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Anti-Objectivist video games

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I don't play, but a game that's caught my attention from afar - based on other's descriptions - is "Grand Theft Auto".

Its premise of wanton violence - kill, rape, pillage, repeat - is pretty disgusting. The version I heard about takes place in Los Angeles (I think), and maybe that's part of my problem. Violent games that take place in some remote, kill-or-be-killed world/situation, or provide a legit motive to kill within the context of the game, at least let you off the hook for killing because you have not choice. With GTA, you don't have that excuse; it just seems like violence for its own sake.

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But it still irks me a little bit, because it's almost as if they're suggesting that Earth has its own volition. I agree that, if Earth were a volitional being, it would be wrong to use its resources. But, the fact is that planets are not alive...it almost seems like they were arguing for it.

I thought about this while in the shower earlier today.

I don't think they are arguing that *our* planet has a volitional consciousness any more than they are arguing that we have giant snakes like the Midgar Zolom or lion-like creatures that can live for hundreds of years and talk:).

I think suggesting that the video game planet has a consciousness serves a specific purpose. Namely it makes the point that coercion against a volitional being is *wrong* on a symbolic level.

Just like animal farm isn't advocating the premise that sheep and cows can talk (George Orwell wasn't a member of PETA or anything stupid like that) and rather that communism is horse puckey...I think that the point is that consciousness and identity are sacred and not to be screwed with.

I think there are MANY pro-individualist and pro-capitalist themes in the game.

If nothing else, you get money for selling things and you can buy them all throughout the game.

When you beat Emerald and Ruby weapon you get some of the best items in the game by trading the desert rose and the earth harp for Master Materias and a Gold Chocobo.

Also, the Gold Saucer isn't labeled a "den of iniquity" because you pay to have fun in various forms while earning your own currency (GP) to trade in for various items. You can use your own physical power and strategic battle tactics to take on monsters in the battle arena as well as ride a chocobo for prizes or GP.

All of this is seen as normal and acceptable and not something that is remotely tagged as "bad."

Also...keep in mind the beginning of the game where Cloud makes Barrett pay him for his services and is a hired mercenary. You could say that Cloud is scalping him, but no one forces Barrett to pay for Cloud's help. If Cloud would have been too demanding, Barrett wouldn't have had a rational interest in paying him more than he was worth.

Also...keep in mind the fact that one of the "perks" of the game is being able to buy your own house in Costa del Sol for 300,000 gil. It isn't suggested that you should forsake luxury or material goods for the poor/charity/altruistic causes. In fact, you are given the option of buying this house and reaping the benefits of it (sleeping there for free and getting regenerated) along with the simple pride of saying "I scraped together 300,000 smackaroos and this house is MINE!".


I don't think that FFVII is anti-capitalist at all.

As far as the environmentalist thing? I think that is more symbolic than really a left agenda. The fact is, Barrett WAS a coal miner and if I recall right, the Cetra were nomadic farmers who used the land for their own benefit.

In fact, the search of the promised land requires the ability to hold values and seek them out. I think there are OODLES of good things about FFVII. I think you just have to think about it a lot instead of taking everything on a surface level.


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Railroad Tycoon was very good. In college when I had time, I pretty much finished the game. I think about picking up a recent update sometimes, just to see how the game matches economic reality (I analyze railroad stocks, among others).

I found Final Fantasy 7 to be intolerably long and boring. It was kind of interesting at first, but I didn't care for the characters, except for the pegleged girl (because she disliked the other characters about as much as I did). I found the "political" slants to be anti-corporate and environmentalist, but for the most part just reflecting mainstream muddled views. At some point, the battles became so difficult that I needed to use "knights of the round" repeatedly in battles, forcing me to watch a lengthy animation over and over, and so I decided that finishing the game wasn't worth watching that more.

I think Grand Theft Auto is a really boring game. I got partway through the first game, found the driving and aiming controls to be klunky, and had no interest in advancing the plot of the anonymous amoral thug I was supposed to represent. The whole cop-killer, gangster, anti-hero environment really de-motivated me, as I don't consider this kind of nihilism fun.

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I don't know if this belongs in here and I don't know if there are enough young people in here to know what I'm talking about.  However, now that I'm on Christmas break, I've gone into a video game playing binge.  I've been playing some of my all-time favorite games, like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VII.  I haven't played them in years and, now that I'm more educated, I'm starting to see how incredibly anti-Capitalist they are.  It kinda pisses me off, because I love these games and it bothers me to see how offensive they are to my world view.  Has anyone else noticed any games like this?  Are there any games which seem to promote individualism?

