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Did you know?

Games are inherently sociopathic when dealing with social interaction.

Perhaps I’m slow in realizing this but this comment on an online video made me think:

Andrew Scheil
The Whole concept of forging relationships with people in Persona is incredibly stupid. All you do is just agree with whatever they say and make them happy. It’s not being a friend, it’s being a manipulative sociopath.

This comment resonated with me since it’s one of the reasons I can’t play Persona-games, apart from the whole RPG-part of them being terribly dull. I try to max out the system and make people think well of me at all costs, which makes me feel terrible (yet I still do it, cause otherwise the game punishes me). My siblings love Persona 3 and 4 but when they say something like: “Ugh. I didn’t level up my social link. What a waste of time spending time with her. I should have done something else instead.”, there’s something wrong. And that’s despite both of them (particularly my sister) not really caring for personas or the Tartarus/TV World parts, thinking they’re boring and repetitive and being in it moreso for the social relations and story.

When you don’t pick the dialog options you want to pick but try to discern which ones are “correct” (the ones they want to hear) and when you’re doing it not for the sake of friendship but to amass power (stronger social links give in-game advantages by allowing you to forge stronger personas), that’s sociopathic.

I quickly realized that this is not unique in Persona’s implementation but inherent in game systems. As long as there are goals and rewards, players will try to beat the system (if there are goals then that’s what they’re supposed to do, they’re supposed to try to attain them). If these goals and rewards relate to social interactions then the player will try to beat that system, which is sociopathic in such a context. If there’s a reward for me in saying something dishonest, then the only sensible option is to say it, no matter how dishonest it is. Not saying it will hinder me from attaining the goal, and attaining the goal is the purpose of the game. It’s especially bad in dating sims (confession: I don’t play h-games that have branching options without a walkthrough guiding me all the way, cause I don’t want to miss something and have to play through it a second, or third time).

Now, if you want to make a game about a sociopath, that’s fine. But it doesn’t seem to me like most games intend to be sociopath simulators.

The only way to make it non-sociopathic is to remove goals and rewards from those systems, i.e. make them non-game systems. Only when you know that you’re not going to be punished for not trying to beat the system can you act naturally and pursue friendship for friendship’s sake, not because the game tells you to (sets it as a goal for you to achieve).

Did you kn0w?

The game is done. Let’s have fun.


Did you know?

Posted by
Saturday, December 15th, 2012 3:32 am

Did you know?
Covert operations are an efficient way of combatting terrorism and preventing rogue states from developing nuclear weapons.

Did you know?
Things are going terribly slow.

Did you know?
This is all I’ve got.

A first

Posted by
Saturday, December 15th, 2012 1:37 am

I haven’t joined any Ludum Dare before, although I’ve participated in a multitude of other game jams. This time, however, I’m not at my usual place but at my parents’, meaning all I have to work with is a pretty shitty computer I’m not used to working on. It’s difficult to go from 1920×1080 to 1024×600 (such an unorthodox resolution).

I’ll be using Game Maker since it’s very good at quick prototyping and getting something up and running is very fast. I’ll be working (forever) alone for that is what I do.

Without further ado, let the Funny Games begin.

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