I'm a good person. I pay my taxes early, I hold doors for people, I (try to) genuinely care about other people's problems. I don't like physical confrontations, I like it when people smile. My humor is a dash of self-deprecation with a hint of impish charm. Let's face it - I'm a boring human being if conflict is what you're looking for. Reality show producers would take one look at me and say, "yeah, maybe." After taking one listen to me, they'd show me the door. "Thank you, maybe."
When playing video games, I'm equally boring. I'm the good guy in games. The paladin! (not the kind who kills his father, betrays his entire kingdom and becomes the evil, undead ruler of ice), The knight in shining armor! The one who holds doors for people. Who cares about other people's problems. NPC missing a sheep? No problem, I'm on it! Nope, don't care about the reward! No exp, money or items as rewards? Sorry ma'am, I'm already sprinting across the field after your sheep. Your slightly altered dialogue post-quest completion is more than enough for me. Just the satisfaction of helping those in need is all I need. I shudder at the notion of, *gulp* killing innocents in games. Jedi or Si...Jedi. Always Jedi.
My friends find it quite boring. During 2nd year of University, when Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic took over our lives, it wasn't my room that several bystanders were crowded into, watching my every decision. No, that honor belonged to the few in the residence who a) got the game early and b) decided to be as purely evil as possible. Murder innocents? Show me where they reside. Betray friends? Pfff, they're not even real. They don't compare to the hilarious satisfcation I'll get from the shocked voice actor, condeming my decision to sell a 14 year old girl into slavery or convincing a party member to kill another party member. Did I mention the 2 party members in question were extremely close personally?
I confess all this, because I want you to know how much of a curveball I threw myself in a game of Age of Empires 2 many years ago. It was easily one of my most treacherous, despicable acts in gaming. And what made it worse was my transgression wasn't against an NPC. Or the Jedi council, or the local mayor, or a saintly dragon. This act went against my core principles of being a friend in real life: loyalty and trust. That day, I sacrificed them both for a single second of diablocal lust. I surprised myself. I still do, looking back on it.
It was a 3 player, online match of Age of Empires 2. The mode was regicide - the main goal wasn't to cripple your enemy's army, destroy all their buildings/peasants (although, that's a good tactic in any mode), but rather to eliminate a single unit - the King. A tiny, weak unit that could be easily taken out. But if properly fortified or hidden, he becomes a dastardly pawn in a three way game of chaotic chess. I was playing against 2 of my very closest friends, Francis and Dobson.
Whether they didn't trust each other, or whether they trusted me more, I was approached mid-game by each to team up with them, making it an improvised 2 on 1 match, and almost certain victory for me either way. What started as a Melee-a-trois now turned into a psychological game of poker. I typed to each frantically trying to dissuade each other, to keep on playing. Come on, fair is fair. Let's just play to the last man. NO, come on dude! I have to go soon. Let's just make this quick.
Thankfully, I delayed them each long enough for one of them to take action without my intervention. Dobson attacked Francis with a simple strategy; charge the gates. Would Francis' gate hold? Not likely - he'd forgotten to mine enough stone, so his gate only covered half his entrance. Not being the polite type, Dobson strolled around the half-wall and half-destroyed his town. Shortly afterward, he destroyed the other half of his town.
Sensing destruction was imminent, Francis fled to his only other option - me. I could see a tiny icon waddling his way towards my gate (completed, as long as my stupid villagers didn't chop enough wood to create a backdoor for Dobson) and messaged me frantically to let him in. Be allies with him. He'd give me all the resources I'd need to conquer Dobson, and win the game. Wanting to show some sense of mercy, I immediately became allies with Francis the Temporarily Defeated and escorted his king into my suitably placed castle.
And there he sat for another 15 minutes or so. Dobson was licking what wounds he had and expanded his expanding empire. Wood, food, gold and stone were piling up for both of us. I would take the role of turtle, and attempt to defend with all my might while our 2 kings watched from the crowded castle. I wonder if they fought for the better view? One would think a king who was granted asylum would have the common courtesy to give up shotgun.
Dobson had another message for me. I had to read it three times to ensure I read it correctly. He was right. It would be over that fast, and we could get on with another game. Hovering over the allied menu...I hesitated. Come on, just do it! I'll start attacking you now so he'll never see it coming.
Francis never did. How could he? We'd been close friends for years. If I did this in real life, Shakespeare probably would've said something like, "dudeth, 'he action of all composed by Dollerz is verily fucked up". Switching Francis from allied to unallied booted his king out of my castle, surrounded by my army. I didn't even see the king go down. I couldn't watch.
The game was over.
A phone call. Grimacing, I picked up the phone.
No arguments there. I'm a bad person.