Your Video Game Freethought Quote of the Day

At the moment, I happen to be re-playing Final Fantasy XIII in anticipation of the soon-to-be-released Final Fantasy XIII-2. While playing recently, one of the characters had the most amazing sound-byte about critical thought and freethought. At least, that’s how I took it.

To give a bit of context, the main group of characters are basically fighting against their government which is run by a machine-like race of beings. This group is stuck in a situation where the end is going to be bad for them pretty much no matter what they do. While all of the characters use this rock and a hard place time to grow and change, none of them see as much character growth as Hope.

Hope starts the game as a cowed child, bent on revenge for a perceived slight he doesn’t even understand, and believing that the non-human government is in the right pretty much no matter what.

It’s not until significantly later in the game that the slow trickle of evidence finally bubbles over for him and he realizes that he has to actually make decisions based on evidence and not what he’s always been told.

“The world’s full of lies. There’s no way of knowing what’s right. All we can do is believe in ourselves. It’s easy to sit back and let people trick you. … I’m done with their lies. … From here on out I use my own eyes. Think.”

(I’ve edited out a few lines that don’t make sense without an in-depth story understanding. Their absence doesn’t take away from the full meaning of the quote.)

I’m sure you won’t be getting a video game freethought quote every day, but wouldn’t it be nice if there were more of them out there?

If you find any, feel free to send them my way by emailing lklalakla at gmail dot com.

  • http://stochasticscientist.blogspot.com/ Kathy

    I don’t know about video games, but I’ve heard there’s some pretty profound stuff in the Pokemon movie.

  • http://www.facebook.com/billyup Jesse Jones

    I learned a lot about critical thinking and the true nature of man by way of JRPGs. Hell, in Xenogears the end boss is God.

    • Filipe Badaró

      Shin Megami Tensei 2 has YHMH as the final boss: 
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lb3AMJU9XMQ

    • Rabid

      Even better, although Deus is “God” for the known history of the planet on which the game takes place, it’s actually an entirely man made system created by an ancient and technologically advanced human society that went nuts and and brought about what is essentially the “genesis” parallel 
      for the game’s setting (complete with it’s own Adam, Eve and other stolen judeo-christian symbology).

  • Ben Crockett

    It might not be your flavor of game, but the entire Dead Space series (especially DS2) revolves around how corrupt and dangerous the more cult-ish religions like Scientology can be.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Patrick/100000027906887 Adam Patrick

      Dead Space and Dead Space 2 are two of the best games this generation.

      • Anonymous

        Adam, I respectfully disagree. While I loved both games, I was having way more fun with Dragon Age and Arkham Asylum

  • Greg

    You can get good stuff in the Civilization games. At least the ones before the most recent one. Every time your nation discovers a new technology a quote comes alongside it said by some famous person or other. The most recent one – as well as being an awful game – had some really trite quotes in it.

    I can’t remember many quotes from the series, but I’d have though Final Fantasy would be a good place to start for some more, actually. They often tackled themes other games wouldn’t touch.

    If you find any in Final Fantasy XIII-2 you’ll have to say. It’s the first one I’m not getting of the series (couldn’t stand FF XIII, personally). 

    • Anonymous

      In Alpha Centauri (a most awesome Civilization offshot by Sid Meiers) the Believers were always one of the civilizations I wiped out first. They were simply annoying and usually came into conflict with my tech focused playing style. Opposed to research, but of course they have no problem with asking for technology as tribute.

      Social policies is also an area where you can play around with religion vs science/enlightenment, depending on the game

      • Greg

        I was the same! Although, I was rather hippy in Alpha Centuri – I was always the Gaians, because I loved building mindworm armies.

        • Anonymous

          Same. Either University or Gaians for me most of the times. Have a bit of luck early on and you can skip building units until later by relying on captured mindworms

  • Tim D.

    The Shin megami Tensei series is basically an *entire series* run around the idea that god does exist, but he’s the same narcissistic asshole he is in the OT. YHVH is the final boss of many of the early games, most of the main series end in the main character being recruited to fight against him post-game, and there are a lot of moral dilemmas regarding theology, the “might is right” philosophy of an all-powerful deity, and how a secular-minded individual would cope with a reality in which god exists and is the moral equivalent of a scorned three-year-old. Pretty neat stuff. Lots of theological references, commentary, dilemmas.

    • Wotan Anubis

      Also amusing (to me, anyway) is that Lucifer is a fairly likeable guy (or girl, depending on game).

      Since YHWH is the controlling tyrant who demands worship from all of humanity, the Devil, as God’s enemy, is basically fine wih people doing their own thing.

      So yeah, I really like how the ‘blue’ Law faction  is not automatically ‘Good’ and the ‘red’ Chaos faction is not automatically ‘Evil’ (even in Strange Journey, where the forces of Chaos are trying to destroy the world).

