KOTOR was different, though, and I felt a bit squeamish the first time I looted a corpse. And then once I burgled every single apartment in an entire complex, but I didn't feel guilty until I entered a room with someone in it, and she told me to leave or die. I think I threw a grenade at her.
I'm currently playing KOTOR for the first time and when I broke into an apartment on Taris and found a family with a little girl cowering behind the furniture, begging me to take their things and go without hurting them, I was a little taken aback. I wanted to play as a mostly good guy and robbing them just didn't seem right. But I robbed them anyway because this is an RPG and looting is expected of me.
That's one of my problems with RPGs, looting is such an intrinsic part of the experience that they shove it into pretty much every RPG regardless of whether it makes sense or not. In Fallout it makes some sense, it's a post-apocalyptic world so it's not unreasonable to expect to find valuable items lost in the rubble. But in games like KOTOR where there's a functioning society and a vibrant economy, things shouldn't be so dependent on looting. You should perform tasks to earn money to buy weapons, that makes the most sense in that sort of setting. But when the Mass Effect games started moving in that direction, some people started complaining that those games weren't true RPGs any more. Because apparently to some people role-playing isn't about playing a role and shaping the story, it's about looting and equipping fractionally better items.
Although the Diablo
series didn't invent this, I would say it perfected that particular paradigm, and a lot of Western RPGs (perhaps even most) have mimicked its equipment model to some degree. Kill creatures, get loot, kill creatures, get loot, get a rare drop, equip it, kill more powerful creatures, get loot, etc. etc. It can be a lot of fun if done well, perhaps due to its highly Skinnerian design, but it is a bit too prevalent for my tastes.
Games where you loot houses instead of monsters are basically doing the same thing but with a slightly different mechanism. Instead of killing creatures to get loot, you raid people's houses, forcing you to go from town to town in search of better gear laying around people's homes, or at least junk that's of no use but that you can sell for cash (and use to buy better gear.)