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Oh please? Please yes? *whimper* *whine*


I am not a Frank Frazetta painting come to life, I'm a peculiarly non-violent old man! Doesn't work as well as it does for The Prisoner, but still, I'm really tired of Napoleonic conquest compulsions. Is it fair to call them fetishes? I mean, the violence seems to be better for those who like it when their foe is bigger. It really is all very '80s steroid-pumped fantasy art. What I liked about the '90s is that we had options for being clever, sneaky, and diplomatic. We didn't have to punch everything into a bloody mess. That was an option, sure, but we needn't take it. Optional, word of the day!


These days "Quests" feel more like I'm a serial killer with a shopping list, pushing my little squeaky-wheeled cart of insanity along and gathering bits and bobs from bodies and their respective parts in order to prove I've killed whomsoever my dark masters desire. Where usually my dark masters are some pot-bellied, stuffed-shirt merchants with a grievance. I'm just really not a fan. It doesn't really inspire me, it's not what I'd call romantic. I'd rather be the one who slipped in and out without being seen, like in Thief! And if that weren't possible, just some stun weaponry would do.


Would it be so hard to tag that foes had been rendered unconscious instead of dead?


The only contingency issues I could see would be with very big things, but I imagine that would lead to some very entertaining follow-ups which would be entirely worthwhile.


"Alright son, you've left my cellar full of sleeping dragons. Well, I suppose that's not... hm. Well, you see, they're going to wake up. Tell you what! My half-elfen third cousin Jezewiah knows a sort who knows a sort who runs a dragon conservation, I'll send you along to him 'n he'll send you along to... well, you get the idea! Arrange for them to drop on by and clear out my basement and you'll have done me and those dragons a service! What's that? No! I already told you I don't know how they got into my basement, likes they were conspirin' down there."


Who wouldn't want that? I would want that. I can't understand why anyone wouldn't? Oh well.


Anyway, in all seriousness? I'm a big, empathetic baby and I'm tired of killing things. Especially animals. Especially when they make sad puppy sounds when they die. Non-lethal options would be hugely appreciated. Please? Thank you!

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What I liked about the '90s is that we had options for being clever, sneaky, and diplomatic. We didn't have to punch everything into a bloody mess. That was an option, sure, but we needn't take it. Optional, word of the day!


Your recollection of the options in most 90s games diverges wildly from mine.

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Your recollection of the options in most 90s games diverges wildly from mine.


Truly? I'm quite perplexed by this. I don't understand. I mean, I get the grasp to be contrarian, but are you being genuine, here? I can't tell if you're pulling my leg. Autism, you see, it does that. You may very well be pulling my leg and having a laugh, in which case I'm about to make a right fool of myself. The veritable high-five pulled away at the last second expressed as an ironic forum post. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt, here, though, and assume sincerity. In which case... eh??


See, that's a truly odd thing to say. Many RPGs of the '90s and early '00s either were fully or at least provided non-lethal options. I mean, it's really easy to do a pacifist run of Fallout, Fallout 2 (lots of points into agility for running away), Ultima VII (you're properly investigating a murder rather than doing them), Bloodlines, et al. The original Baldur's Gate had only a couple of kills it forced the player to commit to. A number of the Quest for Glory games allowed for pacifist runs with the Thief class. I mean, we could go back as far as Pharoah's Tomb or even the avoidance game that is Jet Set Willy if you'd like, or its cousin, Monty Mole. The ZX Spectrum was rife with avoidance games.


Then there were the stealth games that actively encouraged non-lethal play. The Thief series, the Metal Gear Solid games, the first Splinter Cell (maybe others, but I know for sure the first only had one forced kill), Tenchu, and the first two Deus Ex games notably. I know there were others of the time but, hey, memory isn't what it used to be.