      And of course, then there’s Neutral, where you basically turn your back on both supernatural sides and fight for humanity alone.

  • Trina

    If you happen to prefer books, or enjoy them in addition, Heinlein’s “Job: A Comedy of Justice” is fun and thought-provoking.

  • Jerad Hurst

    One of my favorite video game quotes is from Final Fantasy VII,  when Shinra (the bad-guy company) is trying to blow up Meteor by sending up Huge Materia in a rocket and blowing it to smithereens.  The heroes are trying to get the materia back because it’s from the planet and stuff (like saving the planet from the Villain).  One of the protagonists, Cid, states this responding to the need to save the Huge Materia (as recorded by a script I googled):

    “Yeah, I understand. I understand that Materia is precious, and I also understand what you’re thinking. But listen. I don’t give a rat’s ass whether it’s science or magical power. No. I guess if I had to choose, I’d rather put my money on the power of science. Humans who used to only roam around on the ground are able to fly now! And finally, we’re about to go into outer space. Science is a “Power” created and developed by humans. And science just might be what saves us. I was able to earn my living thanks to science. So to me, there’s nothing greater!

    Within a few minutes he backtracks somewhat… but I still love that monologue.

  • Drakk

    Assassin’s Creed has some great ones. I can’t think of any off the top of my head though.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

    With the New Year less than two hours away (on the East Coast),
    I must break in here 
    to warn everyone of the impending End Times! Get your life in order!

                                   You better not cuss
                                    You better not lust
                                    You better not lie
                                     I’m telling you why
                                     Jesus Christ is coming to town!

                                     He’s making a list
                                     And boy, is he pissed
                                     Everyone’s naughty
                                     Nobody’s nice
                                     Jesus Christ is coming to town!

                                     He knows with whom you’re sleeping
                                     He knows if you love bling
                                     He knows about that porno “thing”
                                     So be good for Jesus’ sake.

                                     You better pick one
                                      Jekyll or Hyde
                                      Hell is no fun
                                      You’re gonna get fried
                                      Jesus Christ is coming to town!

    • Rabid

      You mean he got early parole? Awww, fuck…

  • Daniel Hendricks

    Nothing to add, just bumping others above with a bit more explanation.

    Civ IV has some great quotes when you discover technologies.  Also love how Civ IVwas essentially designed with a game mechanic of where a state religion works fine in the early stages of the game, but by the modern era, a secular state that allows (or even encourages) religious diversity is almost needed.  A country with a state religion is likely to be despised by all other countries.

    And the Assassin’s Creed games all over the place.  I mean, the basic premise is that you’re promoting a diverse, questioning and scientific worldview over a religious-led push for unquestioning obedience.  

    A quick google got me some good AC quotes:

    “Men must be free to do what they believe. It is not our right to punish one for thinking what they do, no matter how much we disagree!”―Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad

    Altaïr: “Only a mind free of impediments is capable of grasping the chaotic beauty of the world. This is our greatest asset.”Maria: “But is chaos something to be celebrated? Is disorder a virtue?”Altaïr: “It presents us with challenges, yes, but freedom yields greater rewards than the alternative. The order and peace the Templars seek require servility and imprisonment.”

    • Drakk

      “One must choose to search for truth. Forcing it on others accomplishes little.”-Ezio Auditore da Firenze

    • Anonymous

      Al Mualim:What is the truth?
      Altair:We place faith in ourselves. We see the world the way it really is. And hope that one day, all mankind might see the same.
      Al Mualim:What is the world then?
      Altair:An illusion; one which either we can submit to, as most do, or transcend.
      Al Mualim:What is it to transcend?
      Altair:To recognize nothing is true and everything is permitted; that
      laws arise not from divinity but reason.I understand now that our creed
      does not command us to be free. It commands us to be wise.

  • Zzz78963

    I’m surprised nobody has mentioned Final Fantasy X yet. The whole religious system in that game is pretty much a thinly veiled parody of the catholic church.

    • Guest

      I’m a bit late to the party, but I’m glad someone brought up FFX.  Continuing with what you said (spoilers):
      The main story has you excommunicated from said religion, for refusing to continue under their model which you find is designed to not fix anything.  Yuna has some great dialog, but most are a bit long for soundbites.  This scene in particular:

      Yuna “No one.” “I would have gladly died.” “I live for the people of Spira, and would have gladly died for them.” “But no more! The Final Summoning…” “is a false tradition that should be thrown away.” Yunalesca “No. It is our only hope.” “Your father sacrificed himself to give that hope to the people.” “So they would forget sorrow.” Yuna “Wrong.” “My father… My father wanted…” “to make Spira’s sorrow go away.” “Not just cover it up with lies!” Yunalesca “Sorrow cannot be abolished. It is meaningless to try.” Yuna “My father… I loved him.” “So I…” “I will live with my sorrow, I will live my own life!” “I will defeat sorrow, in his place.” “I will stand my ground and be strong.” “I don’t know when it’ll be but someday, I will conquer it.” “And I will do it without…false hope.”  

      maybe you can find more at http://www.ffwa.org/ff10/script.php

      As for the ‘veiled parody’, I had a roommate who’s parents wouldn’t let him read the HDM series of books, but he played this game.  Unfortunately I don’t think he saw the connection.

