Community Writing Challenge: The “Feels” In Some Games

Published November 13, 2015 by Amanda B. Greene

GameInformer quickly came up with another set of questions in one of their latest Blog Herding articles. So, again I’ll give you my responses to this prompt:

Have you ever felt bad as the hero, or agreed with the antagonist of a video game? Write about a time you’ve encountered this – or how you haven’t because the games you play maybe don’t have compelling characters with shades of gray. One character who instantly comes to mind is Joel from The Last of Us. Hero, or bane of humanity?

Warning: There will be some spoilers…

There are certain games that pull me in different directions emotionally. I love video games that offer great, deep narratives as well as interesting characters. Some of what I’m talking about, at least for me, include Shin Megami Tensei IV, Fire Emblem Awakening, Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite, The Last of Us, and so on. I find it intriguing and encouraging how more people are trying to tackle different real world issues or create their own within a fictional universe.

There are even unexpected occurrences of this in franchises like Pokemon where they go about creating dark stories when you really think about them. On one article of GI, I think some comments were talking about this throughout the series. The one that probably stuck the most was the story of Mewtwo.

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I’d like to talk more specifically on Shin Megami Tensei IV. While the game could have worked better on being more gray (not fifty shades though), I definitely felt as though I wasn’t doing the right thing even when I got the “good” ending. The decisions and questions raised between Jonathon (the more “good” guy), Isabeau (the more neutral person), and Walter (the more “bad” guy) were very difficult most of the time. The main themes to choose from are having law and order versus freedom that ultimately ended with either sacrificing for the greater good or letting the condemned people of Tokyo live at the expense of keeping demons around.

Recently in my philosophy class, we’ve discussed about the topic of evil. Does there have to be darkness in order for us to see the light? Anyways, the last question was:

One character who instantly comes to mind is Joel from The Last of Us. Hero, or bane of humanity?

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My answer to that is Joel is a hero. There was no guarantee as to whether or not they could make a vaccine to counter the spores, and even if it did work, it wouldn’t last forever because of the way our bodies work. It was never a cure for the people already infected. Ellie had gone through things that no one should ever experience, especially at her age, so she should to be able to live out her life. As for the ending, I think she knew the truth.

And that’s all for now. Thanks for reading!

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