The above quote is claimed to have been coined by Clare Booth Luce, but she didn’t play video games, wherein good deeds sometimes seem to be over-rewarded. (I suppose she has the convenient excuse that they hadn’t been invented.) I mention this because of an interesting article about violence in video games via Freddie DeBoer at L’Hote. It’s a good read, and in DeBoer’s interview, he makes a lot of good points. But there’s one thing he says about Fallout 3 that I am pretty sure is slightly wrong:
From the outside it’s a game about violence, but it takes pains to make compassion a major element. You’re in this brutal world, where cruelty is common, but you have the capacity to help people who can do nothing for you.
This is technically true from the story perspective, but I believe–and maybe I’m forgetting something–that if you perform kindly acts for no reward per se, your character still gets “experience points” to become more powerful. And if I remember correctly, you typically get more experience points for “good” choices than for “evil” ones. That’s certainly a very common issue in RPGs, at any rate. I’ve heard people clamor for more games where your character can be truly self-sacrificing and altruistic, with no hidden rewards. (There is a very good example of this in Planescape: Torment, but I won’t spoil it.)