from playing video games intended for adult audiences in the comfort of our own homes.

Puffing yourself up and demanding that the government introduce ‘stringent legislation’ to restrict access to video games, internet content and television programmes is going to do absolutely nothing to end this problem as the responsibility for children’s exposure to media ends squarely and solely with their parents – the self-same group who invariably allow their wee darlings to play Modern Warfare 3 because it’s a game like Wii Sports and couldn’t possibly be harmful to little Kyle and Jade.

Let’s state some undeniable facts, shall we?  Kids have no money – their parents buy games consoles and TV’s, give their children laptops and mobile devices and purchase the software which runs on them.  The software which they buy for these home systems comes with the industry’s self-policing certification system (see the PEGI graphic above).

This means that parents, so keen to scream, shout and bully their way out of being held accountable for anything that their little darlings do, have no excuse about being unaware that the latest Saints Row” is totally unsuitable for their offspring.  If they choose to ignore ratings, certificates and guidance aimed to help them make informed choices about their children’s entertainment, its a parent’s fault and nobody else’s if their delightful kids then go to school and, through actions and words, make them look like the negligent, incompetent and careless half-wits that they so frequently are these days.

If we need to start doing anything in society, it’s to make feckless and lazy parents own the behaviour of their children and be held legally and morally accountable for their inaction and, let’s be honest, frequent corruptive influence.  Everybody shouldn’t have to suffer because some parents can’t be bothered to, you know, parent.

 

 

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