Then there were games that actively didn't let you murder. You're forgetting that the '90s through the early '00s was almost the entire life cycle of the point & click adventure, a genre that's nearly dead today and certainly nowhere near as much fun as it used to be. Those games allowed for exploration, adventure, characters, and dialogue without murder. I enjoyed that. Today, the scope of pointy-clicks is much more constrained, much less to actually explore. Still, they were there in the '90s and the early '00s! Still, back then you had some pretty epic scale pointy-clicks which required not a single soul to be hurt. Prior to that we had text adventures, too. You're likely to be eaten by a grue. I have surreal frustrated memories of trying to free a tied-up (to a chair) Bruce Banner from that era. Moving along!


A fair few FPS games allowed for it as they didn't lock you in until you'd murdered everyone (I'm looking at you, Nu Doom). The original Doom, in fact! I'm not sure if Doom II had any murder requirements, but I know the original didn't as I've done it! I even managed it with one of the Hexens, taking down only the bosses (which, as I recall, is still less kills than in Deus Ex: Human Revolution). Then there was GoldenEye, too. And as I recall, Perfect Dark even encouraged it with disarming and knocking out opponents. If we can consider light gun games valid then I'm pretty sure you could shoot the guns out of the hands of crooks & cronies in Virtua Cop, which resulted in some kind of award? Though another case of bosses still needing to be killed, sadly, but still.


I'm cheating a bit here as it was past the mid '00s, just, but if you wanted an MMORPG that did it, look no further than DDO: Stormreach! As I recall, that had a bonus for stealthing through a mission and completing the objective without murdering anyone in the process.


I know many early platformers allowed for this, too. Where you'd only have to take on the bosses. An obvious one being Sonic the Hedgehog, since it was so easy to use the environment to avoid having to fight any of your foes. The only person you'd have to fight is robotnik. Even still, in the Sonic games, you weren't destroying so much as freeing so even playing it normally it didn't have the implications of Mario games. I mean, yeah, I'm being a little facetious, here, but the point stands. Prince of Persia, too! That could be completed non-lethally. It was tricky to avoid the guards but it could be done!


On the arse-end of the mid '00s, there was Psychonauts! You weren't murdering people there, so much as using psychic powers to either knock them out or heal them! I think there was literally only one tainted animal you had to poof in Psychonauts (and the fact that it poofs rather than anything else brings to mind the question of whether it was really there at all or merely a psychic guard mechanism to ensure naughty children didn't leave the park). There was also Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath, in which you could complete bounties non-lethally by capturing your opponents with a Ghostbusters trap instead of just murdering them (difficult, but fun!).


There were tactical strategy games that did this, too. I recall this Robin Hood one where you could throw coins to distract guards, or even knock them out. That was rad. It was like playing Thief from a high-up isometric perspective. I dug that game, rad times in tights town. I feel a number of grand strategy games and 4X titles allowed for this, such as the entire Civilisation series. There's another specific example I have in mind that's on the tip of my tongue but... bloody memory isn't what it used to be... EADOR! Eador. I came back to type this, here. Almost didn't. Guard bribery!


I recall even some shoot 'em ups where you could do this. The bosses would just blow themselves up out of frustration if you're not attacking them for long enough. Gradius, some of the R-Types with only a couple of forced kills. This was one of the most fun quirks to discover about shooters back in the day, and it was a blast trying to complete them with the least possible kills, discovering which games really allowed for that and which didn't. Sad that most didn't, but there you go.


If I'm going to be a butt, I'd even bring up the original Smash Bros had a bonus (called Pacifist) for clearing a stage without attacking anyone. Melee too, maybe?


There are lots more I'm sure I'm forgetting, honestly. I have memories of RPGs I can't put names to, like I'm fairly certain that a couple of SSI RPGs didn't actually enforce killing. Was it one of the Eye of the Beholder games? I don't remember. The point is though is that there were plenty of examples of non-lethality all throughout the late '80s, '90s, and early '00s. It sort of petered off after that for a number of years, and has only recently been making a bit of a comeback.


Admittedly, with many games that allowed for pacifist runs, it was down to how they were actually realised in the first place. The rules of many older games were far looser allowing for pacifist runs all over the place. I know, because I loved doing them. I feel like the drive to "polish" that came with the "Next Gen" consoles of '06 lead to a drive to lock down and restrict how a player could play, because if a player did something unintended, it looked bad for the developer. You can see that attitude stretching out as far as Nu Doom, which I pointed out, where the game literally forces you to kill because that's the sort of game it's supposed to be. While we're slowly wriggling our way out of that mindset, there are many games still which remain far too strictured, in the stead of merely just structured, and limit your options.


