For someone who spends a great deal of her time writing at a site with the word “spite” in its name, I tend to be awfully nice when I’m playing video games. I mean, you won’t usually find me running over hookers in GTA (actually, I try to obey all traffic laws), I side with the good guys whenever possible, and I generally prefer that my kingdoms not be wretched hives of scum and villainy. Actually, I’m kind of a sucker for justice. It just feels better.
And yet, here I am trying to rationalize to myself why on Earth I seem to prefer the Principality of Zeon to the Earth forces in Gundam Battle Universe. I mean, sure, Zakus are extraordinarily cute (yes, cute), and it’s hard to deny that Zeon has the better uniforms, but they’re also dictatorial, occasionally genocidal spacenoids. The bad guys. And yet, I was immensely relieved to be back behind the controls of a Zaku after going over to the AEUG for a good portion of the game. Flying wing with the Red Comet makes all the difference in the world, I guess.
There are other sides to it though. Mostly, I tend to be a serious roleplayer when my character is a player avatar, and when asked to choose between Zeon and Earth, my latent anti-Earth tendencies apparently came to the fore. And I was more than happy to rationalize that decision with, “Okay, I really admire Char and Gato, and right now I’m defending my home in the colones.” Yes, “defending my home in the colonies” ultimately meant “trying to obliterate the earth.” But hey, I’m flexible. I’ve settled comfortably into those nebulous shades of grey.
And thinking on it, it’s actually kind of a nice place to be. When making “moral decisions,” so many games force you down the binary path of good vs. utter bastardry that it’s a relief to be able to justify my actions in my own mind, even if most of GBU’s morality comes out of my knowledge of the source material. What it does is kind of make me want to check out Fallout 3 or Mass Effect and see how I would do as a mercenary with a heart of gold. I’ll bet I would make a wonderful Han Solo, right up until I found myself in a bad mood and nuked that town in Fallout 3. Sheesh, maybe I’m more cut out for this whole evil thing than I realized.