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    Feb 20th, 2017 at 23:05:19     -    Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PS4)

    Shadow of Mordor, PS4, February 20th, 2017, 6:47-8:34 (1 hour 47 minutes)
    On this playthrough I simply did one mission and I used it’s open world to learn new game mechanics. The mission I did was to find more about Talion’s past and to learn about Sauron’s army. I started out by actually freeing an orc, Ratbag the Coward, from being imprisoned. Through a win-win scenario, the game eventually has the two of you team up. This world pits you against killing this species so much that there are even mini games where you have to kill as many ureks as you can until the time runs out. Why, then, is one of these orcs able to be all buddy buddy with you, if he is inherently evil? Why does Ratbag the Coward get special treatment while other orcs are treated as simple obstacles? Is it ethical to kill these orcs if you are friends with one of them? What if they are good, and their intent is like Ratbag where they aren’t fighting solely for Sauron, why does the game blindly pit these people on you. After that mission, I messed around in the open world of Middle-Earth. I learned of a mechanic that makes this game very unique-- When you die or when you kill a captain, several Ureks take their place, making them all stronger. Is it an ethical decision to kill these captains because it gets you closer to stopping Sauron, or are you causing more pain in the world? Looking at this from a Utilitarian perspective, the decision to kill these captains is a bad idea because in the end more captains are waiting to take their place and they all get stronger. The only way I could see this work in this framework is if Talion actually does stop Sauron through getting stronger by killing captains. Stopping Sauron is a daunting task, and if you use the LOTR series, you see that Talion is definitely not the one that stops Sauron. Does Talion help enough in the cause against Sauron for his escalation of Evil to be worth it, or does this narrative make all of his actions pointless? The end is what is emphasized in a Utilitarian framework, so all of this evil he is directly bringing into the world needs to be less than the evil he ends up taking out in the end of his journey. In a Kantian perspective, Talion is doing everything he can, and the outcome isn’t up to him. Other than Ratbag and for self-defense reasons, this game world incentivizes killing ureks, and it is impossible to play as a pacifist in this game. Talion killing these captains is still killing Sauron’s captains, and it isn’t his fault that other captains might benefit from that interaction. Talions intentions are good in this game, he wants peace for middle earth, but the necessary game mechanics. might actually create a worse situation for the world.

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    Feb 19th, 2017 at 20:42:58     -    Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PS4)

    Shadow of Mordor, PS4, February 19th, 2017, 4:39-5:41 (1 hour 2 minutes)
    It opens on a man, Talion, and he is teaching his son how to fight Sauron’s army. His efforts against Sauron ends up destroying his family, and his son’s and wife’s throats are cut. Could his open fighting of this cause his family to be killed? Should he have fought for his family, or for his people and the reign of Sauron? His wife makes it clear that she is okay in dying for a cause like Sauron. The gameplay is also centered around killing Uruks, orc like creatures. They are combative, but you can move through the game without killing all of them. Are they worth as much as human life? Who is the actual good side? Why not attack the source, not the pawns? We ended up interrogating an uruk and killing him for information. If we have to kill these people to end Sauron, is using a game mechanic like this very ethical? A different gameplay mechanic is the use of grabbing them and dragging them around. Is this an inhumane way to fight someone? Another mission I went through was to hunt down Gollum. He was innocently walking along, and we had to hunt him down and stalk him. Eventually he was forced into helping us find Sauron’s servants. They threatened him, even though he did nothing wrong. Are the means that Talion takes to stop Sauron justified by the end? Will he even succeed? If he doesn’t succeed, his actions could be seen as unethical. If he does, by a Utilitarian perspective, he was acting ethically.

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    Jan 21st, 2017 at 21:30:12     -    The Last of Us Remastered (PS4)

    The Last Of Us, PS4, Game Log January 21st, 7:35-8:08 (33 minutes)

    I fought a few more of Robert’s men and then finally caught him and ended him. The woman tortured him in order to get an answer out of him, and then shot him. They followed a firefly and I assisted in killing some more men before I stopped. This section taught me about being stealthy, in order to save bullets and cause little noise. I would creep up on these men, sometimes by diverting them, and then strangle them or shiv them. Is it unfair for me to do this, by not giving these men a fighting chance and just tricking them? I mentioned this last time, but I really gave it a second thought if it is very ethical to slowly strangle them, hit them with bricks, or another method, rather than ending their misery slowly. Something that the woman did that I wish the player had the choice in was the decision to torture and then kill Robert. This choice could make the game more dynamic and worth contemplation. A common practice seen as usually unethical is the physical torture of someone to get information from them. Should you spare them, kill them, or not even torture him at all? Is the moral framework in the game world say that in these circumstances, or it is simply a “dog eat dog world”? After that, we talked with the supposed queen of the fireflies, and attempted to negotiate a deal for them to help her in breaking the law and smuggling something out of the city. I don’t even know who the fireflies as a player, so should I trust them? Are they the “bad side” or are they simply a side where the government is the aforementioned “bad side”? Why should I help them, for personal gain or gain from them? Is smuggling this item going to be harmful to other people, and do they matter?

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    Jan 21st, 2017 at 00:44:56     -    The Last of Us Remastered (PS4)

    The Last Of Us, PS4, Game Log January 20th, 10:50-11:22 (32 minutes)

    This session of game had myself and the woman attempt to find this “Robert” to “deal with him”. We took a bit of a shortcut through secret tunnels to find a market like area, where I eventually killed a few infected and some men working for Robert on the way. A few things had me questioning the ethical implications that the developers were trying to instill on the player. The first thing that could be seen as unethical is the premise of the mission, them using a shortcut that the government has most-likely seen as illegal. Using the principle of legality, the player is forced into doing something bad, even if it is good if they are using it as self-defense. The player also takes the self-defense to another level by killing infected and men along the way to get even with just one person. The men were not being threatening, they were just following orders. If it wasn’t even just to go on this journey, the character’s decision to find Robert through a shortcut could be seen as unethical. In my journey to where Robert supposedly is, I came upon a “spore room”. One man had become infected, and he pleaded me to shoot him. This was quite literally “assisted suicide” in an apocalyptic world. I really didn’t want to be the one to pull the trigger, but the struggling was quite traumatic. The game never taught me how to shoot a gun until this point, so the game was basically treating this infected person as a tutorial, instead of a grave decision. I attempted to see what would happen if I let the man live, but the game made it clear that I was the one to kill him in order to progress. I shot him in the head in the end, and I wasn’t sure if his blood was on my hands or not, because he might’ve not been infected yet. After shooting him, I was thrust into a room full of infected people. I had about a magazine in my gun, so I had enough to finish them all. The game is very careful in not giving the player very much ammo, so the woman I was with encouraged me to sneak up behind the person and strangle them to death. Can these infected still feel, and if they can, should I be taking that into consideration? Is there life worthless because of who they are that their pain is negligent to the situation? Should I opt for shooting them in the head for instant death, slowly strangling them, or should I attempt to avoid them and let them live as they were?

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    1Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PS4)Playing
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    3The Talos Principle (PS4)Playing


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