Most games nowadays will offer you two paths and respective incentives for choosing either one.
As a gameplay mechanic it helps immerse you in the world and make you feel like you have an impact.
But there's something deeper I think that choice in gaming gives you, that no other art medium could offer.
Take a game like Bioshock. Avoiding spoilers, a recurring mechanic in the game is the save/sacrifice of the little sisters you encounter on your journey. You can either save them and get less adam, or sacrifice and get more. What does either choice reveal about you the person in general? Are you a heartless monster for sacrificing a little girl, or a saint for saving her?
Obviously, most people will choose not to kill a little girl in real life, regardless of whichever decision you choose. Why so? Because our brains can differentiate between reality and fiction -- at least most of us can.
But let's take a look at a game like Telltale's the Walking Dead. While avoiding all spoilers, the main
purpose of the game is to make hard decisions in life or death scenarios. Many of these choices are very realistic and have a small time window to decide. This taps into the very basic, primitive instincts of our being to show us what kind of a person we are. Many of the choices made within the game could very well be choices we'd make in real life, given the situation.
So the question is, what is the purpose of the choice mechanic? Is it just a tool for immersion, or is it something deeper, more profound and perhaps startling. Is it designed to show us our true selves and how we actually are. Going off of this definition, does this make the choice dynamic in The Walking Dead much more effective than something more arbitrary, like in Bioshock?
Maybe this will start a discussion, or crash and burn. I don't know.
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