By bushpusherr 46 Comments
*** This is not meant to address the merits of anyone's particular beliefs, only to talk about how mine influence how I play games ***
I am an atheist, and I don't believe in anything supernatural. I also live in the United States. Given the ratio of believers to non-believers in my country, and how big of a factor religion is in the public square, I've grown resentful of religious authority and feel as though I occupy somewhat of an underdog position. I wouldn't presume to call myself "oppressed" and insult everyone out there who actually is, but even just saying that much should make my position clear.
This has contributed to (but not entirely dictate) the way that I often make my choices in games. I typically play a no-nonsense, take no shit from anybody, live by my own rules kind of character. Just ask my Commander Shepard what he thinks, and he'll probably have punched you in the face before you finished your sentence. That man is full on Renegade. I think I play these characters in this way partly because I can relate to them, struggling against the "man" or the common consensus kind of thing. However, I should note that I also think a huge factor in my tendency to play this way is because I would never do those things in real life.
Sometimes the situation is more direct. In a game like Skyrim, there is a common understanding of "The Nine" (or Eight, depending on who you talk to) as religious figures. Anytime I had the opportunity to throw in my two cents, my immediate inclination (as my character) was of course to throw up two middle fingers and denounce them. I remember feeling similarly in different games as well, like Final Fantasy X ("Hey, Yuna, fuck your pilgrimage we can find a better way to do this").
I began to feel an internal contradiction about this reaction though. I don't believe in any gods or supernatural things because of my experience/knowledge about the real world. However, these characters I'm role playing as are living in very different universes, with very different rules. If I lived in the realm of Tamriel and saw first hand the implementation of magic, the twisted works of the Daedric lords, enchanted items, blessings, so on and so forth, I would totally accept the premise of the Nine as gods. But, I never seem to lean that way. It's as if I am channeling Odysseus in all of my video game characters. Despite their known existence, I still remain intent on defying their authority.