Ethics?

It’s funny – role-playing gets some stick in the USA from fundamentalists, in that you can worship devils etc. If only they knew. You’ve got to assume that the reason this genre is left alone, is that so few people indulge.I know you can play console games which basically consist of your character murdering people for hours on end, and the lobby are concerned about this. But in a console game, you murder someone by pressing a key. Ok, you get a graphic depiction of someone dying. In a role-playing game, you murder someone by getting a weapon, and waiting for your target to be vulnerable;maybe stalking them, maybe breaking into their house. What I’m saying is that surely role-playing games have a lot more potential to harm innocent young minds.I don’t know if any of the school shooters in the US were role-players. The thing is, the ethics are set by you and your group. For instance, I’ve gamed for a long time. I’ve played a few very nasty people. I’ve never played a racist, a paedophile or a wife-beater. I suppose everyone has a line.It can be very interesting playing a bad person, it can be pretty difficult. In our Detroit game, the characters have mostly decided to play white cops, for some reason, despite the area they are policing being 99% black/latin. Obviously there are a lot of racists. I’ve invented unpleasant and very unpleasant terms for whites, and tbh, if one of the characters decided to play a racist, and used offensive words, it’d be difficult for me, but it should be acceptable IN THE GAME. If he carried it on outside the game, one of us would leave the group. Generally, when you game, you’re gaming with friends, or at least people you know fairly well. So your ethics are generally understood. I remember one game, at a club years back, one new guy had what looked like a real hand gun in a case. It’s always helpful if the sickos announce themselves, so you can avoid them from the start… This is a bit of a dark article for this place, but at least I’ve not mentioned any videos.


3 thoughts on “Ethics?

  1. You are right, we have played some really nasty, dark games, but there is a little darkness in us all, the good thing is that none of us would even dream up any of it in the real world! We as gamers, and I mean our lot not those out there, are on reflection levelheaded and basically sane, nice people, but you have got to wonder, how far could things go before we snap?
    Makes you think doesn’t it?

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  2. Hmmm, thought provoking. We’ve definitely played some very dark games (I’m thinking of the one where we were Chechnyan gangsters), and it’s strange that no matter how bad one’s character is you always seem to try and justify it. Perhaps they’ve been through something horrible or the world somehow deserves to be punished but they’re never just evil for evil’s sake. I believe that good roleplaying lets us see the world from another persons point of view and by playing an “evil” character you’re seeing the world in a much darker light. I can’t speak for anyone else but being a roleplayer means that I now watch the news differently. Horrible people can justify their actions, no matter how abhorrently we think they acted. Thinking about your example, racists are racist for a reason. Perhaps it’s their upbringing, ignorance, or based on their experience but does it make them a bad person?

    I play video games, a lot of which are very violent (I’m thinking of the GTA series for example) and I think that their detachment makes them “worse” than RPGs in this regard. If you kill a hooker or terrorist there will always be another to take their place and the most you’ll suffer will be some kind of bar depleting in the corner of the screen. A good GM has the chance to create ramifications for your character and the group will usually have something to say about it both in and out of character. Very recently, in an RPG, we were part of a tem that was ordered to massacre a village of innocents. This definitely effected me a lot more than when I had to do the same thing in an airport in Call of Duty.

    Funnily enough, I think that the hate that RPGs get from certain groups is a lack of awareness of other people. I think that if they could see the world from another point of view they’d soon realise that we’re not all a bunch of satan worshipping serial killers.

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  3. Whilst I agree with you about seeing things from the other side, and yes, I watch the news differently as well, I’d disagree about people having a reason to be bad etc. Yes, we’ve all had different upbringings, and some people have really had to struggle. The guy who gardens for my mum was a child soldier (in africa). Some people can put their origins behind them, some can’t. I remember reading about Dahmer, how he’d had a horrific childhood. Sadly quite a lot of people have horrific childhoods, most don’t go on to be serial killers. It’s basically up to you, what your morals are, although you’re obviously heavily influenced by circumstances.

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