Yes, I have noticed that very same thing in those games and other Japanese RPG games. Try Fallout or Fallout 2 if you want something much much better (both in terms of being a game and not forcing you into altruism).

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I have to add my kudos for Diablo II as well. D2 is, and has been for a while, my favorite PC game (and I have been through a few of them). The company that makes D2 is Blizzard and they have a great track record for producing and supporting high quality games.

I had never been real interested in playing MMORPG's before, but when Blizzard recently released World of Warcraft, I had to give it a shot. They shot, they score! Another well designed game. Here you can be a solo adventurer fighting evil or you can easily band together with other players. Some of the quests are altruistic in nature, I wouldn't say it's rammed down your throat or anything. Parts of the game do require teamwork to complete, but teamwork isn't always a bad thing.

I have to agree with Inspector that the Fallout series is better than most from a philosophical perspective.

Tiger Woods 2005 is a game in which your competitive wins result in money earned. You use that money to buy nicer eqiupment, lessons to add to your shot reportoire, and to increase your physical attributes which improves your golfing. I would put this one in the good category, both philosophically and design/gameplay-wise.

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It seems like Western RPGs like Fallout and the Dungeon & Dragon video games seem to offer a lot more individuality, while Japanese RPGs tend to try and make a point. Sometimes its a grandslam hit (Final Fantast X) and sometimes it's complete trash.

That being said, Baldur's Gate 2 is arguably the best RPG ever made. Fallout was funnier and cooler in a way, but doesn't even approach the level of depth and character development that Baldur's Gate 2 did. Irenicus (the main bad dude in BG2) was a villian you could really hate, as he was trying to steal your soul. As mentioned before, you could play an altruistic Paladin, an Objectivist Wizard (since Intellegence is the prime requisite of a Wizard, it only seems natural, no? Perhaps a Kensai/Wizard dual class, the ultimate badass of the game) or an evil oppressive warrior.

The thing that bugs me about DnD though, is the concept of good and evil. Good connotates all sorts of altruistic themes like giving to the poor, sacrificing yourself, etc, whil being evil consists of murdering and enslaving people. Thankfully though, they have remedied this in their latest campaign setting, Eberron.

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That being said, Baldur's Gate 2 is arguably the best RPG ever made. Fallout was funnier and cooler in a way, but doesn't even approach the level of depth and character development that Baldur's Gate 2 did. Irenicus (the main bad dude in BG2) was a villian you could really hate, as he was trying to steal your soul. As mentioned before, you could play an altruistic Paladin, an Objectivist Wizard (since Intellegence is the prime requisite of a Wizard, it only seems natural, no? Perhaps a Kensai/Wizard dual class, the ultimate badass of the game) or an evil oppressive warrior.

I had a lot of fun playing BG2, my class of choice was a sorceror. Only downside is some aspects of the game were not as dynamic as they appeared. Random encounters during movement from one location to the next only occured early on in the game and after that, were non-existent. The only way to fix this is to download a mod(Tactics) but the ecounters were very frequent and annoying.

I can't stand Fallout 1 simply because it is way too easy, but Fallout 2 is great. :lol:

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Ah, video games. My specific area of expertise.

I love video games. No matter what their philosophy. I care more about how much entertainment they provide for me. If they make me grin, then it is a fair trade.

HALO and HALO 2 are big ones on my list. Absolutely in love with them. Something about the Spartan. He's a human. And he seems able to take on the world(s) by himself. And the gameplay is brilliant. Simply brilliant.


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I loved the FF's until X and X2: I didn't like the charlie's angels thing they had going on in them.

I loved Chrono Trigger and Cross.

My favorite RPG of all time, however, was XenoGears. Great, moving story, memorable characters, epic in scope, and, best of all, you destroy god. How'd you guys like Xenogears?

I agree with whoever said that you have to accept certain premises as metaphysical givens (assuming the existence of some kind of [life-force, chi, mana, fate], such and such would be moral . . .) before you see that these games are by and large very life-affirming, and their protagonists are heroic. That's not to say there isn't a bunch of nihilist trash out there like GTA. The difference is that the nihilist games are asking you to embrace something that is ethically evil based on the game's metaphysics.


Diablo I/II - premise - might, mana, magic, and monsters exist. Goal - use might, mana, and magic, to kill monsters ensuring the survival of man. Ethically good.

