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Strawman Has A Point / Video Games

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  • In the expansion game of Age of Mythology, when Ajax declares that he want to cut off Kastor's head for his crimes, Amanra defends him saying that he may be tricked or maybe misguided. We are supposed to side with her in the argument, but regardless if Kastor is tricked or not, he still ordered his men to carry out a full-scale raid across whole continents, causing the deaths of hundreds of men including both Ajax and Amanra's just because 2 Greek scouts attack him first for repairing a temple to the Titan. If Ajax does not order his death all because he is the son of his close friend, such actions would have been treated as a crime by all the people who have been hurt by the attack. The only evidence of this that Amanra has is the word of Arkantos (who, to be fair, has ascended to godhood).
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  • The ad campaign for Dead Space 2 highlighted its self-professed tasteless disgustingness by showing some middle-aged women squicked by it. "Your mom hates this" was the tagline. "Why would they even make something like this?" one woman asked. Good question, ma'am, good question. Moral Guardians and Media Watchdogs naturally were not pleased. (However, there was also a fan-made version (again using real mothers), one of whom laughed when she saw the same images, creeping out the younger people around her.)
  • Superman in the first Injustice: Gods Among Us is meant to be seen as wrong for having killed the Joker (which led to his Start of Darkness and ended up turning him into a tyrant). In fact, people like Batman or Alfred in the comics give him the cold shoulder after this and Catwoman even treats him as a serial killer who can't wait to strike again. The problem is the same as in the other instances where the Joker is presented: he's the JOKER! And in this universe he managed to kill millions thanks to a nuke...while making Superman semi-responsible of all the deaths, including the deaths of Lois and her unborn child. This pushed him real hard into the Despair Event Horizon, in a way where no person, superpowered or not, could have maintained his sanity intact...and yet he's lambasted for not keeping the moral high ground despite the fact that the Joker more than deserved to be executed for his crimes (and most likely would have been anyways thanks to what he did). While it does not excuse all the awful things that Superman did later, it's pretty hard to blame Superman for killing someone who did something so horrid.
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  • In Dragon Quest IX, the Celestrians are charged with guarding the Protectorate (i.e. Earth) and collecting Benevolessence (concentrated gratitude) from mortalkind (i.e. humanity). The main way to collect Benevolessence is to care for humans, protecting them from monsters and solving their problems. However, when you speak with them, you quickly learn that the Celestrians hold the mortals in obvious disdain, which is treated as a negative trait of the Celestrians themselves... except the Celestrians exist — as a race — to protect and clean up after mortals (one of the Hero's first tasks in the game is to clean out a stable full of horseshit while the nearby farmer is napping). This would be an obnoxious job at the best of times — and the Celestrians have been doing it for hundreds if not thousands of years, and for most of that time there's been no end in sight. On top of that, their attitude is eminently justifiable — they exist to solve the problems mortals cause.
  • The Jackal from Far Cry 2, on his interview tapes, sounds a lot more logical than the game seems to want you to think of him as, given the tape descriptions. While many of them are blatantly MORALLY wrong, his logic to justify what he does makes a scary amount of sense. This is especially invoked in the tape asking him why Africa, when he gives the interviewer a small Hannibal Lecture, asking him if there's someone else's home he doesn't care about that he should sell weapons in. He might have been intended to be right all along, given that his ultimate goal is to help all the refugees and sane people escape the nation while the two warring factions all kill each other, and he even kills himself in the process to make sure his arms dealing can't cause another conflict like the one in the game. This is even more stark in the complete edition, which is sadly no longer available. With all of the bonus missions and audio tapes installed, it becomes obvious that the man you replaced on the hunt for the Jackal slowly realized that the Jackal was the only man trying to prevent the brush war from turning into an outright genocide, especially once the local factions stopped relying on their own men and started hiring foreign mercenaries who are just there to kill people and steal blood diamonds.
    • Joseph Seed from Far Cry 5 is a religious nutcase who claims that he's saving people from The End of the World as We Know It while his cult rounds up the civilians of Hope County and brainwash or kill anybody who resists. However, one of his speeches has him claim that he watches the same news that anybody else, that it's only a question of time before everything blows up and he's the only one who sees or doesn't ignore the writing on the wall and acts to save as many people as possible, violence be damned. If you take the time to listen to the news snippets on the radio, the various bits you get (the government is actively warning people against going to Asia due to (implied to be) Chinese threats, with China doubling down on nuclear tests; Moscow has been nuked with China and the USA as the prime suspect; North Korea went completely dark after said attack with no trace of the government or the population; a bioterrorist attack in South America has plunged the area in a near-state of war, etc.) do give Joseph a point.
