Video games have come a long way since the days of the arcade. Today’s games are immersive, realistic, and offer players a chance to explore vast open worlds. But have you ever stopped to think about the characters that populate these worlds? Specifically, the NPCs, or non-playable characters.
What Are NPCs?
NPCs are characters in video games that are controlled by the game’s AI (artificial intelligence) rather than the player. They can be anything from shopkeepers and quest-givers to random pedestrians on the street. NPCs are an essential part of any video game world, helping to create a sense of immersion and realism.
The Problem with NPCs
But what if these NPCs were based on real people? Specifically, people who are desperately poor and struggling to make ends meet? It’s a controversial idea, but one that some game developers are exploring.
On the surface, it might seem harmless. After all, NPCs are just lines of code, right? But the reality is that video games have a massive cultural impact. They shape the way we think about the world and the people in it. If video games are filled with NPCs who are poor, homeless, and struggling, what message does that send?
The Ethics of Using Real People in Video Games
Using real people as the basis for NPCs raises a host of ethical questions. Is it exploitative to use someone’s struggles as a source of entertainment? Does it trivialize the very real challenges that people face in their daily lives? And what about privacy concerns? If an NPC is based on a real person, do they have the right to know?
There’s also the question of representation. If game developers are going to use real people as the basis for NPCs, they need to ensure that they’re doing so in a respectful and accurate way. Otherwise, they risk perpetuating harmful stereotypes.
The Potential Benefits of Using NPCs Based on Real People
Despite these concerns, there are some potential benefits to using NPCs based on real people. For one, it could help raise awareness about poverty and the struggles that people face. It could also help to humanize these issues and make them more relatable to players.
Furthermore, using real people as the basis for NPCs could help to create a more diverse and representative gaming world. By including characters from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, game developers can help to break down barriers and promote understanding.
So, what’s the verdict? Should game developers use real people as the basis for NPCs? It’s a complex issue with no easy answers. Ultimately, it comes down to how the NPCs are portrayed and whether they’re being used in a respectful and accurate way. If done properly, using NPCs based on real people could be a powerful tool for raising awareness and promoting understanding.