Up@dawn 2.0

Friday, April 29, 2016

Philosophy in Different Media Part 2: Video Games



Luis Mejia
Section 4
Dr. Oliver
4/29/16
Philosophy in Video Games

Just, like I discussed in my last post(http://cophilosophy.blogspot.com/2016/04/philosophy-in-different-media-part-1.html), Philosophy is used for lots of story telling purposes. Video Games use philosophy as a way to give motivations for what the main character or villain's goals are. It is also used to paint a vivid picture in the player's mind for what the character's motivations are. Some of the game I will discuss will be the Persona series, the Danganronpa series, and The Last of Us.

The first game i'm going to discuss is the Persona series.“You are a slave. Want emancipation?” In a way you could say this excerpt from Persona 5 could sum up the entire series in a way. In the persona series mankind is shackled to negative concepts, harmful  beliefs , false notions ranging from mankind ignoring one’s own issues to a self destructive apathy and depression. These parts of the human condition are represented in the forms of monsters, dubbed shadows, that are fought representing the constant temptations and reminders of our own mistakes in the waking world we live. Our protagonist fight tooth and nail becoming stronger physically but also in character and bonds until reaching the height of societal issue taken the form of a god. It’s at this point our heroes are questioned for their actions against the status quo, what they are doing is harmful not only to order that guides us but to humanity. This is wrong not for the right reason but because it goes against the mold. But instead of imprisoning themselves to a ignorant mindset they fight for a better future where humanity won't give up in the face of death or cast out the truth for an easy answer. No longer is man protected by the gods but instead governed and protected by itself without interference. Persona uses this to show a self deterministic philosophy of the world. It’s our job to grow as a species no longer coddled by false beliefs to make ourselves feel safe. Another philosophical standpoint is that liberty is more important than prosperity as it would be simpler to accept the world for what it is and never try. Finally, Persona takes a page from Friedrich Nietzsche by  making the main character a Übermensch, someone who denies the rules of reality he is born into and makes his own code to live by while the culmination of mankind's subconscious represents the last man who looks to live in the comfort of the old world unwilling to change even if the system is flawed and worn thread bare
The Persona Protagonists
The next game i'm going to talk about is The Last of Us. The Last of Us takes place in a post apocalyptic world that was ravaged with a deadly fungus that turns people into a zombie like state. It stars Joel, a survivor of the initial outbreak who lost his daughter which resulted in him being a broken man and Ellie, a fourteen year old girl who happens to be immune to the fungus. Joel is tasked with taking Ellie to a group of people who call themselves the Fireflies. Ellie will be sacrificed to make a cure for the fungus but Joel doesn't let them because he bonded with Ellie and became a second father to her. He ends up lying to her stating that the Fireflies had found others who were immune and that they did not need her while in reality, he killed all of them to save Ellie. The idea of Utilitarianism is represented in this ending. The fireflies believed that sacrificing an innocent child for the sake of saving many was a just reason. Joel doesn't agree with their stance and decides to get rid of them and save Ellie. This also represents the idea of Consequentialism. Joel's choice to save Ellie potentially doomed humanity but at the same time he saved an innocent girl who has the right to live.
Joel saving Ellie from the Fireflies
The last game i'm going to discuss is Danganronpa. 


Mankind is a animalistic and falls to it’s most basest urges and we should all give up everything is irrelevant other than the thrill of the moment. These are the thoughts of the main antagonist of Danganronpa , Junko Enoshima. Junko for all intents and purposes is antiathroitarian as well as a nihilist to the most extreme levels. Her plan was to over throw the world government by pointing out the disparity of classes between the students of her school, Hope's Peak Acadamy and the rest of the world. In the school's eyes everyone and thing is expendable for a brighter future. Even the students they teach are not safe from the depravity of the school's experiments. Praying on the fears and frustrations of the everyday people, as well as using some contacts she is able to send the world spiraling out of control and into anarchy before anyone could see it coming.   She is willing to burn the world as we know it just to satisfy her horrifying lust for despair. Her crowning achievement of despair is to make the world witness the brutal murders of the students of Hope's Peak Acadamy and snuff out the hope themselves for greedy motivations.  But she is not alone in this extremist set of ideologies as her rival Nagito Komaeda has a unordinary love for hope to the point of causing even more crushing despair to make as he calls it “A more brighter hope.”. Nagito and Junko are merely two sides of the same coin unwilling to acknowledge the value of human life just to get their rocks off.
Junko's sole purpose is to cause despair in the world
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