Good VS Evil

Today, kids, we talk about games with morality engines. Good VS Evil. The right thing VS being a complete dick. They’ve become quite popular in games, and since their early days, I’ve been very fond of them. Putting in my hands the option to be a good guy or a bad guy, a sinner or a saint, that’s my kind of thing. I get really excited about games that have this particular kind of structure. The more involved it is, the happier I am.

It’s just that, well, I tend to play instinctively. Which means, and here’s something that might just shock you, 99.9% of the time, my character is the bad guy the first go ’round. Even if it just ends up that the morality engine is so involved that I’ve managed to make choices that place me more along the lines of Chaotic Neutral (yeah, I’m that much of a prick), I’m certainly not the Knight In Shining Armor. I’m no Hero.

It kind of surprised me to learn that most of my friends are. Not even just friends, but people I encounter randomly and discuss games with. We that play our characters wickedly because it comes naturally – and it’s way more fun – we are a very small percentage of the world. Very. Fucking. Small.

Most players will go through their first plays of these games with golden hearts and halos that (somebody like me would shove up their asses given the chance) gleam with all the glory of the righteous. They do the noble things, the brave things, sacrificing themselves and/or their loved ones so that it might save an entire race of beings (barf). When the game is complete, then, and only then, will they traipse through the world again, this time choosing the dark side. The majority of players like this will not find these actions easy. You will see them struggle with themselves, even though they’ve made the decision to be bad. Oh, WHY is it that you people cannot see how glorious it is to walk on the other side of the tracks?

There are even some players, a fairly good fraction of those that are good at heart, who cannot – no matter what – bring themselves to play a bad guy. And some that, beyond that, can’t even be mildly morally questionable.

Okay, I will admit. I usually save the “white hat” run through for the very last. I don’t generally have as much fun being nice. I’m not into all that … self sacrifice and putting the good of the whole before the good of myself. I like being reprehensible. I like how the Dark Side alters the way one looks when one uses it too much (KOTOR). It makes me giddy to see that I’ve screwed somebody else over so that I can have an easier life.

But it’s not impossible for me to play through as a good guy. I do it. I do it to see different endings, to see how differently characters will react when you’re not threatening to burn down their village. I do it to see the changes and the subtleties. It’s still fun, just not as much fun. So why can’t those do-gooders see my side of it? Why can’t they just admit that for a little while, it’s kind of interesting and entertaining to be evil? Hm? I think it’s a little biased, really. I can play how you play, but you don’t even want to try it my way?

This is starting to sound a little … naughty, isn’t it.

Some people are surprised when they discover the nature of my gaming. Most, however, not so much. Once you get to know me, you really can’t ignore the fact that it bleeds over into real life. I am who I am. I make it no secret. I don’t lie about it. I laugh when people get hurt. I enjoy tasteless jokes. So my friends? Really not startled when they see my achievements always pop up with the “you won the game as a complete heartless bastard” first. Not surprised when I talk about the dark endings before I talk about the light ones. Not at all taken aback, but highly amused, when I rage quietly about accidentally getting the Light Side ending in Force Unleashed the first time I played it. ACCIDENTALLY GOT IT. SON.OF.A.BITCH. Yes, I’m still angry. I also harbor resentment and grudges, fyi.

All I want you people to do is try to see things my way. That’s all I ask. Is that so much?

Evil. Try it. You might like it.


Dark Jedi VS Sith

It’s a common, and somewhat painful, misconception that the Sith and the Dark Jedi are the same thing. While there are many Dark Jedi that follow Sith guidelines and beliefs, it doesn’t make them Sith by any means. “Dark Jedi” is a broad sweeping term that embraces all dark practitioners, while “Sith” specifically refers to a definite ideology.

Dark Jedi don’t even have to be particularly evil. Sometimes, a Dark Jedi is just a Jedi who has given up on adhering to the Light Side of the Force. Even occasionally, a Dark Jedi refers to somebody who hasn’t gotten any formal Jedi training, but somehow began careers under another Dark Jedi. And even rarer, but still occurring, is the subset of the group of Dark Jedi who aren’t Force sensitives at all, but they serve the Dark Side.

More generally speaking, a Dark Jedi is a fallen Jedi. It’s the most common usage. A Jedi who has taken to the Dark Side and embraced it.

It’s pretty simple.

But then we get to the Sith, and things get more than a little bit complicated. The term “Sith” refers to at least 14 different factions. Including the original Sith (not to be confused with True Sith), the species. The Sith as a species were a little bit timid and meek, and were enslaved by the Dark Jedi. Through Sith Alchemy, the Sith mated with the Dark Jedi and formed a kind of entirely new species.

No matter which way you look at it though, all 14 or so of these different Sith-name-holding groups adhered to the Dark Side. They had a belief system in place, just like the Jedi. They are, for all intents and purposes, the opposites of the Jedi. They all, these Sith, have the same ideals and powerful abilities. The differences mainly come in the rankings and the leaders of the time.

After the rise and fall of the interbred original Sith and Dark Jedi species, the name Sith stopped referring to species at all and turned into an identification for those who were dedicated to the ancient Sith philosophy.

Sith, unlike Dark Jedi, have no real use for Lightsabers. They use them in a way to mock the Jedi. But their powers are generally such that they could overcome any opponent without the use of one. Both the Dark Jedi and the Sith are prone to using artificially made red crystals in their lightsabers, but the Dark Jedi have also been seen using the more traditional colors.

The Sith also had a habit of using Dark Jedi for their own gains. Seducing them and persuading them to do the dirty work, while never really sharing the Sith secrets. Luckily for the Sith, the Dark Jedi were glad to serve for the most part and saw it as a way to expand their knowledge of the force, even without the Sith techniques being taught to them.

The Sith that people are most aware of are the Sith from the New Sith Empire. This is some time after the Sith Lords started adding “Darth” to their new Sith names, and we start seeing the likes of Count Dooku (Darth Tyranus), Emperor Palpatine (Darth Sidious) and Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader). The Sith line, however, is long and vast and holds names that perhaps people wouldn’t expect to see, including Jacen Solo (Darth Caedus) – the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa.