Deus Ex vs. BioShock: the moral question of children in games

Kotaku has tapped into an interesting debate around the presence of Little Sisters in FPS/RPG/Adventure/+ more hybrid BioShock. In the game, the Little Sisters look like (or are) little girls who run around stealing the life essence (Adam) from dead bodies. This life essence is useful to your character, and the game will give you the opportunity to claim it from the Little Sisters.

While you won't be able to harm them with weapons, you will have to choose whether to save the Little Sisters or "harvest" the life essence from them. This second process will leave them dead.

The Cult of Rapture has interviewed Irrational Games' Director Ken Levine about the moral implications of this. If you're interested in the story, read it at Kotaku, where you can download the podcast interview.

This poses an interesting question: even if the Little Sisters aren't human, do we still want to give gamers the option to take the life of something which looks like a child?

Strangely enough, I remember shooting one of the kids in Deus Ex. I can't remember if the kid died or just went 'Unconscious', but you could certainly shoot him. And it didn't create any kind of moral kerfuffle in the wider gaming world at all. In its sequel, Deus Ex: Invisible War, it's actually quicker to beat the game if you shoot a kid in a certain place:
42. Templar Compound - This route is shortest. I shoot at the kid because he talks to you otherwise. I shoot the turret through the wall. (thanks sewerat) Run through.
That's part of Peter Snyder's speed run of Deus Ex 2.

Make of that what you will.

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digg this: | posted by Natasha, 9:14 AM |

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Natasha is a political science student, a gamer, a writer, an armchair philosopher, and a geek. Her first cRPG was Castle of the Winds.

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