Thou Shalt Not… Kill?

Mass Effect 2 Game Graphics

Image by Dallas1200am via Flickr

No, this is not a religious post. Instead, it’s a post regarding combat in games. More precisely, how interested would you be in a game completely lacking in combat?

You see, I have this idea. You guessed it: an idea for a game utterly lacking in anything resembling combat.

At first, I thought, “Einskaldjir,you fool, no one would ever want to play such a game.” But then I realized that there are, in fact, already a few very successful games that lack a combat system. Then, sadly, it occurred to me that Civilization does actually heavily rely on battles (how did I forget that for even a second?).

But The Sims games do not, nor do similar games such as Sim City and its spin offs. And sports games, of course. Probably several others, as well.

The non-combat games I listed don’t really fit in the “norm” of the gaming world, however. When I think of the quintessential modern game, I think over-the-shoulder-with-variable-viewpoint-third-person-3D-shooter-type-thing. I think Mass Effect, or World of Warcraft. I do not think The Sims.

So let’s use Mass Effect as a template. First, of course, we remove all the combat. …wow, there’s already not all that much left. Oh well, moving on, let’s take away all of Shepard’s government support, too – no more crew, no more equipment, no more Normandy, no more missions(!).

I feel like I just created Second Life : )

Ah, anyway, now we definitely need to add things. Shepard is grounded, with no money, and no ship, and no job. And instead of starting on, say, The Citadel, let’s place him (this Shepard’s a him) someplace a little more remote. But not too remote, and not too hostile (remember: no combat).

So now you’re grounded with no way out unless you get a job. Or a loan. Or steal a ship. Actually, there are probably more options than I could ever dream up. Of course, being grounded isn’t the end of the world, so maybe you want your Shepard to just hang out on Remote_Planet1 forever. On the other hand, this is a game, so we’ll provide some stimulus. Stimulus such as your favorite former crew member Garrus (that’s right) needs you to, ah, help him market his new bar. Ok, that’s clearly idiotic, so how about you need money to buy food and water to, you know, live?

Plus, you need to upgrade your dingy studio apartment in order to impress the ladies.

Actually, so far this idea is substantially based on a MUD I played many years ago – and that apparently still exists – called Federation. In Fed, you take out a loan for your ship, then spend your next hours doing odd missions in the cozy confines of our solar system until you can pay off that loan. Then you do more missions, earning more money, upgrading your ship, until you can purchase your own business. Then you do more stuff, earn more money, and so forth. Until you buy a planet.

At least that’s how it went back in the day.

So would you play the graphical adaptation of Federation? Spruced up with a few more ambitions aside from amassing your fortune to purchase a planet? Hopefully, some day in the not so distant future, we’ll find out.

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