GTA - premise - exact replica of the real world. Goal - steal, kill to make money. Ethically evil.

Then again, even though GTA and its like may be ethically reprehensible, the mechanics of the games are fun . . .


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Tales of Symphonia has a anti-sacrificial message. Though at some parts it will promote the importance of the "heart" for the most part the message is anti-sacrifice.


A couple moments come to mind.... the hero constantly mentions that it is wrong for anyone to demand another to sacrifice thier life, no matter what end it would achive.

In one cutscene, one of my favorites, the wealthy aristocrat character(my favorite) asks a poor women why she left her child alone to walk the streets. She says she was trying to find a job, but nobody would hire her because she was filthy(since she did not have money to bathe). The child blames the aristocrat character saying that it's his responsability to give more to the poor. He replies saying that the child should be able to find work to help his mother support him, and that if he wasn't going to do all he can to help himself, then he should not ask for the help of others. The mother agrees. The scene ends when the aristocrat offers to the women to use his house to wash up and find a job.

Towards the end the professor is in a deadly trap, but urges the hero to hurry on to stop the vilan from dooming the world. He responds saying that he won't let anybody sacrifice themselves anymore. She responds saying that since she is dieing for her values, that without which her life would be without value, it is not a sacrifice.

The vilan's plan is to make everyone the same "lifeless beings" so that discrimination will dissapear.

*end spoilers*

All in all this game has to have the best message out of any game I played. I really suggest that anyone with a Gamecube and some spare time pick up a copy of this game.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just got an Xbox from christmas (and to add insult to the communists, I bought it from Wal-mart) and bought knights of the old Republic II. and I have to say that the internet geeks weren't exaggerating when they say the KOTOR series are among the best RPGs ever made. I mentioned this in a different thread, but your mentor talks like she is a child of Nietzsche. For example, she scolded me for giving money to a begger (I found value in it because it gave me XP) and she really does put alot of emphasis on self-determination and the utter rejection of altruism. furthermore, it is entirely possible to go through the entire game and only resort to violence in cases of self-defense. A great game, I highly recommend it

In my opinion, the best RPG maker out there right now is Bioware. Bioware has Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter nights, and Knights of the old Republic under it's belt. Square seems to be going downhill ever since their merger with Enix, though I will have to play FF12 to be certain. Ever since embracing Objectivism, I have found that I enjoy games that offer more autonomy to the player. Playing a Bioware game is like riding an ATV through an open field. Playing a Square/Enix game is like riding a car that is attached to a floor grid, you are technically driving, but you are really only going where the rail takes you.

Chrono Cross? ugh, if anything ever made me want to go on a nihilist rampage, it was that one. Crappy battle system, Crappy story, Crappy characters (do I really need 30+ characters, with only 3 of which serving any point to the story whatsoever?), I seriously hated this game, and hope that if they make a third Chrono game, they call Akira Toriyama back and make it more like Chrono Trigger (style-wise)

as for GTA, I admit it has all the philosophical seriousness of Fight Club, but I did find Aesthetic value in it.

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I liked KOTOR 1, for what it was; it made a fairly good representation of the modern ethical false dichotomy of "good" as altruism vs "evil" as irrational neitzcheistic egoism. But evil was at times satisfying. For instance, when an injured wookie cries out "help!" I was able to reply "why should I? What's in it for me?" :rolleyes: amusing, in certain contexts, especially as a contrast to square-type-games.

Playing a Square/Enix game is like riding a car that is attached to a floor grid, you are technically driving, but you are really only going where the rail takes you.

I noticed this many, many years ago. I once characterized their games as being:

Game: "Do you want to help out the injured bunny? (Y/N)"

Player: "N"

Game: "But it's soooo cute and helpless! Surely you want to help it! (Y/N)"

Player: "N"

Game: "But it's soooo cute and helpless! Surely you want to help it! (Y/N)"

(Repeat ad infinitum)

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I quit after some asshole hacked me and stole months of my work.

Hope that asshole wasn't me :(:P

I used to play D2 incessantly, especially when it was still a viable PVP game. The 1.06 patch era was the most balanced version of pvp, save a few glitches and hackings here and there. But with time and the inclusion of the expansion pack, the game's pvp ability diminished. :(

Then I moved to WC3--got to a decent solo level, but had to quit because 56k was too hard to micro anything. Few years down the road however, I got cable modem and bought the expansio pack for the game and became pretty insane at playing it--especially 2v2's.

