Why Choices Matter

Choices play an integral part in Telltale's games [Image via SFP]
Choices play an integral part in Telltale’s games [Image via SFP]
We all have to make choices in our lives. Maybe you only have time to watch one episode of any anime and you need to decide which one to watch, or maybe you need to decide whether you want to study for that test the next day or go out clubbing with your friends. In any case, some decisions may be more important than others. How, then, does this reflect in games where your decisions determine the path in which the storyline goes? The Walking Dead, Telltale Games’ hit game, is a perfect example of this. If you have not played it yet, I highly recommend that you do. The game does a great job at making you second guess your choices, hoping that you made the right one.

So recently I’ve been playing a lot of RPG games, such as Deus Ex Human Revolution, where you need to make choices throughout the game. While playing it got me thinking: “what influences the choices we make in video games?” Most of the time, though, our own moral and value system is the one that defines the choices we make not only in life, but in video games as well. If there is a point in a game where you choose who lives and who dies how would you make your decision? Do you place the characters in context to the events leading up to that point in the game or do you base your decision on your own personal feelings towards the character? There was a point in The Walking Dead where I had to choose whether one of the characters lived or died and I felt very bad about my decision afterwards because I contemplated whether it was the right thing to do or not.

The choices you make in Human Revolution not only apply to dialogue, but also whether you kill or knock out your enemies
The choices you make in Human Revolution not only apply in dialogue sequences, but also whether you decide to kill or knock out your enemies

The point I’m trying to make here is that video games can help to give us a good reflection of our own moral compass. Now this isn’t to say that making good choices makes you a good person and making bad choices makes you a bad person, there are also times when people make decisions contrary to their own moral system. This is probably because the game gives them a platform in which to do the things they wouldn’t normally do in real life. Personally, I tend to make decisions based on my own morals and values i.e. good choices.

The Witcher series is also a great example where the choices you make affect the game world [Image via Kotaku]
The Witcher series is also a great example where the choices you make affect the game world [Image via Kotaku]
So why do choices matter? It’s because it affects not only our own lives, but the lives of those around us. Whatever choices we make, be that in the real world or in video games, we need to think hard and carefully about them because you may not get the same opportunity again to change your decision.

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