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    Jan 16th, 2018 at 11:43:18     -    Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PC)

    Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, while pleasing to in many aspects, contains several ethical dilemmas that may cause some to put down the game before even progressing past the first 20 minutes. The protagonist, Talion, is introduced in an enigmatic realm between life and death. There are bodies surrounding him, and blood trickling from their fresh corpses. If the player isn't squeamish around blood and continues to play, the game builds a bond between the protagonist and his wife and son. It is only minutes into the game when all three are captured. Here, the player is introduced to a very graphic scene.
    The enemy has captured all three and makes a blood sacrifice of each of them. To build the Talionís motivation, flavor, and emotional ties with the player, the developers have the orcs kill off his son, wife, and then him. Talion pleads with the enemy before they slit each throat, but no mercy comes to his avail. While the game does not show flesh opening, this game could be a lot for the mind to handle. Another note of interest is how quickly the developers have Talionís family killed. If they had waited and built the connection with the two more, would it have a more disastrous effect on the playerís mind?
    Shadow of Mordor is soaked in violence. It is easy for the player to feed their bloodlust, if any, because they are killing another species, orcs. If these were humans getting killed, there might be a feeling of guilt with each death and the polished graphics could add this. While not directly translatable, Lieutenant Colonel (retired) David Grossman highlights how in reality people enjoying killing. It isnít until the adrenaline from a fight wears off, and the dead are examined that a range of negative emotions flood the killer. The game doesnít favor examining faces and other parts from a first person view, the closest is the over-the-shoulder ranged mode, but this could have a detrimental effect if the enemies were human. On Killing details how a personís empathy creates guilt after a kill. It is difficult to find the likeliness between human and orc, but other games utilize humans as enemies. These games require the player to differentiate between reality and the game or the player could be overwhelmed with guilt.
    After doing some research on the game, I found the game had done sponsored advertising without announcing it had done such. While there has been controversy whether game reviews have a significant effect on the sales of games, the positive reviews could have only bolstered its sales. The developer, Monolith, ended up being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission who found Warner Brothers Home Entertainment violated the Federal Trade Commission Act. They received a slap on the wrist judgment and were told they had to mention their sponsor advertising in the future.

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