Decisions

Originally posted on tumblr March 14, 2012 Decision making is essentially what separates games from other media.

Aside from choosing to consume books, films or music, or decisions are limited to that one action.

Playing Steins;Gate, a visual novel, is what has led me to think more about decision making in games.

For a long time I wouldn’t even have used the word “playing” with something like Steins;Gate. I would have said “reading”.

And that seems at first to be the obvious way of treating such a game.

Steins;Gate is mostly reading.

The game has a massive amount of text and very few decisions to make. But these decisions end up being so critical and they are presents in such a way that it makes me, the player, feel like I am making the decisions for myself and not the main character.

Today while playing I had to make the decision to answer my phone or not.

This does no sound exciting.

But thanks to the excellent writing that the game has, I knew what the phone call would be. And I knew that I did no want to hear what the other character had to say. It would be painful. It would be gut wrenching.

And it was.

This was after perhaps a couple of hundred lines of dialog since my last choice. It felt so important. It actually felt like the decision that I was about make had serious weight to it

The decision and its consequences were entirely mine.