I've been playing a little Warcraft III recently, half because it's a great game that I've wanted to replay several times, and half to remind myself of the recent Warcraft storyline in preparation for World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. I've finished up the human campaign, the undead campaign, and half of the orc campaign. And this reminded me of something I've thought of several times: I almost never like playing the "bad guys" in games.
I wonder why that is? In previous Warcraft games, I only liked the humans. In Warcraft III, I only like the Alliance and the night elves, though the undead aren't too bad. In Starcraft I played the Terrans and the Protoss. In Knights of the Old Republic I prefer the Light side jedis. In Dune games I'm always the Atreides first, though I always enjoy playing the other Houses later. In Command and Conquer Generals, I don't like playing the terrorists. And so forth.
It's not because I like to side with the good guys, either, or at least I tell myself that. And in many games the designers try to add good and evil characteristics to all sides, so things are a little more grey and a little more blurry... but inevitably one side ends up looking more evil than the rest. It could be that the good guys tend to have the prettier people, military units, buildings, and so forth. (That's a whole cultural thing on its own...) So, maybe I just gravitate toward whichever side looks prettier.
In writing this, the only exception that immediately came to mind was that in the main Command and Conquer series, I liked playing the GDI good guys and the terrorist organization, the Brotherhood of Nod, pretty equally. Both sides have lots of high-tech gadgets to play with. The bad guys are actually the "prettier" side in C&C.
Maybe it's not me. Maybe the designers of games have a subconscious desire to make playing the good guys more appealing. Or perhaps I just like my gaming experience to be aesthetically pleasing above all else, so I pick the nice-looking sides. Or I just like the sides with high-tech gadgets to play with. I don't really know. But it's certainly a trend.