08.10.12

Why do RPGs turn me into a colonial overlord?

Over at Nightmare Mode, Alois Wittwer notices how the gameplay in Etrian Odyssey mirrors colonialism, down to murdering the local people.

The Forest Folk are the native people of the Yggdrasil Labyrinth and the first humanoid enemies you face in the game. They don’t want you here. And, much like the plight of so many indigenous people, you don’t listen to them or attempt to reconcile with them. You’re not given a choice, actually. You not only kill their people, you slaughter their army and their guardian in a laborious, methodical fashion.

[...] The ultimate fate of The Forest Folk highlights that all your freedom in the game is focused around different ways of killing things, not freedom in morality. Some people have said that this lack of choice to determine the fate of The Forest Folk is detrimental to the spirit of the game, but in reality Etrian Odyssey has taught you to behave this way. Your strength has been determined by the amount of land you’ve explored. It’s your map that has saved your life countless times. Its led you to resources, warned you when you’re about to encounter a monster, and highlighted the nightmarish high-level roaming boss fights called F.O.E.S.

Etrian Odyssey isn't the only game that requires you to exploit weaker or more peaceful people; almost every RPG and action game has players killing soldiers or humanoids for gold or levels. At least it's in a videogame and not in real life.