Xcom: Sometimes the Redshirts die.

by Jeremy Springfield

Whether you love the game or hate it Xcom: Enemy Unknown pulls off a really neat trick.  It makes you care about the red shirts.  You celebrate when they do well and you frown when they die.  Sometimes their losses are hard to take.  It may be tempting to reload the game when you loose a valuable team member.  Don’t do it.

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The height of role playing, of acting, and art, is invoking an emotion in the audience.  If you had an emotional experience  the game/art/performance was a success.  That does not mean that the emotion had to be a happy one.  Sadness and remorse are equally valid emotions to experience and their invocation signals good art.

But by choosing not to experience them, we cheapen the value of art.  We loose a little bit of the experience.      The proxy experiences you have in the game could be what makes you grow as a person.  Choosing to avoid some of those experiences are going to alter the impact of games.  So celebrate the deaths of your squadies, but don’t reload the game.  Failure makes things more interesting.