You Cannot Kill Children

You Cannot Kill Children November 1, 2008

In Fallout 3, you cannot kill children.

Writing for Edge Online this week, the game’s lead designer, Emil Pagliarulo, explained the decision to restrict murder to men, women and animals in the game, forbidding the use of violence against children, something that was present in the previous Fallout titles.

“We began to think, really what benefit would there be in killing the kids?” he says. “It just seems gratuitous, unnecessary and cruel.”

Problematically, in singling out and self-censoring one particular type of ‘crime’ in his game Pagliarulo by implication justifies all the others as being non-gratuitous and necessary. Last night I blew the head from a homeless scavenger girl, one who’s barely into twenties. The slow motion camera tracked her head’s explosion before lingering on the crimson fountain spurting from her neck stump. Is this kind of interaction and feedback ‘socially responsible’? And so then what’s the difference to killing a minor?

Is the life of a make-believe child really worth more than that of a make-believe adult?

Source: Gamesetwatch


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  • It’s an interesting dilemma if one has the time to ponder endlessly. But not that interesting.

    Lines have to be drawn somewhere. Otherwise allowing Maria to fireball a Goomba means you also have to allow him to rape and then decapitate Princess Peach.

    I think we only notice the line when we’re already uncomfortable with how far from our own comfort zone the line already is. We don’t notice it in Super Mario Bros. because nobody (well, ridiculously few of us) actually care about the destruction of an animated turd with eyes getting toasted into the digital ether.

    In World of Warcraft, players can fight and kill almost all NPCs, but where is the line drawn? Yep. Children. And you know how many people bring it up as an odd choice? Not a lot. The difference between Fallout 3 and WoW is that F3 pushes people’s moral quite a bit harder than WoW does.

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  • It is interesting how everyone has their lines of immorality, but they draw them in vastly different degrees on the spectrum.

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