I was playing Half Life 2 on my new laptop (he’s called Mr Blonde – that’s him below, except he’s orange topped not pink) the other evening and I had an epiphany of sorts. Not that you can have an epiphany whilst eating digestive biscuits and drinking cold coffee but you know what I mean…
Games by their very nature put you in a different role – making you someone other than who you really are (barring Brain Training, Nintendogs or abstract stuff like Rez). However, they can never really take away ‘you’. So whilst a person might revel in darkness in Black and White or Fable (or Oblivion), it is probably just a facet of their character they normally don’t get to explore. The following experience proves such an incidence.
Picture the scene. I’m running up the stairs, there’s unknown government agents after me, obviously wanting to hurt me in sharp-pointy-stick ways. A scared couple are cowering and a dictator is on TV (wait for it, here’s the epiphany) and I grab it. I throw the TV out of the window, still turned on. Suddenly, I am torn.
Yes, that was an experience right near the beginning from the game Half Life 2. However, my own actions brought me out of the game. That action of throwing the TV in a virtual world – albeit a realistic, interactive one – made Gordon Freeman and I two again. You see, in real life I’m a pretty neat-and-tidy sort of guy. Everything has its’ place and all that. Gordon and I have had our first moment of cognitive dissonance right then. I would have wanted the gravity gun to tidy up, to bring the TV back in place. Instead, I went and made a mess!
I have indeed played all the way through Half Life 2 before, but I guess I didn’t really take into account such things, and almost went through it as a ‘zombie’ – a slave to the newness and graphics. I can now appreciate more of what’s going on now that I’ve been through it. So how about you? With freedom do you play ‘yourself’ or is it a different part of your character that is unleashed? Do you prefer to do what ‘you’ would do or does the freeform gaming environment allow you to run wild?