The portrayal of morality in games right now is a joke. Games are worlds with no shades of gray, only black and white. Surprisingly games that advertise the idea of mortality as a bullet point on the back of the box are likely the biggest culprits.
Infamous is a game that puts you in the shoes of a normal person whom has gained super powers. It gives you the option of being either a super hero or super villain. I guess they went the classic comic book style by making your character pure good or pure evil. Morality in Infamous is a screen that pops up right as an important event is happening and gives you two options. First morality test is to either give some starving people in the city food or keep it all for yourself. It is actually detrimental to your experience to play the game any other way. If you look at the decisions and judge them yourselves, then you are playing the game wrong. You can either kill everyone in your path or help everyone in your path. You are either Gandhi or Hitler.
Fallout 3 is another game that had morality all wrong. In the world of Fallout, a nuclear warhead was launched on the United States and almost all human life on the planet was destroyed. I went into this game thinking I am just going to be a bad guy. I will kill for money, enslave people for profit, basically be the worst human being whom ever existed. I was so bad that I nuked an entire town with the inhabitants still in it. Throughout the game, I would find characters that I liked or could relate to. For instance there was this mutated creature who wanted me to help him escape from his wrongful imprisonment. When I helped him escape, he told me he could not continue working with me for I was known to be a bad person. For a second I thought that was astonishing, that he would not fraternize with my kind.
As I kept playing I began to do some activates that would result in people thinking I was a good person. So much so that the mutant decided to aid me on my quest. I nuked a city. I killed men, women and children for money. This should not be so easily forgotten. Another problem I had with this game is you could not complete it without killing people. Even when you are considered good throughout the world, you have killed hundreds of people. How is that good?
Fable 2 was a game I played for about an hour. I had heard great things about the game from friends and read multiple positive reviews online praised the moral decisions. I walked up to a villager in the town my character grew up in and waved to a fellow villager. He replied, “Oh I like that”. Then I selected the option to make him laugh. My character then proceeded to fart. The man then exclaimed, “Oh I like that a lot.” I shut the game off.
There are games on the horizon that I hope bring a deep moral consequence and decisions to games. As of right now, a game might have an important choice one that seems life change for a character. Unfortunately any decision that you make will drive the story in the same direction. Maybe what I want from games is just too expensive for the average developer. Maybe some games with moral decisions should be a bit shorter so they have more time to make alternative routes for characters showing consequences for their actions. I know I am being rather harsh to these overall good games, but I think they are the ones setting the example for others. If games ever want to be more than mindless entertainment, they have to create real life scenarios with numerous outcomes. Maybe people do not want games to become more then they are. I for one cannot wait until they are high art.