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Consequences in Games: Execution

May 20, 2008

Be sure to play the game 2x. I was winning until I lost.


6 Comments leave one →
  1. Malcolm Ryan permalink
    May 20, 2008 7:36 pm

    The discussion in the forum is interesting. Not so much for what is said, but more for the fact that a significant number of people seem to resent the existence of a game with a moral agenda. “Video games are to escape reality not to reflect on it.”

  2. May 20, 2008 11:07 pm

    Don’t read this if you don’t want it spoiled…

    This game was nerve wracking to say the least. It said there were consequences, so I immediately started worrying about what the consequences were. Would the game try to scare me like those cheap flash games with a screaming demon? Would the game make my computer shut down or give me a virus (or at least threaten to)? I shot everything else in the world with the gun until I realized none of it was interactive and it was just me staring down the scope at the guy tied to the post. “So, it’s just you and me”, I thought and the stranger tied to the post didn’t even blink. I stared at the monitor for ten minutes listening to the wind blow and the occasional tumble weed rolled by. My nerves were on edge. Then with the push of a button, I realized I had won! Hooray!

    I then restarted the game and immediately shot him in the head without giving it any real thought because… well, that’s what you’re supposed to do… right? The screen faded to black to slowly hide his bloody, slumped over body rendered with all the detail one can muster in MS Paint. My computer didn’t shut down and I didn’t get a virus, but I felt dissatisfied and hollow inside. I guess there really were consequences for losing.

  3. danwilkins permalink
    May 23, 2008 7:23 pm

    This game brings me back to when people were talking about YHTBTR (You Have To Burn The Rope.)

    It’s a great commentary on how things are in games right now; or the lack of how they are.

    –Spoilers After this Point–

    When I loaded the game up, I panned around to see what the whole scene consisted of, and then simply shot the poor guy. I think some of my haste in popping some rounds into him was partially due to Brenda, saying “play it twice.” I wanted to see the “alternate”.

    So, of course, I literally laughed out loud when I realized once the fella was dead, he stays dead.

    This is a great point on games these days, and the lack thereof of meaningful choices. Even in the same franchise, over the years things change.

    Rainbow 6, for instance. In the original, if your plan was poor, and a hostage died or your controlled player died, you lost the mission and had to start over at the beginning. If one of your teammates died, you could not use them for the rest of the game.

    Now take something like Rainbow 6: Vegas. Die? Not a problem, you get loaded up at the last checkpoint, which is often not more than 5 minutes of gameplay behind.

    Theres no sense of action/reaction.

    I completely fell for this game’s trap. Well done.

  4. May 25, 2008 11:23 am

    I won this on my first try. Thanks for the link.

    –Spoilers After this Point–
    I tried shooting the tumbleweed, the shadow, the off-colored bricks in the wall, and the bits of rope restraining the dude. When none of that did anything, I backed off and got the “good ending.”

    I then played again just to see how much work went into the other ending.

    I suppose the difference between this and more sophisticated, less preachy games involving moral choices is that they don’t necessarily impose their author’s morality on the player. Would this have been a better “game” if it didn’t have the explicit “you win” vs. “you lose” endings? I’d rather games let me experience the consequence of my actions firsthand, and be given enough information to judge whether my decisions were morally sound or not, rather than be simply told I did something right or I did something wrong. What if this little dude, despite the innocent look on his face, deserved to die?

  5. altug permalink
    May 27, 2008 8:35 pm

    For a moment, let’s accept the idea that people might deserve to die, and build up on this. What if this innocent looking little dude deserves to die ‘more than once’, or, put in other words, if death would be “way too grateful to let him go”? Could you think of a version of this game where you would like to shoot the guy over and over again, because he deserves a million times to die ( “unfortunately” you can’t torture him)? And it FRUSTRATES you to find him dead when you come back to play for a second time, because that was exactly why you came back, to kill him again? And what could you add to this scenario to make the player realize something about grudge for instance? Maybe making him question his thought that some people might deserve to die. How would you set up the whole thing to help the player gain insight about the “deserved death” issue?

    Also let’s stress this “innocence look” thing. Some just look innocent, while others ARE innocent, right? So I do wonder if players would for example beat a baby (=innocence?) to make it stop crying. Imagine the same scene like in “Execution”. But we have a bed with a baby on it and it’s constantly crying. At the beginning the following info blends in: “Find the hidden door to the kitchen and get some milk for the little.” What the player doesn’t know is that there isn’t such door and the crying gets louder as we search for it. Also Imagine the pointer turning into a hand when it moves over the baby. You can click and “drag” the baby when the pointer turns into a hand. Gently… but also wild if you wish, as you would discover after a while. You could shake it, throw it at the wall etc. Would you stop playing?

    Let me just add that this baby scenario itself as a game is unethical and politically incorrect. Since the movie Saw, we have this strange phenomenon where people are fascinated to see these poor guys put into the most inhuman conditions and when they go nuts and start to cut off the stomachs of others we say “see, this is our true nature, our darker side, I knew we all were psychos.”

    The question is: Can we really judge ethics or come to conclusions about the human condition through “biased” or “one-dimensional” game mechanisms?

    Beyond that also this question remains alive: When exactly does a game make us feel guilty for using one of it’s mechanism? At which point does this mechanism suddenly surface onto reality, alienating us from our action because we start to think that even if it’s just a game we shouldn’t do it. What is so discusting or demoralizing when this surfacing happens? Are there clearly identifiable techniques or patterns in creating game mechanisms that make this “surfacing onto reality” guaranteed happen and can we be sure that they result into “learning to do the right thing”?

  6. Pedro Pinto permalink
    June 20, 2008 7:34 pm

    I played the game but i think its flawed, at least in theory, because once you accept to play the game you can’t win unless you quit the game (therefore winning for not killing the fictional character) Am i right?
    At first i looked around trying to figuring out was i supposed to do in the game…after some 4 or 5 minutes and with everything else pierced i shoot the poor man, and i lost :s
    Lastly i don’t think it is a game because it break the game rule: “the answer is inside”
    What is your opinion?

    A Portuguese Game Designer “in the making”,
    Pedro Pinto

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