RAW FEED: Bioshock and the illusion of choice

Bioshock and the illusion of choice

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  • $36060516

    Thoughtful analysis, Sofie. For a second at the end there I thought you were going to say “go to my Patreon, would you kindly?” One of the reasons this illusion of choice is a thing in contemporary games is because they are so expensive and time consuming to produce. Each major change in the storyline by player choice causes the need to create more 3D graphics to tell that story. And if there are more changes further on, the expensive changes start adding up with the need to account for all of the possibilities. It seems to me that the only way a game could offer a lot of really significant player choices that affect the story in profound ways would be in a text adventure, where all the graphics are in the player’s imagination.

    • Sofie Liv

      It’s a wasted joke oppertunity for sure.

      Well, even in text adventures the outcomes will still be what ever the author wrote down, of course you can make many more variations for a lot less afford, but ultimately, it’s still what ever the author wrote.
      Like those roleplay books you used to be able to buy where you could take choices throughout the book and then had to go to the page described based on your choice.

      I am not saying this is a bad thing at all, it’s just an interesting thought.
      Oh and it’s not a contemporary thing at all, games has been trying to make choice matters for a very long time, the oldest game I have played is indeed “Chrono Trigger.” which was originally made for the NES and actually have multiple end scenarios based on what you choose to do throughout the game. Yes not just two… Multiple, and that was a game concieved for the NES!

      The Gaming exsperience is all about the interactive exsperience, which is what makes it different from movies, you get to control the figure and go through obstacles yourself, and of course gaming developers would want to exspand further on that and see what they would be able to do to exspand on this mechanic that is in the core of gaming.

      Some gamers, a lot of gamers, are lead to believe they have full control over a game because of this, and the advertisement… I mean seriously, TellTale games REALLY makes it sound like you have total control when in fact… you don’t..
      Still a good game, I highly enjoyed it, to me it felt like a really good story book, I liked it.

      In fact i’m going to say, the more a game makes you think you have control, the better it is, because well… The feeling as manipulative it is, is still extremely engaging.
      And heck! What kind of entertainment isn’t manipulative?! movies are all about manipulation emotions and make you believe characters are real so we can feel for it.
      And do we buy into it?! Hells yeah we do, it’s good entertainment XD

      I just find it to be interesting that’s all… And also funny how Bioshock infinite starts on the message about. “You have infinite choices.” when that’s the one bioshock game where you had NO choice in how the ending scene was going to be..
      Infinite is a great game, but it is kind of over ambetious to so ones you start thinking deeper over some of the things you kind of go “Zuh?” …. more on that when we reach that game.

      • Jonathan Campbell

        I’ll confess that I owned Bioshock but never played it. Well, I played it A BIT, up to around the crazy plastic surgeon and a bit after, but I was getting less and less interested in games around this time.

        Spoilered the ending years ago though. I’ve got a bad, bad habit of reading spoilers for stories I’m interested in even when I don’t play the game / read the book / watch the show or movie.

        I am bad person.

        • danbreunig

          No you not. Some people rather go into an artwork blind in order to appreciate the full effect more (some won’t look at movie lengths for that surprise factor, while I always see how much running time is left to appreciate the pacing). More often than not I find just enough spoilage worthwhile to make the work more rewarding.

          Especially with reading a story. The first thing I’ll do is go straight to the end and read the very last line, paragraph, or page–then I’ll go to the very beginning and read it properly. That way I’m full of intrigue and anticipation to see how the story will be all the more significant to lead up to that ending note.

          e.g. “…And he went on, and there was yellow light, and fire within; and the evening meal was ready, and he was expected. And Rose drew him in, and set him in his chair, and put little Elanor upon his lap. He drew a deep breath. ‘Well, I’m back,’ he said.” — [jumps all the way 1000+ pages back to the start of LOTR, and saying to self:] “Wow, now I want to know everything that happened that resulted in this final moment!” [ardently starts reading]

          You no bad person. (Moderately) spoil away, if it makes your experience all the more pleasant.

          • Sofie Liv

            You are both terrible people :C

            Don’t you know part of the fun is the sheer anticipation?! And the best kind of plot twist are the plot twists that leaves you with two different stories!
            The story you thought you had, before the plot twist, and the story in how the twist changed it…. hopefully in a positive way.

            The best kind of plot twist is the one which makes the viewer/Reader/Gamer what ever go. “Ooooooh, that makes sense! I can’t believe I didn’t catch that earlier, it was there all along.”
            And then it gives everything that happened a new deeper meaning.

            Like Harry potter! There are two different Harry Potter series, the one you read the first time, and the one you read ones you have already ready through it ones and are aware of the twists and outcomes, then there are SO many small details to explore and discover anew. Snape for instance, man! Everything he does, has compleately new meaning now. It’s so cool!

            And nothing beats having that exsperience of just sitting there and being so involved in something great, and then it smacks you from behind with a twist like that, that is obvious in retrospect, but doesn’t leave it all empty just adds extra dimensions to it.

            I love story telling as an artform, I want people to be engrossed an enthralled by it, going on a travel and then exsperience all the twist and turns first hand so you can go on an emotional journey as well as a visuel one!

          • Jonathan Campbell

            @danbreuning: No, I don’t moderately spoil. I end up reading almost everything.

            @Sofie Liv: Pff. Saw Snape coming a MILE away.

            I can’t help it. I keep looking up stuff to see if I’ll like it, and then when I look it up I start to get interested in the story and I’ll just keep reading ONE MORE SPOILER and before you know it I’ve read the whole thing.

            I have a problem.

            Its getting better; I don’t do that anymore.

            As much. <_<

          • danbreunig

            Now, that hurt. >:( After all these discussions these few past years and actually hearing you Sofie tell me directly I’m terrible…because I want to know the last %3000 of a written story before diving in… Hmf, what’s next, that I don’t count as a musician because I watch my fingers on the frets or sticks on the kit while I physically play? Gut aching…

            Okay, I know you’re not really being vicious, just stating your perspective of how to enjoy a story. And I stated mine: that’s it’s no problem for me to know that final line–which is far more important to me than knowing the very first line.

            “Empty! She’s gone!…The miracle of miracles…? [door slams] >
            “Hide the Christmas tree away carefully, Helene.”
            Last and first lines (English version) of Ibsen’s A Doll House.

            My thought at the time first reading that play is the same feeling: “I wonder what all happens to lead up to the last moment and make it all the more significant?”

            That doesn’t ruin the experience of enjoying a new story for me–just the opposite, it engages me and sucks me in even more. Here I’m mostly talking about written fiction–that’s not something I do with movies, shows, songs or games. YES, I’m a story-lover as much as anyone else, I love twists and extensions to plots, and seeing characters in and out of their element given the situation. I get all those sensations you describe, even though I know the final line ahead of time. No, it won’t ruin the experience for me.

            We all don’t experience art in the exact same fashion or degree, even though we can all to some extent experience the same art at the same moment. Different perspectives, different approaches, same amount and level of enjoyment of the same art.

            I hope that didn’t come off as defensive, I’m just trying to explain myself better.