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    Feb 13th, 2018 at 21:55:39     -    1979 Revolution (iPd)

    Today, things got very interesting.

    The main character has been welcomed (see: coerced) into the resistance because of his photography skills. Abbas, one of the important leaders of the group was stabbed during a photo-shoot minigame and he insists that my films have captured who betrayed him. I am inept enough at this game that I messed up the film development and could not pin down a subject. Yet, Abbas still asked me to accuse a man. I chose Jafar because he had done nothing but attack and insult my character.

    Most importantly, there was not a "I do not know" option here. I had to pick a suspect, and they would obviously be hurt or killed. I later learned that my pick, Jafar, was innocent--found beaten to death in a shallow grave barely covering his bloodied face. This felt very real, and yet I saw it coming at the same time. This was a quick, uneducated decision I had to make, and I faced consequences. Today during class (2/13), we brought up the value of a human life. In this case, each life of the accused had the ability to be ended by the tap of my finger.

    The interrogator at Evin prison (where my character is while he is not flashing back to previous events) mentions this. He says that he and my character are both the same. That we are both killers. I answered negatively, saying that I had not killed anyone. Then he showed me the picture of Jafar's body. This made me consider killing from another perspective. While I was not the one who killed Jafar, my actions clearly lead to his death. Is this enough to hold my character accountable? I believe it is, in this case.

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    Feb 11th, 2018 at 14:39:44     -    1979 Revolution (iPd)

    I played four more chapters of the game today, only expecting to play three-- this is a very interesting game to play. Quite a lot happened that I will not go into, as I will be focusing on in game ethical issues. While I do not know the exact scope of interactivity when it comes to dialogue options affecting gameplay, I have had a lot of opportunities to be violent in game, which characters have remembered and brought up with me.

    The first instance of violence came up as a street protest turned violent after the main character's cousin instigated violence with the Shah's soldiers by throwing rocks. He then pressed a rock into my character's hand and asked if "I wanted to make a real change". Dialogue options are fast paced and sometimes difficult to choose due to distracting voice acting or background noise. Several times I had the chance to throw this rock: my cousin brought up the argument that the soldiers had the choice to follow orders or not, while my friend argued that they needed to carry out orders in order to be paid and support their families. This was an example of a false dilemma argument, that there can only be /this/ or /that/ and no other reasons or choices in between. While I believe neither my friend or cousin was entirely correct, I do try to follow a practice of nonviolence as closely as I can. I found the nonviolent motives of the protest to be something I resonated with, so I sided with my friend.

    The same friend later brought up another interesting argument when taking the main character to see some protestors at their headquarters. He said "At some point you have to pick a side, Reza." This was interesting to me. I wonder if I have played in a way that has kept my character choices neutral, or this is simply a line that is spoken in any instance.

    Another character, an interrogator at the prison where I have been caught later in the game (it is played through flashbacks) mentions that we both have different causes, and his is the just one. I think this is a case where relativism comes into play. There are many different sides to this revolution, but part of the reason it is so volatile is that these sides cannot see through a relativistic lens to realize that one's own cause is not special simply because it is theirs.

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    Feb 10th, 2018 at 16:29:05     -    1979 Revolution (iPd)

    Before I began playing 1979 Revolution, I was immediately drawn to the high reviews for the game. For such a dark topic, the reviews reflected that the developers overcame a potentially difficult topic to cover in a game. Upon playing, it was clear to me why the game received high praise. Even though the topic is not one I am familiar with, the character building, settings, and dialogue littered with explanations to why the character I am playing as is treated as a terrorist.

    For some context, here is what I have learned from my first three chapters of gameplay: Iran is in a tumultuous political reform, recovering from a monarchic regime, and is swept by protests. The main character is a photographer whose friends are part of the protests. The story is nonlinear, revolving around flashbacks while the main character is being interrogated for crimes against the government.

    So far, I feel this game could have very similar ethical issues to Super Columbine Massacre RPG! it is based off of real events, and even shows real, sometimes graphic pictures of protests, real people who have been injured in said protests. This is no different than the situation in the Columbine game: is depicting these real events in a 'game' setting something that should be done for the sake of creating a dialogue about the events? I think in this case, it is effective in opening a dialogue for players like me who know little to nothing about the political history of Iran. By offering actual pictures to match the pictures taken in the photography minigame and detailing what actually happened at these events brings a strong documentary aspect to the game that I feel validates having such shocking gameplay at times.

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    Jan 18th, 2018 at 08:51:05     -    Prison Architect (PC)

    Today I continued on the campaign mode of Prison Architect and was faced with somewhat different circumstances this time. The kitchen caught fire and my inmates were not able to eat for a day or so. The CEO who serves as somewhat of a tutorial character informed me to first hire more guards after the fire was extinguished. This surprised me. I could have started building a new kitchen and dining area right away to make sure that the inmates were fed and then hired guards, but the game forced me to instead make sure that security was priority. After I figured out how to deploy guards, my prisoners were already very unhappy.

    So far, Prison Architect has suggested comfort first for the prisoners. The CEO often mentions installing a nicer floor, or maybe some windows in the buildings I'm making. This was the first decision in game (aside from putting a prisoner to death, which is obviously not a comfortable thing to do) that made me wonder if this was a decision real prison overseers had to make.

    Aside from the fire happening, two inmates are now squabbling over wether or not they will inherit the family business of running a gang. There's also reasonable suspicion that their sister is bringing in narcotics. There's not much reason given for me to feel bad for these particular prisoners, but I still do. They ran large, hard drug rings, which in my eyes is a good reason to be jailed. I'm more concerned with the standard of living they'll be having at my prison. The CEO left me with a decision to make today--I could work with the prisoners' needs, or disregard them and assume total control.

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