I thought I'd share a recent thought I had about one of my favourite computer games (right now). The game is Fallout 3 and is set in the year 2277, 200 years after the world is destroyed by an atomic war. The creators of this game were suprisingly insightful it seems.
In the game you play the role of a young adult who was raised in a vault (an underground sealed community, locked away before the war. The door of the vault had never been opened since). I don't want to spoil the story so I'm not saying more
At an early point in the game you are forced to leave the vault and face the remains of Washington DC and its surroundings. The place is known as the 'capital wasteland' and you find the humanity had survived, but it is in a bad way. With no justice or government system io place humanity had settled into small cities dotted around the wasteland. There are people trying to do good, and people trying to survive by doing bad things. A key theme in this game is that you have to decide what sort of character you play as: good, neutral or bad. This is measured in the game by 'karma'. If you do unskillful things (like stealing food or killing) you get negative karma, if you do skillful things (like giving clean pure water to someone who is lost in the wasteland) you get positive karma. What's interesting is the the karma affects how people interact with you.
In the game there are LOADS of quests, and you get to decide whether to be good or bad, or neutral. The outcome drastically changes the game and your karma drastically affects how people interact with you. I love it.
What I find strange is that whilst playing as a bad person is easier (just steal what you want and kill anyone in your way), I find it harder to do. I find it much more enjoyable to play as a good person. It's one of the few computer games I've found where you get that choice and, if you want, you can practice the brahmaviharas electronically
Anyway, relating this back to the old 'is playing computer games bad kamma' jazz, I'd love to see more games like this where we get the choice, just as in real life, to do the easy thing or to do the hard thing that offer more longterm enjoyment.
Yeah, I recommend Fallout 3