Benny's Adventures

Playing a Role-Playing Game

Playing a Role-Playing Game 1I completed Mass Effect two days ago and started another play through. The first time I played through it I mimicked my own personality as much as possible. This resulted in a Paragon (“good”) character who tried to empathize as much as possible with everyone. If I could ever resolve a situation without violence I chose that route.

With that play through completed I’ve started a second play through. This time I decided that I would play as a Renegade character (“bad”). From the beginning it’s been uneasy but it’s provided an interesting perspective to a role-playing game for me.

Up until this play through of Mass Effect I’ve rarely strayed from my own personality when choosing the actions of a character. There are many cases where I only have one option, of course, but where I had some freedom I’d play as much like myself as possible. Generally this meant being a nicer character empathetic to the plight of other characters unless I lose my temper (in character, of course).

This time I choose the options that come off aggressive or mean or perhaps just plain evil. Each time I cringe because it just does not come naturally to me. However, each time I cringe less and less. Maybe there’ll come a time when it doesn’t bother me at all.

Playing a Role-Playing Game 2That bothers me. I completely understand that I am playing a game but what sorts of effects are changing my brain as I experience the game in this way? A recent program showed evidence for meditation changing the structure of the brain. If that is a possibility then couldn’t the focus we put in playing games alter our brain structure as well?

It’s an interesting thought with no concrete studies on it as far as I know. I think that because the full extent of effects are unknown all gamers should be wary. By no means am I claiming that games are evil or that we should stop playing games but being aware of the effects while we play the games can means that should there be any negative effects we can try to avoid them.

21 January 2011 - Posted by | Gaming, Science, Technology | , , , , , ,


  1. Its been shown that gaming can actually change your thinking, the US government are using video games to weed out bias in their agents. I wrote an article about it a couple of days ago here:

    Myself, when I’m gaming I play in much the same way – play as I would play. More often than not it leads to the good side, unless I’m playing the original Black and White; then my monkey almost always ends up evil.

    Comment by Will (verydistilled) | 2 February 2011 | Reply

  2. I just want to say I am just newbie to blogs and definitely enjoyed this blog. More than likely I’m planning to bookmark your blog post . You absolutely have outstanding writings. Kudos for revealing your website.

    Comment by Cris Arambuia | 9 February 2011 | Reply

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