Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Et tu, Luigi?

**Warning! The following post contains Spoilers for Dishonored, Game of Thrones, Borderlands, Bioschock,  one Norse Saga and Mercenaries 2. If you don't want to know any of this...RUN AWAY FROM YOUR COMPUTER**

So, yesterday I had a day to myself after the British driving publics continued efforts to lose their minds all at once over some snow meant I had to miss out on a friends wedding.  Being the Viking Gamer and not, say The Viking Hiker (I hate that guy!) I used this opportunity to play Xbox for pretty much 8 hours straight.

The Viking Hiker, note the spear and smug sense of satisfaction   Source
Now, someone very kindly gave me Dishonored for Christmas and I've been playing it on and off ever since. I like the world they've built but never really got a chance to sink my teeth into it and finish off the campaign. Until now.

So, there I am having sucessfully rescued the young empress and ruined the hell out of the Lord Regents reputation on his own propaganda network (deliciously ironic revenge is the best kind). The Good Guys are throwing a party back at the Pub that served as our revolutionary base (you can tell this game is based on British people) and then Boom, Poison.

Yep, I'd been betrayed by the guys who I'd been working with for the whole game but that's not what shocked me. No, what shocked me was how un-shocked I was.

This betrayal bores Emo-CorvoSource
Now, to be fair, this twist in Dishonored was actually pretty well done. I mean everything seemed pretty ok and there were only a few warning signs (Havelock does start giving off evil vibes if you read his diary). The problem is, I've been hurt before. Alot.

I actually am struggling slightly to think of a 'dramatic' Game (or Action/Sci-Fi/Fantasy movie) that didn't have at least one betrayal. I mean Borderlands has it's Guardian Angel turn out to be a computer program that 'neglects to mention' the unspeakable evil in the vault, Bioshock has the guy helping you out turn out to be horrendously controlling you and I don't think Nathan Drake has ever met a NPC who didn't double-cross him at least once.

Hell, Mercenaries 2 starts with your former employer shooting you in the ass.

To be fair, I'd shoot that guy tooSource

Even Literature isn't safe, after all there's almost no better example of betrayl then the infamous (serious Game of Thrones spoilers coming up, I've warned you twice now) ....

...Red Wedding where the Freys betray Rob Stark (after he allready kind of betrayed their trust. Why? GRR Martin.) and murder him and almost all of his closest friends, allies and family members.

So what's behind this pile of treachery? Is it another example of Games (and other media) going just a teensy bit insane?

Actually, this time it's more a case of Art imitating Life. Lets face it, Human Beings are kind of selfish, wicked and often cruel animals. Not all the time, but enough of the time for everyone to be in on it. Most of you reading this will have felt some small betrayal in your lives. Whether it's a co-worker not backing you up with the boss or a friend stealing the girl you fancy at the bar. It almost universally sucks.

It's certainly no modern invention, the triumphant march over other people. If you don't believe me I humbly suggest you check out the Saga of Burnt Njal.

Njals Saga is a hearty tale of backstabbing, vengeance and cold blooded murder that spans decades and involves some vicious Blood Feuding in Dark Age Iceland (spoiler alert, everyone dies).

The whole thing started with 'overcompensating' jokes           Source
Now, while a bit of realism in media is always welcome that is not while this particular trait has stuck around so long. No, what makes backstabbing such popular story fodder is it's hotter, more screwed up sister: Vengeance.

We all love a good tale of Vengeance, of the wronged party getting their own back on those who wronged them. After all, if they can do it maybe one day we'll set the world to rights too? Writers love it because it's instant motivation. Why does our hero want to fight the bad guys? Cause they betrayed him! Boom, instant plot.

It's a one-two combo that's hard to beat, and while Dishonored didn't shock me, it sure was one hell of a ride.

Until next time friends, let us say Skål! and drink together

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