  • Anonymous

    You want a game that’ll convince people there is no god?

    Play Dark Souls.

    (Man, I love me some Dark Souls. Soon as my Skyrim fix is done I’m hopping right back in to masochistic “fun”!)

    • Drakk

      I Wanna Be The Guy would be far more effective. The game that masochists play and sadists watch.

  • Aaron Scoggin

    Love the quote, but man, Hope is SO ANNOYING. One character that the game could’ve done without.

  • Emmet

    “All we can do is believe in ourselves” is a quote that displays “most amazing” critical thinking?
    What does that mean, to believe in oneself? Is that what atheism is about?

    “Only a mind free of impediments is capable of grasping the chaotic beauty of the world. This is our greatest asset.” What’s a “mind free of impediments”? How does one know one’s mind is that free? Sounds like some kind of new age mumbo jumbo.

    A couple of centuries of brave freethought and this is what atheism has come to? Believing in yourself?

    • wright

      Inasmuch as atheism is “about” anything, it’s about not believing in any gods. Period. Anything beyond that is up to the individual.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DocMonkey Mick Wright

    I guess my only contribution would be Setsuna F. Seiei in Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3, who murdered his parents when he was six to prove his worth for jihad and then lost his faith in the guerrilla war that followed, joined a private peacekeeping organisation and started beating the bile out of every warmonger he could see with a giant robot. His soundbytes for his appearances are littered with challenges for opponents to fight for the god they “claim to believe in”, and that “No God awaits us after our death!”. which always seems to follow him hitting another pilot’s cockpit with mutilating force.

  • Bryan

    Skyrim has some good theological tidbits too.  The whole game is centered around a civil war caused by the banning of Talos worship, a real person that one side claims is a god and the other side claims is a regular dude.  There are a lot of “believers” on both sides with good and bad reasons for their allegiance, and a lot of people in the middle who are like “Gods?  Fuck ‘em.”

    Aside from the fact that in Tamriel gods are real, it’s a pretty insightful look at religious secularism and a bunch of other stuff.

  • Anonymous

    this is how i know i’m getting Old. i have *no* idea what you’re talking about, none whatsoever. 

  • Anonymous

    No love for Bioshock?

    “If Utopia is not a place, but a people, then we must choose
    carefully, for the world is about to change, and in our story, Rapture
    was just the beginning.” – Eleanor Lamb

  • Anonymous

    “And then father, the Rapture dream was over. You taught me that
    ‘evil’ is just a word. Under the skin, it’s simple pain. For you, mercy
    was victory. You sacrificed, you endured, and when given the chance, you
    forgave. Always. Mother believed this world was irredeemable, but she
    was wrong, Father. We are Utopia, you and I, and in forgiving, we left
    the door open for her.” – Eleanor Lamb, Bioshock 2 (Good ending)

    It sounds less theistic and more sensible in context: You’ll only get this ending if you save every Little Sister and choose not to kill any of the NPCs – quite tempting considering how jerkass a lot of them are.

  • Anonymous

    Phoenix Wright, hands down.

    The game series taught me the value of backing up my arguments with good, solid evidence, and to pay attention to every little thing my opponent says during a debate. It’s saved my ass a couple of times when fundie trolls tried to harrass us at the Filipino Freethinkers blog.

    Edgeworth even uses “Logic” as a special skill in his game spinoff XD

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t like the game much, but I like that quote.

  • oli kenton

    How about the Deus Ex series (except for Invisible war, we don’t talk about that), its a great look into transhumanism via fiction and the new one in particular has some great questions to think about. For those who haven’t played it, it pretty much embodies different ways of thinking in certain characters. One (David Sarif) believes in free for all human evolution via technology and thinks that with this we will become greater than we are. Another group hates human enhancement tech due to the chaos and upheavel it has bought. Still another believes that it must be controlled centrally (albeit invisibly) as societies aren’t mature enough to leave it unregulated. Its nice when a game treats you as if you might be a clever person.
    Civ was also fun for religion. It didn’t matter which religion you chose, they all do exactly the same thing and any religion will piss off another civ with a different religion.
    Medieval: Total War and its sequel showed a quite cynical side to it. Throw bundles of cash at the pope and he will pretty much put his blessing on whatever you do. Genocide and slaughtering entire cities can be easily forgiven for a great big sack of cash.


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