In real life, I’m quite a reserved person.
I tend to keep myself to myself, mostly because I like the solitude, but also because I’m aware that not everyone has the time or wants to be my friend. In the world of videogames however, I usually find that there’s a distinct change in my behaviour. I’m brash and bold, making sure anyone in my vicinity is aware of my presence. And if there’s any opportunity for romance, I’m there, shamelessly strutting my stuff. I become a total flirt.
In games like Mass Effect: Andromeda, I don’t care if the person in front of me is a man, woman or alien, I’ll try to get in their undergarments like a rat up a drainpipe. I’ll butter them up with a modicum of small talk and then quickly go in for the kill. Laying it on strong like I’m God’s gift. Some of the objects of my affection like the forwardness, reciprocating my enthusiasm with a spot of innuendo and a knowing smile. Others carefully deflect my advances or act coy, momentarily wounding my virtual pride. I’ll always go back for another crack at a later date though. My persistence and charm will wear them down eventually.
Suvi is my favourite among my current harem of lovers. She’s not a squad member you can take out into the field with you in Mass Effect: Andromeda, but she’s a vital member of the team nonetheless. It’s not her alluring Scottish accent or conventional good looks that make her my favourite; it’s the fact that she was nearly just as forward as me when it comes to our blossoming relationship. After only two brief conversations she succumbed to my advances, coming on so strong that it left me blushing and at a loss for words. Suffice to say, I think some hot lesbian action will be occurring in the near future, don’t you worry. Oh, yeah. I didn’t tell you that I was playing as a woman, did I?
So I start to wonder why I behave this way in videogames. Is it because I’m some kind of closet sexual deviant acting out my fantasies in a world without judgement or repercussions? I don’t think so. Although, actually, when I think about it, maybe there is a hint of truth in that.
As a gamer, the fact of the matter is that I’ve been encouraged to act this way. Building relationships with those around you generally rewards you with more missions, extra scenes and maybe some special benefits or abilities. I like to get the most out of every game I play, so then of course I’m going to try and become everyone’s number one; it’s in my best interest to do so. And yes, the total lack of judgement or negative consequence for my actions does play a large part in it too. If I was to have three or four concurrent partners in the real world I’d become known as a love rat. I’d become hated and vilified and probably lose it all. I don’t want that. In games like Mass Effect: Andromeda however, no one gives a shit even when you get it on right under their noses.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking a dig at Mass Effect: Andromeda here – games in general allow you to get away with doing things that you wouldn’t dream of doing in the real world. How many of us have gleefully wandered into strangers’ houses in games like Final Fantasy VII and rifled through their cupboards for a Phoenix Down? Who doesn’t drive around like a maniac in the Grand Theft Auto V, carelessly mowing down the odd civilian that stands in their path? I’m just saying that as long as games enable and promote us to do ridiculous and/or despicable things, I’ll be making the most of it. Why not, eh?