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Article - 'Balancing Good and Evil' by Xanqui

An item about Game Design posted on Jan 14, 2004

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Comparing storylines to science. Be sure to read "Triggering Anger" before reading this to have a full understanding.

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Balancing Good and Evil

Be sure to read the article Triggering Anger before reading this one. This is part two of that article.

Science and storylines have a lot in common, especially when it comes to good and evil. Good and evil have often been labeled as “hot and cold”, hot being evil, cold being good. But what you may or may not have realized, the properties of hot and cold are very similar to the properties of good and evil.

Alright, imagine a Styrofoam cup with warm water. That water is neutral. It doesn’t care about the wars going on, or what is happening in the storyline. But suddenly, they receive money from the good side, which can be portrayed as a few ice cubes. Obviously, with money, they aren’t going to have much against anyone now, but they’ll be in favor of the good side. But over a period of time, the ice melts, the money is spent, and there is more water, but there’s no money left. So there is more water, but it’s neutral again.

Now heat the water up. Let’s say they get attacked by the evil side. The water will begin to evaporate, but when the attack is over, there’s still some water, just not as much as before. But then the good side jumps in and decides to help that cup of water out by sticking it into the freezer!

Water cools down faster, the hotter it is. So the water is going to trust the good side faster.

Stick a hot spoon into the cold water now. The water will heat up, but the spoon will cool down. This is what’s known as “equilibrium.” When the spoon has cooled, and the water has heated up, they will be at equal temperatures.

So, based on those scientific facts, good and evil SHOULD be at war constantly. Good and evil, subconsciously, are trying to achieve equilibrium.

Though, that’s not really always the case. Good and evil can be manipulated in many ways to appear trying to achieve another goal. But one very important difference expresses who the truly good one is: the one striving for equilibrium. Sure, turning the world into a utopian heaven SOUNDS good, but to the evil side, it would be evil. Good should always strive towards normality, or else it’s no different than evil.

Evil has many different motivations. Often, they want complete destruction of everything including themselves. Some want complete control over everything. And some want to be the only thing that exists. Or, what could be a very likely situation; they could also strive for equilibrium.

Think about it: in Star Wars, good and evil is balanced. Two Jedi, two Sith. Always. If another Jedi comes along, one dies. This is a fantastic example of equilibrium of good and evil. Though not clearly mentioned at the end of Return of the Jedi, there is another Sith. Some believe that Luke turns on the rebels while Han Solo’s son takes his place as a Jedi.

There is one last way equilibrium is achieved. If BOTH sides are striving towards complete domination of the opponent, then the war will end in a stalemate. Neither side will win, and thus, equilibrium is achieved.

Don’t get me wrong. Your story does NOT have to end with both sides winning or losing. At the end of the Omega Code (cheap movie), the good guys win, and Earth becomes a second heaven. Evil was completely demolished. However, we don’t know what happened AFTER the movie. Perhaps another evils existed in another world, and were preparing an invasion of Earth. Or maybe the evil existed and had no intentions of attacking Earth, but as long as an equal amount of good and evil exists, there is balance.

Anyway, science and storylines can be compared in countless different ways. It’s quite fascinating, actually. This has been somewhat of a basis for sequels to games and movies that involve battles between good and evil. Will good conquer evil again, or will evil finally reign? Or will neither win? Only you can decide.