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  • Examining Causes Of Conflict In Narrative

    - Gregory Pellechi

  • Conflict Cause 2 - Differing Methodologies or Philosophies

    If you've ever worked as part of a team then you've inevitably experience this form of conflict to some degree or another. Any time we're planning to do something with another person it's easy for this sort of conflict to arise - all because we each have an idea of how something should be done. When grocery shopping, do you start in the closest section or go for bigger, heavier items first so they're at the bottom of the cart. Do you get frozen and cold products last or as you come to those aisles? You may want to just start in while your partner wants a more systematic approach to loading your cart. Instant conflict of methodologies.

    Batman and I disagree on a lot of things. Namely how he uses his time and resources to fight crime. He fights crime at a low level rather than using his billions and his business to remedy the causes of inequality as well as systemic issues to leave crime as the only alternative for people in need. Whereas he wants to punch them till they stop.

    Neither method can be seen to reduce crime immediately. In part because Batman is only working to apprehend criminals after the fact, and my method is about providing people better opportunities so crime isn't considered an option. Using one's fist may be immediately satisfying whereas combating the causes and not the symptoms is smarter economically but not as kinetically satisfying.

    Games do often offer a variety of philosophies or methods to completing a task. Simulation and strategy games are prime examples, but the variety of ways for players to interact doesn't mean there's a conflict. Rather that's left to the story in a game. We see competing methodologies or philosophies occur in a number of ways through games.

    The first would be through the antagonist. Professor X and Magento have opposing philosophies and methodologies throughout the majority of the X-men comics, cartoons and movies. Both want acceptance and to live free, but one wants to do that through peaceful means and the other by fighting. Of course there are times when both Professor X and Magneto encounter a mutual adversary, aligning them so they are more rivals rather than antagonists. With the new party taking the place of antagonist. See William Stryker from X-2 for example. Thus, rivals are the second way we see this conflict arise.

    In the case of rivals neither party is necessarily characterized as evil or bad. Rather they're each competing for the same thing. And we see this in every genre. Romance stories with multiple suitors. Action and Comedy has characters chasing a McGuffin. Thrillers and capers with criminals going after the same target. There are countless examples of this very thing. Oddly, the example that jumps to mind for me first is the Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad flick, Jingle All The Way. Make of that what you will.

    In games we see conflicts between philosophies and methodologies most often occur between party members in RPGs. The Baldur's Gate series and most Bioware RPGs have this mechanic to some degree or another. Some of them make it so if you have particular party members than you can't have others. In other games if your team's reputation is too high or low then you can't group with potential party members.

    Dating Sims are the other big time when differing methodologies and philosophies are causes of conflicts. Of course it's never seen in such a light, rather it's a matter of saying the wrong thing, making the wrong decision and you'll deny yourself one of the potential romantic partners. But that's because they are meant to have disagreed with you on a philosophical level. Or... it's a result of our third cause of conflicts.


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