I'd say D2 1.06 is the best game I've ever played--and probably will ever play. I tried WoW for kicks but wasn't too impressed. The $15/month is quite a deterrent.

Regardless though, I don't htink I'll ever seriously pick up a computer game again because they are too addicting and time consuming. After mastering WC3 TFT for 6 months or so, I realized how much my brains mental abilities had deteriorated, and I wasn't happy with that--so I forced myself to take the TFT CD in both hands, and crack it in half.

Nonetheless, it was one helluva way to break the addiction :)

Oh, and to rationalize GTA, just pretend as if you are sniping criminals rather than innocent pedestrians, and it all works out for the better

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Fallout and Fallout 2 are terrific games. Both put you in the role of an adventurer in an anarchic, post-apocalyptic USA (I believe the cause was nuclear war with China, but you may imagine it was the prime movers' withdrawal if you like :-D). In the first game, your goal is to stop a fanatical mystic from destroying what's left of civilization; in the second, you're seeking some sort of agricultural technology to save your village - a Drexlerian/Star Trek type food assembler IIRC. [Keep in mind that these games are relatively old, so the presentation is very primitive compared to what's in the "New Releases" sections of stores now; not for everyone]

Deus Ex is another game that comes to mind. It's also a little dated, having been released in 2000. In this game, you play a sort of Steve Austin (the bionic one)/James Bond government agent who uncovers a web of corruption. The plot of this game amounts to the idea "what if every conspiracy theory were true," which you may or may not find amusing. It's reminiscent of the Illuminatus! novels, as well as the TV show The Lone Gunmen. I only recommend the original; I found the sequel disappointing.

Another RPG from that era was Planescape: Torment, which is legendary among gamers for its complex and engaging storyline. Like the already-mentioned Knights of the Old Republic, the moral choices you make during the game determine who your character evolves into. Unlike that game, though, combat is mostly auxiliary to Torment. Your ultimate goal isn't to defeat a boss monster, it's to discover your own nature. I highly recommend this game - just writing about it is giving me the urge to reinstall it! Be aware however that, for a game, this one has an enormous amount of dialogue and text. Having been weaned on Infocom, this wasn't a problem for me... but it does turn some people off. "Caveat emptor."

More recently, there's been Half-Life 2 which puts you in the role of Gordon Freeman, a mild-mannered physicist(!) who must run and gun against another sort of Big Brother, totalitarian government. This is a great game - innovative, exciting, immersive and intense. It's a breath of fresh air from the typical shooters - but after 6 years in development, I'd expect no less.

There's also the Railroad Tycoon series of games, if you ever wanted to run Taggart Transcontinental... :D

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  • 3 weeks later...

My favorite game is without a doubt Chrono Cross. Aside from excellent graphics and incredible music, I enjoyed the "free will vs. fate" theme of the game. FF7 is also a good game, and from what I've read here, a lot of people agree with me. :P


One thing I hate though, is the amount of people who argue that Aeris is supposed to be a martyr who willingly sacrificed herself for the planet. Considering the evidence suggesting that she had no intention of deliberately offering her life to save everyone else, I think her death was nothing more than a terrible tragedy. I mean, she cheers up the group by saying things like, "one day, we'll all look back at these times and laugh", she obviously was seeking a future with Cloud. Plus, her last line in the game was "I'll come back when it's all over,". Yes, her death plays a key part in the game's ending when she summons the lifestream, but that was only because I think "Holy" got screwed up when she was killed.

To sum it up, I hate the way people constantly paint her as a selfless altruist, when she clearly was not that at all.


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I think KOTOR ( Knights of the Old Republic ) and Kotor II are two of the finest games available. You can play as an Objectivist if you want to, not many games let you do that. Another good one I didn't see mentioned was Deus Ex Invisible War.

Other good ones are:

Chronicles of Riddick


Halo or Halo 2

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I agree to an extent with most of the game selections here, but I'll add a few more (dated) games that I really enjoyed.

Arcanum an 1880's steampunk/magic crossover game with an interesting plot. Unfortunately it's a bit buggy. I had to buy the hint book to figure out what happened to one of the NPC's because the plot thread didn't trigger correctly. Edit: if you play the game and have that precise problem I'll help you out; I really don't think there's any other way to get past that error.

