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    will89's Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PC)

    [January 18, 2018 09:09:43 AM]
    For my final play session of Shadow of Mordor, I continued the main story quests and aided the rebels. They were trying to obtain explosive powders to use against the orcs. I was quickly reminded of an interview I watched with an ex-CIA operative said in regards to the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars. She said that insurgents think of themselves as the Rebel Alliance fighting the Empire. They often compare the US to the Empire. While there are drastic differences between our country and tyrannical hegemony, others outside the US might not see it this way.
    Shadow of Mordor’s rebel groups reminded me of this and made me think of it in a similar light. I also wondered whether it had the same effect as Star Wars on US citizens and non-citizens. Do US players play through the game without any consideration as to similarities and just capitalize on the feelings of vicarious glory? Are non-citizens playing the game and thinking of the orcs as the US and themselves as the rebels, rallying to overthrow them? The game likely would not have the success it did if the term “rebels” had been replaced with “insurgents.”
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    [January 17, 2018 10:09:44 AM]
    For my second play session, I delved into some of the side quests available in the game. Those I ended up playing revolved around freeing slaves and captives, both orcs and humans. This reminded of John Brown and his actions as an abolitionist. I found it really cool to have the ability to free slaves and fight alongside them for a greater cause. The developers even went farther than just freeing slaves, and having arcs built around this.
    I hope to see this in future games as it gave a sense of pride. This pride came slightly from freeing the slaves, but more when I realized it was similar to the history of the United States. These actions also illustrated a mental picture on what might have happened during the events leading up to the civil war. By this, I mean missions could have paralleled those encountered in the game. An example would be freeing slaves, then overthrowing a war chief. This could have been similar to freeing slaves and overthrowing the plantation owner or something of the like.
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    [January 16, 2018 11:43:18 AM]
    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 Talion’s 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 Talion’s family killed. If they had waited and built the connection with the two more, would it have a more disastrous effect on the player’s 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 isn’t until the adrenaline from a fight wears off, and the dead are examined that a range of negative emotions flood the killer. The game doesn’t 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 person’s 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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    Status

    will89's Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PC)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Tuesday 9 January, 2018

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