In the real world, every action we take, as small as it might seem, has a consequence. A remember when I was in high school, there was a basketball near my, and I just kicked it away; a simple action. The ball rolled away a few meters, where a little kid picked up the ball and started playing with it. Not too long after that, one of the bigger kids wanted the ball back. They took the ball from the kid and he started screaming and crying. I just stood there, feeling little bit responsible since they kid wouldn’t have gotten the ball if I hadn’t kicked it.
The simple action of kicking a ball, as harmlessly as it was, was the first step to a chain of events that made the kid cry and I had to live with it. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t personally traumatized by this, but I guess that if I had known what would have happened, I wouldn’t have kicked it. I can also think of more serious and recent events that lead me to these very thoughts.
When it comes to video games, however, we don’t necessarily need to deal with this guilt, no matter how big or small it is. Or should I say that we do have an additional option to deal with the guilt? If we are not satisfied with the outcome of an event, we can just reset or reload our game file. We can even just start the game from the beginning to make sure we take the “right” decisions. Our persistence in the getting what we want makes us go back in time and rewrite history as we see fit. But why are we persistent enough to try and retry? Some of us do it to get the “Best Ending” or get the best weapons, or to get that specific missable character or item that will make the rest of the game that much easier. What tickles our persistent bone?
I recently began playing Dragon Age: Origin, and so far, I have noticed that any decision I choose can greatly alter the fate of the other characters. Your teammates react differently to your decisions, and it will be hard to please all of them. I wanted to overcome my persistence in trying not to mess up, my urge to reload my game file anytime I felt I took a bad decision. I wanted to face every single consequence of my actions. And I fail terribly. At one point of the game, I ended up threatening a priestess to kill her if she didn’t give me the key to free a prisoner. She gave me the key angrily, and one of my teammates greatly disapproved, But I did have the key and I would get a new party member soon enough. However, this series of events left me a bitter taste. I reloaded my file and tried to persuade the priestess in many ways; I gave her an overly generous tithe and asked for her blessing, I hid who I was, I told her who I was, but I ended up threatening in the end, and reloading my file. Sometime later I found a way to recruit the prisoner without violence, but I already broke my decision to face all the consequences of my actions.
There is also a point where I faced the option of killing a possessed child or sacrificing his mother to save him. I didn’t want to do any of those, and trying to find an alternative to saving them both, I ended up enraging the possessed boy and hurt him pretty badly. Then I had to face another 2 options, kill the boy myself or let his mother kill him. I ended up doing the deed. I didn’t even wait for a chance to reload the game, I just reset the game instead. The crying mother kind of reminded me of that crying kid, of how helpless I was against the some of the consequences of things I’ve done. I can’t say I just learned this, but instead, I could say that this game helped me reaffirm the fact that I’m just a people pleaser. If there’s a thing I do persistently in life is try to make everyone feel better be it in real life or on a video game. It doesn’t always work and sometimes I’m I’m hurt in the process. The only difference in both of these is that real life doesn’t have a reset button. And it’s better that way. That button would very badly overused.