Are you a "Good" Role Player?
We've come close to directly addressing these issues before, and the conference call got me thinking about going right at them here.
I've always loved when things get ethically tricky in RPGs. The end of the arena plot in Fable was brought up as an example, and the final boss in Fable has a similar bit (I think this is where the expansion starts). If your cahracter does the "good" thing or "bad" thing, does that necessarily reflect on your own "soul" (as it were) as a player?
What does it mean to be a "good" role palyer? Does it mean playing chacters that are ethically good? Does it mean maintaining a proper degree of aloofness from the character you're playing? Does it instead mean negating that aloofness, and really donning the mantle of your character? Is method acting to be used as an ideal for role players, or should we avoid associating too closely with the good or bad deeds and thoughts associated with the character?
Furthermore, we're getting into the phase of game evolution where there is more viceral connection with the characters again -- where on the Wii the character's hands mimic our own as we punch, shoot, strangle, or stab. In reality, killing -- especially in war -- has become more distant and less personal with advances in technology (I find it fascinating that advances in games make virtual killing work the other way). How are we to address being almost forced to be more like our characters? Certainly one half of our brains would say that if twisting the knife kills the baddie faster, then we should do it. However, it's sort of an evil thing to do -- causing that extra bit of pain. As it's getting harder and harder to put that "chinese wall" (yeah, I'm not sure how I feel about that extression) between our actual ethical selves and the ethical self of the player's character, how should we approach this, other than slapping a "mature" rating on the box? Should we call it advanced catharsis and just go with it? Should there be more pacifist options in games, to allow for us to avoid such ethical crises?