Thursday, July 12, 2012

Black & White: Good or Evil?


Now normally when I give a review about a game I am weighing the pros and cons of it but with Black & White it is damn near impossible to bad mouth it. Lionhead Studios released Black & White in 2001.  Published by Electronic Arts for both Windows and Mac, this game got instant raves allowing you to be either a savior or a devil. Due to its popularity, a expansion came out, followed by its sequel Black & White2.   The tutorial (unfortunately you cannot skip through that) starts as soon as you are brought into this world as a new deity. No sooner do you rescue a child from ravenous sharks; the villagers wish to worship and praise your name. You are then greeted by your collective conscience of evil and good or black and white if you will. Both will offer advice to situations as each new problem or crisis is put before you. Each task can be handled with benevolence or malice. The choice is yours. I feel you cannot properly understand a game until you have explored all the angles and opportunities that both good and evil provide so without further adieu here are the highlights to good.

Good: You are the toast of the town and the answer to all prayers. As a good deity you will find worshippers come quickly to prayer. As this is your flock you must watch and tend to them. Assign them work and life. Creating disciples is a snap. The options are builder, breeder, farmer, fisherman or woodsman. Your disciples will continue this line of work that you saw them fit to do until the day they die. This includes breeders, so if you do not want a population increase to epic level, be a bit choosy as to how many breeders you possess, because they are like rabbits.

Part of being a loving god is to take all the problems in your stride and assist them as best as you can. Aiding you in these endeavors will be a pet you can nurture with love and understanding. Providing compassion to this creature is not only kind but a must in the game. Teach it to respect the people and land to create a better harmony for all. With each problem correctly taken care of, a reward is assured and happier worshippers are bountiful. Bear in mind that you will not make them happy 100% of the time. You can only do the tasks, provide miracles to astound and bewilder them and in general and guard them from harm from evil deities. While some might view this as a thankless task, yours is a higher calling to the children you wish to strive in your land.

Evil: Corrupter of youth and destroyer of men, yours is a task behold to the pathetic mortals that dare ask for favors. Constantly underfoot and demanding, these mortals attempt to take up your precious time with requests of benevolence of which you have none. You strive to obtain powers and wreak havoc across the land leaving these frightened simpletons cowering in their little, hopeless lives awaiting to be the next sacrifice to your awesome might. When one of their neighbors goes to the altar for blood sacrifice, they should be down on their knees praising you for not ending them.

Fear is an excellent motivator and provides more worship in your name. Their children will learn to abide by your rules or be fed to the fiendish creature you command with a ruthless iron fist. You will revel in delight as your creature hurls lightning and fireballs from sheer boredom or just in general malice. Cackle from high above at the wanton destruction in your name. Oh it is good to be the god.

The story is in your hands. Do what you will and enjoy.