The Lure of the RPG


A week ago, I had dinner with a friend who used to be my ethics professor during my undergraduate years. He shared that he team-taught a course in the computer science department of the university on Game Design, where he tackled fundamental ethical theories on plot and character development. I have yet to study the syllabus he used.

Probably the best (and most appropriate) gaming category to apply the aforementioned theories to would be console role-playing games. To give the uninitiated an example, the Final Fantasy series are categorized as such. The difference between console RPGs and traditional ones primarily lies in the former’s inclination towards a more defined storyline and preset characters with pre-existing personalities, backgrounds, and appearances.

I have been playing video games for the past eighteen years — from the comely Family Computer to the hardy Playstation consoles, Recently, priorities rendered me unable to play; however, the experience is just the same if you just co-pilot with a willing player (a.k.a. my brother).

It could be the writer in me that finds delight (or novelty) in the character and plot developments in each console role-playing game we play. To be honest, there are quite a handful of compelling, well-written storylines, with complex characters worth studying.

Why incorporate ethical theory in plot and character study? Well, we’ll save that for the next entry.


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