If your memories of the period of gaming I had so much fondness for are divergent from my own, might I suggest that it may be down to what you chose to play, and how you chose to play it? Many older games hardly held you down and forced you to murder. That's very much a modern game design conception. One I've grown quite, quite tired of.




So far they've said you can only do a semi-pacifist playthrough because of some robots that you are required to kill at some point. 


They've also said, thankfully, that their robots aren't actually sentient/sapient in the way that Fallout robots are. They're more just drones. Which ultimately means you're trashing hardware rather than anything else. Which is an appreciable distinction. If they did start acting in any way indicative of a consciousness or self-awareness, though, I'd be hugely uncomfortable with fighting them then. Certainly not a bomb I want dropped on me, but Obsidian can be butts so I'm not sure I'd put it past them.


Still, I'm hoping it's just property damage. Property damage is fine. The superhero perspective.




If you don't consider robots as people, then it is a pacifist playthrough

Depends on the level of sapience and consciousness, dunnit?
I mean, if we're even dealing with animal levels of consciousness, here, I'd be hugely uncomfortable. I don't like killing animals, either. That's just me. Often though that's because the degree of realism in an animal dying in a video game is so much more realistic than a human, which always vexed me. I mean, a human just gets a corny voicing of "Augh!" whereas if you take down some dog "monster" it sounds like a sad puppy suffering and I cannot deal. I can't. I don't know how anyone could, especially if they're a dog owner, if they've ever been to/worked at a vets, or if they've ever done any volunteering work at rescues/sanctuaries/preserves (all three apply here, so I'm very sensitive to animal suffering).
I remember someone showing me a video of the geth being shot in Mass Effect and the kinds of sounds they made when they died. They changed that for the second and third games, thank goodness, but in the first game... guh. You'd have to hear it to believe it, if you've not played it. One of the many reasons why I skipped the first game! But yeah, usually whereas humans get the most unrealistic deaths, animals (and sometimes even robots!) aren't spared the realism.
I guess if you're as empathetic as I am, and you value animal life as much as I do, then having witnessed a dog go through pain and die is enough to never want to have to hear that again. Not even in a video game. And sometimes I swear to god it's like they actually sampled someone tugging on the fur of an actual dog. No thank you, I'm good, thanks.
And I guess with anything non-human it's just a thing that further unsettles me because of human violence. Humans kill humans all the time, we're murderbeasts, this is murder world, and that's why I don't bother with the news much. I'm too autistic to turn my heart cold to it. Bloody autism, it drove my empathy up to fifty, you should see the size of my amygdala. Thing is, though? Other animals, not murderbeasts. Lots of animals actually cease hunting if provided with food as they don't enjoy doing so. Notably wolves, funnily enough. Wolves will quickly lose the will to hunt if you feed them. This is actually a thing. Wolves are big babies.
It's a bit of a tangent, I know, but... People view wolves as vicious and predatory, or noble, or whatever... No, they're just big, goofy babies who do what they need to do to survive. I know that because I've worked with wolves. I think all of the stories came from one particular breed of Eurasian wolf that had similar genes to wolf-dogs (they can be aggressive). That Eurasian breed is long dead, now, though. Now we only have the ones left who'd stop hunting if someone offered them a can of food.
Point is? Lots of animal life isn't as violent as us and it can push some buttons in my pacifist brain to see a big, muscly, skin-headed murderbeast slaughtering loads of animals. I mean, I'm sorry if this challenges anyone by presenting a different perspective because I understand people don't like to be challenged, and you have to understand I'm not forcing my perspective on anyone, but that's just how it is for me. I have empathy in excess.
Autism is an empathy disorder in that you get too much of it. This is actually a thing, by the way. Took the professionals long enough to figure that one out. Affect doesn't equate to empathy, after all. I may not be amazing at expressing it, but I think it's obvious.
So I'm always happy when video game companies don't force me to dole out suffering on others. I know it's fictive in nature, I get that, but the thing is? It's also symbolic. Believe me, I know that people can be bad at symbolism. I realised that when people thought that the Synthesis ending of Mass Effect actually gave people glowing green eyes and generic '80s glowing green circuitry tattoos without ever realising that this was meant to be purely abstract symbolism rather than something to be taken literally. So, for me, it's the symbolic nature of it. It's the enjoyment of depiction. And I'm a big baby, too.
Like I said, I wouldn't force my perspective on other people. Quoth the Outer Worlds trailer "you keep on being you," and really, you do you, but what I am saying is that I value games giving me options. Options are delightful.
So, basically? If it's just Portal turrets, okay. Obvious drones given lines to use to mess with targets. If, however, they're like Atlas and P-Body, I wouldn't enjoy that.
I'm just me, I guess. Quoth the turret, I'm different. I didn't choose to be. Quoth the Jensen, in a less gruff voice, I didn't ask for this. Still, I am who I am and I wouldn't want to give up being me. All considered, ruminated upon perspectives are equally valid and I'd say that includes my own. Even though I'm sure a lot of others wouldn't agree. Still, this is who I am, and I play video games too. As such, I always appreciate when I can be a big baby in a video game as well and save everyone. Or, at least, as many as possible.
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I'm usually all about pacifist playthroughs so I fully support the OP here. My Deus Ex:MD pacifist ghost playthrough is still one of my proudest gaming achievements.