  • Fire Emblem Awakening briefly mentions at one point that the previous Exalt of Ylisse started a great war against Plegia in the past with the intent to wipe out the Grimleal. While this normally would be religious persecution, the fact that every Grimleal met in the entire game is a For the Evulz-motivated cultist that literally wants to cause the apocalypse just because, means that wanting to wipe them out isn't exactly an unreasonable response given the info known.
  • In Killzone, the Helghast are portrayed as being Nazi-alikes that attacked the very America-like ISA, brutally fighting with war machines, super weapons and human experimentation. But reading into the backstory of the series shows that the Helghast got royally screwed by the ISA for decades before that point and during the series. Being left to fend for themselves on a Death World because of an ISA-backed Mega-Corp, having everything destroyed by the ISA just as they were building it up, having heavy sanctions and blockades placed on them by the ISA, having their planet blown up, being forced to relocate to the ISA homeworld and be treated like second class citizens, and there was a rouge ISA general that tried to start a war so he'd have an excuse to wipe them completely. All this combined with them just being so much cooler and more cunning than the overaggressive, bumbling ISA have contributed to a lot of fans Rooting for the Empire. The devs seem to be taking notice, as Shadow Fall has Graying Morality on both sides and gives a mission where you play as the Helghast hero Echo.
  • In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Master Eraqus may be a big anti-Darkness Knight Templar — as seen when he tries to kill two of his own pupils to end Master Xehanort's plans for them — but given the near-endless amount of Dark Is Evil in the series — and said pupils later having worse fates anyway — one can't help but find him Properly Paranoid.
  • STAG in Saints Row: The Third do some pretty extreme things to fight crime. That said, consider how much mayhem the Saints and the other gangs cause on a regular basis - enough to either appall or impress real-world terrorists. It's enough to make one wonder why the US government didn't try clamping down earlier.
  • General Damon in Valkyria Chronicles is Ambition Is Evil personified; he happily sends Squad 7 on suicidal missions as a meat shield for his own soldiers just to pad his own win-loss ratio. This comes to a head when he captures Selvaria, swooping in after the battle is over to take credit, and has her pistol-whipped to knock her out. Welkin and Alicia act like this is just the most horrible thing ever, but Damon counters with a pretty solid piece of logic: she's a Valkyria. The only safe way to take her alive is to do it while she's unconscious and unable to use her magic powers. When she regains consciousness, she uses those powers to detonate a castle and destroy the entire army in very short order.
    • Ditto Faldio, who spends most of the game being punished for awakening Alicia's Valkyria powers because he cared more about military power than the free will of a Gallian citizen. But, as he points out, if he hadn't done it, there would be no Gallia to fight for because it would have been conquered via the otherwise-unstoppable military power of a Valkyria. Everything about his character arc revolves around him committing this terrible act and eventually dying to redeem himself because of what a horrible thing it is to do, aligning itself with the "war is bad" themes of the story, but Gallia only survives the war because of what he did.
  • Warcraft III
    • During the "Culling of Stratholme", Arthas is informed that citizens of the town of Stratholme have eaten tainted food. This food has been cursed by the Legion to cause anyone to become undead after eating it. The response from Arthas is to kill all of the citizens before they become the undead. This is meant to be a Moral Event Horizon for the player (it's one in-universe for Uther and Jaina), and meant to be his Start of Darkness. The problem is that the situation was already beyond salvaging; if the paladins waited too long, the citizens would have ended up mindless undead slaves or killed by their infected neighbors anyway. Most of them had already begun to turn, and the few who hadn't were being cut down without mercy. Meanwhile, Uther offers no alternate solution to the problem, merely saying "there must be some other way" without even vaguely specifying what that other way is. It's known in-universe that there's no cure for undeath, so one wonders what else the paladins were supposed to do.
    • In the Frozen Throne expansion, Maiev is treated as becoming a Knight Templar for continuing to hunt down Illidan after he has atoned for his crimes. However, besides the crimes Illidan originally imprisoned for, he's also caused significant damage to the world and killed numerous Night Elves, including Maiev's second-in-command Naisha. And Illidan's "atonement" only amounted to saving Tyrande's life because he's in love with her. A more accurate condemnation would be leaving Tyrande to die and lying to Malfurion, saying she'd seen Tyrande ripped apart by the undead.
