Dark Vs Light

Dark Vs Light has been used in literature throughout history and gaming has not been immune to its influence. The contrast of light and dark referencing good and evil is something we’re all familiar with.

Light’s victory over the dark is one of the most well-known tropes, from Narnia to Middle Earth to the heart of Tamriel. Light more often than not comes out on top. In games like Skyrim the Dragonborn defeats Alduin and in Wolfenstein Terror-Billy kills the Nazis. But why?

Good triumphing over evil, light over dark makes us happy. Humans love it when the books we read or games we play reassures us. In in this case its the reassurance that good comes out on top.

However, being real people and not gaming tropes we know that the world operates less in black and white and more in shades of grey. As a result some of my favourite games are the most ambiguous. They are less clear-cut, I mean lets face it was there any doubt that you would defeat Alduin the world eater or any other villan you’ve come up against and save the world?

But Hellblade, Fallout 4 and Life is Strange to name a few offer a less predictable and far more interesting experience. Games like this challenge gamers into making strange and difficult decisions that don’t often lead to clearly good outcomes.

But what story type do you prefer? Good defeating evil? An anti-hero story or something more ambiguous?


8 thoughts

  1. Interesting post! Personally, I find that I prefer stories with what I consider realistic outcomes. Outcomes that are bittersweet. I don’t always like when stories gives us everything we want, it feels disingenuous and like a missed opportunity to learn how to deal with a far more realistic and common outcome that would include loss, unavoidable/permanent changes, or difficult compromises. In real life no one is wholly good or evil, everyone makes compromises with others and with their ideals. I think characters who do some realistically “wrong” things for personal and selfish reasons are more relatable and interesting than pure heroes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think there’s a place for both in my gaming library! One day I might be slaying Ganondorf as the heroic Link while the next day I am navigating the questionable moral reasoning of Zero Time Dilemma. In games where you can choose “good” or “evil” like Dishonored, I tend to do good first but ultimately will explore what it means to be destructive as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s true sometimes it is fun to play the hero or the villain! I prefer the more middle ground area, when I play I struggle to keep to being either good or evil being in the middle is easier to me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That would be a cool concept to play out, it’d be nice to see that as a legitimate option in a karma-based game; they tend to incentivize playing to an extreme by mechanically rewarding that behavior.

        Liked by 1 person

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