Drakan Tomb Raider meets Dragon Strike. I liked this game tremendously because the scenery was beautiful and the ground combat was interesting. The mobs would usually startle you by doing something surprisingly effective or funny, like using their shields. There is a sequel out but only for PS2.

Gothic and Gothic II I loved these games, again, because of the scenery and because you could go absolutely everywhere if you were so inclined. The games are pretty non-linear until you get to the very end. The people in the games do things like sleep and fix their houses, they wander up and talk to you, they react to what you do very convincingly . . . it's excellent. You don't have to read very much if you don't want to, either; all the conversations are voice acted on BOTH ends, you can turn the subtitles off entirely if you are so inclined.

That's all for now.

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I have discovered the most Objectivist video game ever made, bar none. The best part is that every single person with a computer has it. That game is minesweeper. Minesweeper is great, every time you get a number, that is a constant of nature, a fact. If it says there is 2 mines next to the block, then there are two mines, regardless of your wishes or desires. Your goal is to percieve reality and act accordingly. Everytime you click a box you are making a statement; that being that you believe there is no mine on the box. If there is a box, your premise is contradictory with another block, then you fail. If you encounter a contradiction, check your premise, because it is you who is wrong, not nature.

No other game is more consistent with the Objectivist view of nature than Minesweeper. It beats that wussy solitare any day :D

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think a variety of my very favourite games have already been mentioned so far:

Fallout 1&2

Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Chrono Trigger

Phantasy Star 4 (Ill add 3, since I passed about that often)

Planescape: Torment (The most philosophical of the Black Isle releases)

BG 1&2 (although both were too linear by comparison to Fallout, & c.)


Xenogears (One of the most epic games Ive ever played, centered on a great storyline... and, as has already been mentioned, you get to kill God)

Deus Ex

Half Life 1&2 (replay HL1 if you have to, its still a very good game).

Arcanum (Ill add this due to the fact that I enjoyed some aspects, but technically, this game was a disaster)

Any of the Tycoon games

Any of the Civ games (including Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, just for being able to title a city: Morgan Enterprises, and not have it be out of character with the personality youre playing)

As is obvious, I was never a big fan of Japanese RPGs. Lack of choices never helped. Similarly, the hack n' slash boredom of Diablo 1 & 2, never appealed to me, no more than GTA would.

Games that didnt make the list, that Id like to push:

Morrowind (Morrowind! Morrowind!)

-Massive world, numerous factions, and an excellent sense of exploration.

Metroid Prime, Metroid Prime 2

-Just you and reality. Not to mention the technical pre-eminence, these games had an interesting storyline, a feeling of exploration and actual usefulness of observation.

Resident Evil 4

-Non-stop suspense and action, where a somewhat flashy American special agent fights to save the president's daughter. This game really makes you feel like youre fighting something despicabale and evil... and no more of that survival-horror strain. :)

System Shock 2

-Old horror/sci-fi FPS with a great atmosphere of science and survival. The ending is aweful, but that wont ever end the satisfaction of braining a collectivist zombie (Im being literal) with a large wrench.

C&C: Generals

-Kill Terrorists or Chinese using the US army. I shrug and ask myself why play anything else?

Ghost Recon 1&2

-The dangerous world of a rangers (or Land Warroir program) special force team dropped behind enemy lines to perform strategical sabbotage, and other missions. The one-hit, one-kill rationale gives this game a tactical-intellectual focus, where properly positioning and managing your squads is as important as accuracy...

And you get to kill Russian Nationalists...

Once again, why play anything else?

Good day.

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I have been meaning to ask about this game. I have always wanted to try this game, but I do not want to buy it unless I know I can expect a good game. How does it play compared to Fallout? or Baldur's Gate?


Civ3 is one of those games that makes little sense, but is very addicting to play. It's very limited in some aspects, unnecessarily long in others. Why does it take me 300 years to wage a war with tanks? units do not move fast enough per turn. I wish they'd make the turns slower, like, half or quarter year turns or something. I also don't like the government system. "democracy or communism"? how limiting.

Heres to hoping Civ4 will actually break more ground than that. As good as civ3 was, all it really was was a glorified Civ2.

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I have been meaning to ask about this game. I have always wanted to try this game, but I do not want to buy it unless I know I can expect a good game. How does it play compared to Fallout? or Baldur's Gate?

Well, I really enjoyed Arcanum but I have a reputation among my gamer friends for liking games no one else likes.

Quality-wise I'd say it falls roughly between Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn. It plays MUCH better than either of the Fallout games.

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