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    Whether you've done some bad things in the past, or inadvertently helped open up a portal that unleashed an army of aliens that would destroy the world, video game heroes have countlessly fought for that one loftiest of goals, redemption.

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    The theme of redemption and salvation is seen throughout many video game titles. In a tale of redemption, the hero has either done something bad in the past, or mistakenly caused a great injustice that needs to be undone. In Red Dead Redemption, John Marston may have had a checkered past full of violence and cheating, but when he decides to give that all up and become a farmer, he is seeking redemption, to absolve himself of his troubled past. An unintentional redeemer may be Jack Ryan from Bioshock. While his original intentions may have been to escape from Rapture and stop the tyranny of Andrew Ryan, he discovers midway that he inadvertently brought an even bigger tyrant into power and must soldier forth to redeem his actions.

    Redemption tales can be used to great effect in gaming. Giving a hero an exceptionally shiny veneer often leaves them feeling too super-human to relate to. Giving a character some dirt in their past that they have to deal with is something everyone can feel for. This can be given even more depth in a game with moral decisions and branching paths, giving the player the opportunity to personally make mistakes, feel guilt, and then seek redemption for them.


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