The problem with Games like Burnout: Revenge and the upcoming Black & White 2: Revenge is that they force me to ask myself some very uncomfortable or even scary questions. I remember the first time I played Black & White. After churning through some of the worst tutorials I've ever had to endure, I finally got to choose my cute pet animal. I chose the cow, because he looked so happy. "There's no way I could be mean to this little guy," I'd think.
I was wrong.
20 minutes later I'd gone from watching Mr. Mooers playfully hurling his feces at villagers to me less playfully hurling rocks at Mr. Mooers. Then came the isolation and physical abuse. And finally, the starvation and outright beatings. Now, I realize that the Giant Cow Monster was hungry and had only eaten a couple of my precious villagers, but he had to pay. And did he ever.
So now we come to the days of KOTOR and Fable, when it's perfectly OK to be evil. It's not the insidious, sadistic evil of say, repeated cow beatings, but rather the Ayn-Rand-style no-charity evil. I can feel blissfully justified with my darkside powers and the clichéd responses of the in-game NPCs. But then came something I didn't expect. Burnout 4: The Bloodening. The traffic attack mode with either be this year's greatest stress therapy or next year's blame videogames legal defense for vehicular homicide. Honestly, even as I sit here typing this I am itching to get home, crank the surround sound, and start slagging minivans. A lot of people would think that a great soundtrack accompaniment to the carnage might be some hard techno, nu-metal, or a Slayer Anthology.
If you're like me, the only thing that does this game justice is Mozart's Requiem.
I'm not sure if there are many others out there like me. I can't even play World of Warcraft without running about slaughtering squirrels and rabbits that wander too near. For me, the Sims has been about locking the family in a tiny, wooden house with no doors and plenty of gas stoves to play with. Fie on those "edgy" survival horror games: there is nothing quite so chilling for me as the helpless screams of the poor people who feature in Katamari Damacy.
With Black & White 2 gold as of today, I have to wonder at all the terrible things I'll be doing to my little AI villagers in just a few short weeks.