  • World of Warcraft: While Sylvanas raising the dead as Forsaken and invading Gilneas is fairly horrific, she does have a point that if more Forsaken aren't raised, they will eventually die out and the Horde will lose its hold on Lordaeron. Likewise, her argument that the Forsaken have a more valid claim to Lordaeron than the Alliance does make sense given that it was their home in life. The issue is muddied given that there are living Lordaeron refugees, including Garithos and his men, whom Sylvanas used and betrayed in "The Frozen Throne", and a quest involves an inheritance dispute between a man and his Forsaken brother (in the original version, Alliance players help the former and Horde players help the latter). It can thus be argued that both the Forsaken and the living refugees of Lordaeron have a legitimate claim to Lordaeron and are unfairly denying the other's claim.
    • From the other side, it's been asked whether the Forsaken dying out (which isn't the same as saying they should be exterminated) would really be a bad thing. This is treated as akin to genocide. But the Forsaken are unnaturally created with dark magic, many of them are needlessly cruel and their government openly performs horrific acts such as torture and experimentation on "enemies" note . Many of them claim to hate their current existence but have no qualms forcing it onto others for their own selfish reasons, and while it's true they need more soldiers to defend themselves from the numerous forces trying to destroy them, it's hard to feel sorry for them when they're the aggressors in nearly every conflict they're involved in. It should be noted that it was their attack that drove Gilneas to the Alliance. The nation was neutral at the time and potentially could have been allied with, but no diplomacy was attempted, even though they both have a curse and could have bonded over it. Notably, the other playable undead faction, the Knights of the Ebon Blade, mostly keep to themselves and no one seems to have a problem with them.
  • Mr. Hattrick in Bully wants to get Mr. Galloway fired because Galloway is an alcoholic who drinks during school hours. Galloway is supported by the students because he's one of the very few teachers at the incredibly dysfunctional school who is kind and genuinely tries to teach the students, while Hattrick is an asshole, a hypocrite, and a bribe-taking bully who's been mistreating Galloway the whole time the two men have been colleagues. (Which is part [not all, but part] of why Galloway's drinking has gotten so bad.) But... Hattrick is still absolutely right that Galloway's drinking is out of control, especially since Galloway drinks during class and hides booze all over the school. In real life, being fired would be the least of the consequences Galloway might face as a result of this. Likewise, many schools would (and do) forgive bribery and abuse of students in favor of sacking the alcoholic, even if he's the only teacher who's actually doing any teaching.
  • In Gears of War Judgment, Colonel Loomis is portrayed as being overzealous in his on-the-spot trial of Kilo Squad for their unauthorized use of the Lightmass Missile against Karn, and the game established Karn as being a serious threat in his own right in addition to being in command of the Locust forces attacking Halvo Bay. Colonel Loomis is presented in the wrong. But look at it from his perspective; Kilo Squad stole a weapon of mass destruction (low yield as it might have been comparatively, it still created a very large explosion) to deal with a threat that Loomis had only heard about from them, used said weapon against their own city in order to kill said threat, repeatedly defied direct orders to do so, and using the missile turned out to be completely unnecessary. Karn survived the blast unharmed, and you end up killing Karn on foot with five people in your squad. Not to mention, unauthorized use of military hardware is a serious crime in real life. Loomis is a General Failure and The Inquisitor General, and it was stupid to hold a trial in the middle of a warzone. But arresting Kilo Squad was entirely called for.
  • Pokémon:
    • In Pokémon Black and White, Team Plasma's position on the immorality of owning and fighting with Pokémon was a smidge too hypocritical to win many fans to their side, but does make the rest of the cast less likable, as few compelling or complete retorts are ever made.
    • During the Delta Episode in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Zinnia destroys Cozmo's link cable meant to get rid of the incoming meteor on the basis that a different dimension (implied to be the original Ruby and Sapphire) would be destroyed instead. Cozmo angrily retorts that Zinnia has no proof, which is entirely correct since she refuses to (or legitimately can't) provide evidence that she's right about the existence of sentient life in the other dimension, let alone that the meteor is guaranteed to cause it any damage.
  • Tales of Xillia 2 still has some members of the terrorist group Exodus. When they do cause destruction, it's often played up as being for no good reason. But when one thinks about it, they are trying to prevent peace between Elympios and Rieze Maxia, which is lead by Gaius, whose actions in the previous game were all done with the goal to eradicate life on Elympios (either by flat-out destroying the world or by indirect means) and has shown no open remorse for his previous actions to the open public. As it stands, the remnants of Exodus can be seen as trying to prevent peace with a man who could very well backstab them in the long run. The English version removes majority of these hints, causing them to lack this point and being nothing but terrorists for no reason.
