As many of you know, I’m very vocal about what I like and don’t like. I’m very honest about what I feel, but I don’t shove my preferences into other people’s throats. When I first discovered the existence of internet forums, I was excited about the whole idea of discussing my favorite video game with people from the around the world. One of my first posts was about the narrative I created involving Shepard’s love triangle with Liara and Miranda. For some odd reason, people started calling me names and accused me of ludicrous assumptions. People attacked me by saying that I was such a horrible person and I must be a ‘cheater’ in real life. If I am to follow that logic, I cheat on my romantic partners in video games therefore I am a douchebag in real life. Absurd, really. Granted, there are some choices I make in video games that reflect my values and beliefs but there’s also something called “creative storytelling.” You know, that sort of thing where you actually role-play.
Consequently, there are a lot of other choices I’ve made in video games that drew the ire of my other fellow gamers. I might have some sort of death wish, knowing I am compiling all of the things that will provoke gamers to throw digital tomatoes at me. However, I stopped being so sensitive about it and I decided to celebrate my non-conformist/odd way of thinking. Have you ever been at the receiving end of the question: “How could you do that??” and sick of all the personal criticism? If yes, feel free to share in the comments.
1. I spared Loghain (Dragon Age: Origins)
Ah, I can already hear the collective gasps of disbelief resonating in my head. Loghain was the man responsible for nearly eradicating Ferelden’s Grey Warden army, in addition to King Cailan and Duncan’s death during the beginning of the game. He also sent Zevran, the assassin, to kill you so this guy really wanted you out of the picture. However, when it came down to the duel, it didn’t feel right for me to kill him. I played as a Human Noble male, and I guess I was more angry at Arl Howe than at Loghain. From my perspective, Arl Howe was a snake who wanted power. Loghain was different. Okay, he killed a lot of people but what was his end game? Did he want power? No, I saw a man who desperately wanted to protect Ferelden, but used the wrong methods to do so. I read the Dragon Age prequel “The Stolen Throne” by David Gaider, and it gave me substantial insight on Loghain’s character. It made me understand his paranoia towards the Orlesians, but he was not evil. After all, he is revered as the hero of River Dane and rightly so. Being a leader isn’t always about making decisions that look good on paper. What if, in another context, Ferelden was really in danger and sending all the troops would result in a complete massacre? Yes, it’ll be cruel to leave the others behind but sometimes a tough decision must be made for the good of all. It fell on Loghain and he had to make the call.
2. I saved the Dog (Fable 2)
Okay spoilers for this one! When you reach the end of Fable 2, you are given three choices by Theresa: Sacrifice, Love, or Wealth. Sacrifice entails all of the people who died in the Spire’s making will be brought back to life, but the Hero loses the chance of seeing their family ever again; Love: The Hero’s sister, dog, and family will be brought back to life, but their lives come at the cost of the countless innocents who died in building the Spire; or Wealth: The Hero will receive more gold than they could possibly imagine, to spend on whatever they want, but any they loved and all of the Spire’s prisoners will remain dead. When I told everyone that I chose ‘Love’ mainly because of my dog and sister, I received a lot of criticism for doing that. It was a selfish decision, but my dog was a great companion. Before Elizabeth from BioShock: Infinite, I had my canine buddy in Fable 2 with me for 90% of my journey until he took a bullet for me. It’s a selfish move, but all the other lives or money in the world would never equate to the lives of my character’s dog and sister.
3. I chose Synthesis (Mass Effect 3)
Okay, this has got to be the most criticized decision I’ve made in a video game. What’s strange is: I played through all the endings of Mass Effect 3 and I saw the pros and cons for each. I don’t think anything is objectively bad, it all depends on perspective and your own code of morality. Alright, I know everyone is saying that the implications of the Synthesis ending is horrible. I’ve heard people argue that they will commit suicide because their genetic code is rewritten. Husks and the like apparently has consciousness now or whatever. Okay, I see why people are saying that because they’ve really gone in-depth with it. However, in the epilogue slides… BioWare paints the universe after Synthesis as a Utopian society. People weren’t shown to be going mad because of the change in their genetic code among other things. When your squadmate hugs EDI, it didn’t look like organics bore a grudge on what happened. Yes, BioWare could have oversimplified it but if they showed Synthesis as simple as Utopia or the next step in evolution… that seems swell for me. I don’t want to analyze into it much. I’ll take it as it is. Plus, I’m personally an advocate for “innovation” so I’m not saying everyone will agree to it. I also think Control is as awesome as Synthesis. I do have a Destroy ending, just to have a canon where my Shepard will be with Miranda and that was my only basis of choosing that. I couldn’t kill the Geth and EDI, especially after how much they’ve evolved which is why I like Synthesis so much since it elevates synthetics and organics to a whole new level.
4. I let Kenny shoot Duck (Walking Dead)
I was actually surprised that a lot of people disagreed with my choice. I haven’t seen the statistics, but I’ve talked to a lot of my gamer friends and they chose to let Lee kill Duck. One of my friends told me: “But you were his friend!! How could you let him kill his own son?” I personally felt that it wasn’t my place to take the life of someone else’s child. Our parents are the ones responsible for bringing us into this world, and I think if someone had to end the life of a child… it should be the parent. I mean, I think Kenny deserves to see and a be a part of the last moments of his son’s inevitable death. I remember in Dragon Age: Orgins, I opted to kill Connor but Isolde asked me if she could be the one to do it since she is the mother. That’s kind of how I saw Kenny and Duck’s situation. It may sound morbid, but I think even something as scary as death can be as intimate as being born into this world.