Observations In Gaming

I got a guy to like me yesterday. 

We were doing the usual things and I wanted him to really like me. I heard good stuff happens if you get people to like you. Getting his affection was happening too slow, so I did something I normally wouldn’t.

I drugged him.

After the drugging his affection for me increased exponentially. We even had a nice little chat. He didn’t seem to mind being drugged, which made my guilt even worse. 

This guy’s name is Jude Mathis. He’s a character in Tales of Xillia and its sequel. It was in the sequel that the drugging happened. I gave him friendship potions and it didn’t even seem to bother him. It bothered me a lot, though. I realized something about myself: I think about the most minor details of games far too much. I found myself thinking about this thing that sounds so simple, but in practice has horrifying consequences.

I focused my attention on Jude for a simple reason: He’s cute, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him and Xillia 2’s protagonist rolling around somewhere, preferably without clothing. Most people will get squicked out by that, I know, but we all like what we like. After drugging Jude, I couldn’t help but wonder: what if I’d used those friendship potions on female party member Leia? Or Milla? How would that have sounded, then? 

Games that have a mechanic that let you drug your party members into liking you seem innocent enough. In most cases, you do something genuinely nice for that character. Pokemon lets you massage your pokemon once per day, which is a nice thing to do. It provides a valid reason for your pokemon to gain affection for you. Star Wars: The Old Republic allowed you to buy your companions gifts to win their affection. 

Those are all okay. You’re doing something nice for that character, so it stands to reason that they’d like you more for it. 

It was different with Jude, though. As I used those potions, I imagined the ways in which Ludger was getting Jude to drink them. Perhaps it was mixed in with another drink. Maybe they’re actually pretty good drinks in their own right and Jude didn’t mind drinking them on his own.

What if Ludger was forcing those potions down Jude’s throat?

Affection from a potion, not from an act of kindness, has that sort of vibe. It feels all kinds of date-rapey and not very honest. I wish this system had been implemented in a way that didn’t drag out these sorts of impressions. After the sixth potion, Jude initiated a private skit with Ludger (aka me, the player) and told me how much he was growing to appreciate me. I wish I could take those potions back. That convo made me feel even worse.

Next playthrough, if my attention span holds out, I’m going drug-free. Those friendship potions are going into a salesperson’s inventory (might as well get some gald for that hefty debt the game throws at you, am I right?) I’ll win Jude’s affection the hard way, by agreeing with him, fighting at his side, and making sure monsters don’t mess up his pretty face.

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Posting is good, yes.

So much for getting on a schedule, right?

I have absolutely no excuse for not posting the past two weeks. It was laziness on my part, yes. I apologize for that, and with that done, let’s move onto the actual topic of conversation.

This time, it’s a post about writing. Gasp. Shock.

While I was writing Trust, I noticed a juxtaposition between my belief system and my main character’s – specifically, about how one thinks of a fetus. This is going to be a controversial topic, but not discussing it won’t make it go away. So, onward.

One major plot point of Trust is that there is a fetus involved – I won’t say how it applies to the story or who it applies to. Just know that one exists. The character in question was pregnant, and while I was in her head writing, I could feel her emotions about this baby. She loved it dearly even before it was born, and it was a feeling that shocked me. I mean, I get that women get pregnant – it’s a major fear for me. My feelings on the matter are rather more ambivalent – a fetus is a fetus until it pops out and breathes. Only then is it a baby. To have this character thinking of a fetus as an already-breathing creature was a major culture shock for me.

It also made me realize that this is a strength in writing.

Not every character will share the author’s feelings and beliefs. If that happens, the book becomes one-dimensional and flat. A strong story thrives not only on a plot – it survives based on the strength of its characters as well. By having this character with feelings the exact opposite of myself, my mind was opened in a way it hadn’t been before. In real life I liked to think of myself as a person who could see many sides of an issue, but things like this always left me baffled. The facts always seemed to lead up to only one conclusion, but now I see that other side of this issue. I see now how people could object to a certain thing involving fetuses that I shan’t mention. It doesn’t change my opinion on the matter, but it does give me greater insight into the opposing viewpoint.

Trust is coming along nicely – the characters are talking to me again and so I’m getting some good writing done. Now that I can get into everyone’s head again, I expect to have it done soon. Soon, however, is a non-specific statement of time, so who knows how long until soon comes around.

One week, however, is quite specific. I shall see you all again then.