Are games an indulgence of fantasy, a chance to run over civilians in Grand Theft Auto, explore polygamy in Fable or travel the galaxy as commander Shepherd in pink armor? Or are they a chance to further cement your own convictions and ideals by putting yourself in an extraordinary situation?
My good friend would play Mass Effect through the eyes of the hardened, no-nonsense marine he created in his imagination. By "role-playing" he saw each decision through his predetermined character's eyes. He made hard decisions without flinching and sometimes that meant punching a pushy female reporter in the mouth or leaving a useless teammate to die.
Same thing with Skyrim. If a quest required killing for revenge or malice it was dropped, forever left in limbo on the quest menu, left for another play through. While embodying his Spellsword Breton, he similarly took on the morality and disposition of this character.
No respect for the undead these days
Another friend plays games like Fable and Oblivion only making the "good" choices. He is constantly a paragon of justice because that is the most heroic option in his mind. To him, videogames are a playground for heroes, righting wrongs and basking in the praise and adoration of the people (NPC's). His characters have no defects in their golden armour, no character flaws or messy friendly-fire, if so he will restart from the latest save.
I'm different. Regardless of the game or my character's class, I make decisions and dialogue options according to what feels right for me. My role-playing is being able to put myself into incredible situations, ie. commanding a spaceship or killing dragons, and playing out my natural reactions and emotions. Sometimes that means "failing" a secondary objective, other times that means I accidently kill a companion in the heat of battle.
And if I choose to kill that imperial because I am a stormcloak, it's because I identify with the rebel faction's cause. Even if I create a second playthrough, I can't bring myself to change my own ideals, or take myself out of the experience and put on a different character.
Is this wrong? Am I missing out on a crucial part of playing videogames? Do we gain anything from "being ourselves"? Or should we be creating a fleshed out avatar to travel the virtual world in our stead?