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Surfing the Slider Bar: The Issue of In-Game Morality Systems

Morality. Karma. Alignment. Call it what you want, but the idea is still the same. What you do defines what kind of person you are. In the past decade or so, role-playing games have included this idea of right vs. wrong as a gameplay mechanic in an attempt to give more weight to your decisions. This began with Dungeons & Dragons, the original basis for all RPG’s, by allowing you to choose an alignment that affects your character’s nature and decision-making process. But rather than picking an alignment that determines your actions, modern RPG’s have your actions determine your alignment. Morality systems have become somewhat of a staple of RPG’s in recent years, as seen in Mass Effect, Fable, Fallout, and my all-time favorite, Knights of the Old Republic, as well as the MMORPG based on KOTOR, The Old Republic. But how is it that an RPG that didn’t include any morality or alignment system was received so well, nearly sweeping all of the Game of the Year awards last year? [From HalfBeard's HUD]

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