Over at 1up, they have a feature article in which four staff members (including Jeff Green), comment on the question: “Are we what we play”?

That question can be looked at from several angles, and the remarks are diverse. Jeff, apparently, plays himself; his characters always act on the “lawful good” principle. In fact, he always gives them the same name. Of course, that last doesn’t apply in games that feature a pre-genned character.

Shawn Elliott, on the other hand, doesn’t have a lot of emotional attachment to his characters, or even – so I gather – to the story. He’s usually more concerned with skill development.

These two combined are pretty much the way I approach most RPGs. As I discussed in my earlier article I Gotta Be Me, the characters I create are always a step removed from me. It’s only in certain adventure games that I can sustain any illusion of being there.

On the other hand, I do take the story (when there is one) seriously, and it’s not possible for me to be an “evil” character. There have been a couple of exceptions. Wizardry IV: The Return Of Werdna, for instance. But I could redeem him at the end, so that was okay. Besides, all those adventuring groups were acting just like monsters, so I had no compunctions about killing them ;)

There was one of the Elder Scrolls games (Daggerfall?), where I joined the Assassins Guild by going around, acting like a homicidal maniac (the last thing any such guild would want!). It was one of my least-enjoyable experiences, but I was writing up a walkthru and wanted to be thorough.

However, most of the time, my characters do good things, although possibly not always in a strictly lawful manner. Which is why in D&D games, I take “neutral good”. I prefer judging situations on their indvidual merits.

And I really do take this seriously. In Avernum 5, there’s a job to expel (kill) a bunch of giants who have taken over Muck’s cache of gemstones (Muck is a tiny town in the game).

After doing that, I could have helped myself to those gems. But Muck was in such poor circumstances, and had so little as it was, I couldn’t bring myself to do that. In my view, it would have been wrong.

This sort of thing is going on at the same time I’m concerned about leveling up the party and distributing skill points. And there’s no way I can see myself in any of the characters, as they’re all felines.

Am I what I play? Or…do I play what I am? Hmmmm….

Are We What We Play? on 1up