  • Normality is a lighthearted example, taking place in a Crapsack World where fun is outlawed. (A parody of a dictatorship, sure, but a rather transparent way to run one.) Thing is, if Kent Knutson, the protagonist who is arrested for having fun is this society's idea of a fun guy, maybe they have something here. He's an idiot.
  • In Batman: Arkham City, it's treated as a given that the player, as Batman, will stop the League of Shadows' plan to wipe out all the criminals locked up in the titular prison a la Protocol 10. However, the Enemy Chatter portrays the criminals as Card Carrying Villains who are only kept in line by their fear of their even worse bosses. The game shows what horrible crimes (including poisoning thousands of civilians with the Joker's blood, just to motivate Batman to find a cure) the criminals can commit from inside the prison. The previous game showed that such therapy as exists serves only to get the therapists killed, maimed, traumatized or brainwashed by their criminal patients. And neither prison nor asylum can hold Gotham's supervillains for more than 6 months, letting them rack up another big body count before Batman stops them again. Given the lack of viable alternatives to protect the people of Gotham from Batman's rogue gallery, the League of Shadows' plan begins to sound reasonable. Oracle even asks if standing back and letting the League do its work would really be for the worse with Batman only shaking her from that train of thought by pointing out that there are political prisoners that are only there because of actions taken against the League rather than actual guilt of being criminals.
  • Taking from the above in a sense, there's the DLC adventure A Matter of Family for the videogame Batman: Arkham Knight. The cops who Batgirl rescues through the story (which happens shortly before the events of Batman: Arkham Asylum and those inspired by The Killing Joke) all beg and vouch for Batgirl to kill the Joker for the stuff he's done to them. This is obviously meant to be seen as a wrong mentality since Batman and his allies don't kill criminals...but when one sees all the stuff that the Joker has done (the secret story of the amusement park's owner and her daughter and what the Joker and Harley did to them is nothing short of horrifying) and will do in the future to Barbara in particular, and all the death, suffering and horror that would come out of them in general, it may have been better to follow their advice and finish him off before he set into motion all the events of the series.
  • Fan-made Pokémon Insurgence has this with Jaern, the Second Augur, when talking about the First Augur. Freely admitting that his actions can be seen as extreme, he points out that the First Augur did his job of eradicating the cults in the Torren region. But that said First Augur also decided to not punish cult members begging for forgiveness, which did nothing, as said cult members never learned anything and simply left to join a different cult, inflating the membership of said cult.
  • A rare example where the protagonist is the strawman in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II. At the beginning of the climax of the game when the group starts to assault the final dungeon of the main game, Rean asks why his sister is aboard the state-of-the-art airship of the empire, the Courageous. Elise claims that she's there to support her big brother and hopefully help motivate him to come back. Rean then starts making excuses that she shouldn't be there when the rest of the party, his sentient Humongous Mecha, the acting helmsman, and the acting captain of the ship are telling him to let her stay so that Rean will have someone to go back to. Except a: all of the people inside the Courageous are military students so they're hardly qualified to even pilot a ship belonging to the royal family and the only reason why they're there is to rescue the crown prince, b: Elise is pushing it as she's a civilian, has no military training, and can barely use a sword in a world where the adult enemies are some of the most dangerous characters in the series that even the protagonists can barely handle one round from them, and c: the Courageous isn't exactly a safe place as it's constantly under attack by the much larger ship, the Pantagruel. While Rean is an overprotective big brother who constantly worries over his sister, he isn't exactly wrong about Elise in that she is in one of the most dangerous places of the Civil War especially taking into account that she was kidnapped for a majority of the game. One of the many reasons why she's The Scrappy in the eyes of the fandom.
  • From World of Final Fantasy, there's the Bahamutian Federation and the Civic Rank system which could theoretically be easily made into something good. In a nutshell: do stuff to help society (running a business, cleaning up trash, and reporting crimes are all listed as options) and get rewarded, be a selfish prat and get punished. Granted, yes, the way the idea was being handled was bad (ie. condemning harmless old men to the slums because their health problems won't let them be helpful) and there are plenty of other reasons why the Federation is bad, such as sending monster armies to invade peaceful kingdoms. Oh, and of course the Civic Rank system isn't even real anyway, it's just an excuse to get people to give up their souls to the Big Bad while thinking they're being helpful to their community. Still, there could be decent arguments made for the Civic Rank being a really good idea if it was handled better.


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