Tea Leaves has a good article about the lack of non-violent options in computer games. The point I like best is that RPG narrative is heavily limited because you're only rewarded for killing things.
One exception I hadn't seen before is Harvest Moon, a farming RPG. You pull weeds, plant crops, and try to marry someone in your town. The intro to the SNES game is charming - "how to play" features scenes of you breaking rocks and removing stumps. The screenshot above is the village church. I love the idea of a Japanese corporation earnestly making a cute simulation of agrarian Europe.

Props to the SNES emulation community for making it so easy to see these old games. There are lots of good SNES emulators. SNES9x is a well behaved Windows app; ZSNES is funkier but has better realism for video and sound emulation.

As seen on games.slashdot
  2003-10-16 16:47 Z