🇺🇸RFK Jr 2024🇺🇸

"Any organization created out of fear must create fear to survive." - Bill Hicks

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Truly? I'm quite perplexed by this. I don't understand. I mean, I get the grasp to be contrarian, but are you being genuine, here?



I've snipped the rest of your post because it is long and quote pyramids are annoying, but I'm gonna refer to a couple other parts of it.


Firstly, to address the latter part of your post, where you started to talk about genres other than RPGs, I was not really considering games like point and click adventure games to be examples of games that gave you options as you were describing them. Firstly because, let's face it, in most point and click adventure games each problem has exactly one solution, the only notable exceptions I can think of being Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, where you get a choice at a key point in the game which means you're now playing in one of three distinctive ways, or King's Quest 6, where there were two paths you could go (but I only ever found one of them.) Secondly, because I understand the conversation to be framed in the context of RPGs. I mean let's face it, these days there are still games like The Sims or Cities Skylines or Bejeweled or Peggle and heaps of others where you don't have to kill stuff, but they're not really relevant to what I understood the conversation to be about.


Of the RPGs I played in the 90s, the Fallouts (1 and 2, not Tactics or whatever that PS2 shooter was) were the only prominent examples I could think of where a pacifist run was possible, and in those cases it was a novelty. It was like finishing FONV in 15 minutes. Sure, it's technically possible, but you pretty much have to have advanced knowledge of the game and take advantage of that knowledge to preplan your character the exact way it could be done. If you thought you were gonna be a diplomat and talk your way out of all the violence, you were all the way out of luck.


Baldur's Gate, I recall having for the most part no more choice than Pillars of Eternity. Other prominent 90s RPGs I remember playing are things like Wizardry 8, Diablo, Lands of Lore, Might and Magic, Freedom Force. I like all of these games, but I don't really recall any of them being set up to allow multiple solutions to problems. By contrast, more recent games like Alpha Protocol and Pillars of Eternity have IMO a lot more choice and better reactivity to your choices.

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I like the discussion here, and I agree a pacifist option would be another feather in Obsidian's cap as far as I am concerned.  It is the game that provide options that you do not see in every other game on the market that always stand out for me.  Often other companies copy this feature in their future releases once they see it as successful, but the game that paved the way for said "new feature" is usually remembered as the first - the trailblazer.  For role-playing games, a true non-violent solution to a problem has been a long time coming and something that more players would choose, at least some of the time, were the option given.


That being said, I have no problem sending piles of nuts and bolts, i.e. robots/droids,  back to the factory for repair should the need arise.

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