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Author Topic: First Moral Decision In Gaming  (Read 1251 times)

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Frocto

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First Moral Decision In Gaming
« on: August 10, 2010, 08:29:14 PM »

I was discussing moral decisions in games with my good friend Snacky, and we hit upon the question, "What was the first game to have a moral decision?"

I don't mean, like, choosing to save the princess in Mario or not, but something where both options have an in-game morality consequence. There's a lot of "fake" ones, like refusing to help the Resistance in FF6, but I'd also allow something like choosing to help Colonel Bahamut in Contra Hardcorps since, while it does give you a game over, you still get closure to the story.
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"And it is because they have fallen prey to a weakened, feminized version of Christianity that is only about softer virtues such as compassion and not in any part about the muscular Christian virtues of individual responsibility and accountability."

Brentai

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Re: First Moral Decision In Gaming
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2010, 08:45:18 PM »

I keep wanting to say there was an option to go rogue and join up with the ineffectual gustapo government in A Mind Forever Voyaging, but everything points to that not being the case.  I guess the closest you can come is being a dick in Suspended and deliberately fucking up the whole planet, but it doesn't gain you anything but a quicker shutdown and it's not like the world's not doing a good job of fucking up itself.

So the next closest thing is asking for the sword back instead of reviving Gurgi in The Black Cauldron, but it's pretty likely you can go earlier than that.
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Bal

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Re: First Moral Decision In Gaming
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2010, 09:56:39 PM »

I don't think there has ever been a genuine moral decision in a game, because they're games. The first "moral" decision though? Probably some early text adventure or something.
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Bongo Bill

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Re: First Moral Decision In Gaming
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2010, 10:02:44 PM »

The first moral decision would be the first obstacle that involved a non-player character (emphasis on "character") and which had more than one solution. When you've got an actual character and an actual choice of how to treat them, the decision is fraught with moral implications, however trivial, regardless of whether the game acknowledges them.
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...but is it art?

Zaratustra

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Re: First Moral Decision In Gaming
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2010, 10:05:36 PM »

In Penguin Adventure for the MSX, if you didn't press the pause button once and exactly once during the game, the princess would be dead when you finished the game.

Guess who was a fledging designer when he made this.

Brentai

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Re: First Moral Decision In Gaming
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2010, 10:49:08 PM »

Apparently Ultima IV predates both those games I mentioned, so yeah, Ultima IV.  A game which is not only largely to blame for the stock virtues still prevalent in the RPG genre, but remains to this day the only one to really try and build its entire system around them.
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Shinra

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Re: First Moral Decision In Gaming
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2010, 10:49:42 PM »

:MENDOZAAAAA:

KOOOOOOOOOOOOOOJIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
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Mongrel

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Re: First Moral Decision In Gaming
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2010, 02:51:59 AM »

:MENDOZAAAAA:

KOOOOOOOOOOOOOOJIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

The funniest part is that I have never ever heard of Penguin Adventure or the MSX, but nevertheless that was the name that came to my mind too.
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Shinra

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Re: First Moral Decision In Gaming
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2010, 04:48:48 AM »

I think it would be a good idea to make it so if you die on this encounter, your save games are deleted.
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Frocto

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Re: First Moral Decision In Gaming
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2010, 05:47:41 AM »

In Penguin Adventure for the MSX, if you didn't press the pause button once and exactly once during the game, the princess would be dead when you finished the game.

Guess who was a fledging designer when he made this.

so how do you unpause?
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"And it is because they have fallen prey to a weakened, feminized version of Christianity that is only about softer virtues such as compassion and not in any part about the muscular Christian virtues of individual responsibility and accountability."

R^2

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Re: First Moral Decision In Gaming
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2010, 06:10:27 AM »

Damn, Frocto beat me to it.
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Zaratustra

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Re: First Moral Decision In Gaming
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2010, 06:17:38 AM »

OK TWICE FINE

Frocto

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Re: First Moral Decision In Gaming
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2010, 06:53:25 AM »

The really jerk thing to do would've been to claim that the pause and unpause buttons are seperate things, assigned to the same pad location.
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"And it is because they have fallen prey to a weakened, feminized version of Christianity that is only about softer virtues such as compassion and not in any part about the muscular Christian virtues of individual responsibility and accountability."

Pacobird

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Re: First Moral Decision In Gaming
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2010, 11:50:05 AM »

The concept hit its stride in the Avellone oeuvre, particularly Torment, but I'm sure there are earlier examples.  Torment's the first that really jumps out at me, though.

Some hyper-linear games allow stark moral decisions to alter the course of the game's narrative (Tactics Ogre and Der Langrisser being the earliest to come to mind), but you're probably thinking of something subtler and more pervasive than

Join the Empire?

--> Yes
      No
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Classic

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Re: First Moral Decision In Gaming
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2010, 12:01:50 PM »

I'm not even sure what counts?
Does robbing the townsfolk blind in early RPGs count? I mean, does it count in Ultima 4 but not in Ultima 3?
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Pacobird

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Re: First Moral Decision In Gaming
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2010, 12:48:02 PM »

I'd considered that, but you can't actually complete the game that way.  Robbing townspeople in Quest of the Avatar is about as viable a "choice" as running into the first koopa you see.
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Classic

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Re: First Moral Decision In Gaming
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2010, 01:04:25 PM »

Actually, every guide for U4 I've read RECOMMENDS you annihilate townsfolk and rob to start the game off so that you don't have to grind so hard for the first couple of levels. Once you get your levels and gear up, you can just buy back virtue.
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BŁge

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Re: First Moral Decision In Gaming
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2010, 01:49:37 PM »

Join the Empire?

     Yes
--> No

But thou must!
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Doom

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Re: First Moral Decision In Gaming
« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2010, 06:23:54 PM »

Dragon Quest.

It's not much of an ending but non-cooperation with evil and all that.
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