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Thread: Video Games...Discuss Them

  1. #30851
    Sunrise, Sunset Wryan's Avatar
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    Until Dawn also springs to mind.
    "How is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home wine-making course and forgot how to drive?"

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  2. #30852
    The Pan megladon8's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Wryan (view post)
    I didn't play it, but what about that Detroit game?
    Haven't played it either, but Heavy Rain (the developer's previous game) touted massive choice and whatnot, but no matter what the ending is the same.
    I know writers who use subtext and they're all cowards.

  3. #30853
    The Pan megladon8's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Wryan (view post)
    Until Dawn also springs to mind.
    Yeah that's a good one. I mean, I don't think the plot changes much, but allegedly you can have any combination of the protagonists live/die by the end (including all or none).
    I know writers who use subtext and they're all cowards.

  4. #30854
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Wryan (view post)
    I didn't play it, but what about that Detroit game?
    and Heavy Rain

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  5. #30855
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Pretty much all the Quantic Dream/David Cage games?

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  6. #30856
    [QUOTE=megladon8;634272]My memory isn't so hot at the best of times, but have there ever been any games that tout player choice with branching paths and real in game consequences that actually delivered?

    Just thinking back, all of the games I can think of that advertised this heavily (most BioWare stuff, Fallout, Deus Ex) it was all really just window dressing, and and end game was always the same.

    Anyone recall any titles where you can actually drastically change the outcome of the characters or stories?
    Witcher II. The story radically differs depending on a choice you must make about half way through.

    Notice that CDR never did this again, haha. It's too much work for too little return (the same reason why there's no real mechanical difference in difficulty settings in most games).

  7. #30857
    Does Bandersnatch count?

    Oh, and Telltale games.

  8. #30858
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Telltale, Until Dawn, and Detroit all had very different endings based on decisions.

    I wouldn't play Detroit again just because there's a lot of repetition at the beginning until it really branches out, but there are many routes.

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  9. #30859
    The Pan megladon8's Avatar
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    Do the Telltale games actually have different endings and paths?

    I thought you were just kind of playing through a visual novel.
    I know writers who use subtext and they're all cowards.

  10. #30860
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    i think the main outcome might be the same, but your decisions effect who lives and who dies.

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  11. #30861
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Dukefrukem (view post)
    i think the main outcome might be the same, but your decisions effect who lives and who dies.
    This.

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  12. #30862
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    The appeal of games like Deus Ex and others in that mold (Thief, System Shock, Dishonored, etc.) is "player choice" as it pertains to systems-driven gameplay (collectively, a subgenre sometimes referred to as "immersive sims"). System Shock 2 for example gives you a choice of starting classes that affects which abilities you can use, and how you're able to progress through the map and tackle enemy encounters (e.g. a soldier will be able to use heavy weapons and blow stuff up, a hacker will be able to re-program enemy turrets, etc.). The plot twists don't change, but the player experience can be radically different on subsequent playthroughs (what is commonly referred to as "emergent gameplay"). I think a lot of the "story consequences" stuff was popularized recently by stuff like BioShock and Mass Effect and the market's obsession with lite RPG mechanics and "morality systems" which were just binary good/bad choices (Dishonored is a good example of this, since it has two different endings based entirely on how much "chaos" you caused in the world, i.e. your kill count). That's more of a cRPG tradition (Fallout, Wasteland, etc.) but even then actual branching paths in a story like you're describing is pretty rare. In the original Wasteland, for example, your actions do have consequences, but not really on the story. You can radically affect the outcome of a village like Highpool, but even if the town is abandoned, it doesn't change the story; it just means you can't go to Highpool anymore to heal at the hospital. Like Irish said, examples here are few and far between precisely because it's so much work for so little return; "story" content is expensive to produce, especially with the production values expected in today's market.

    The only recent game I can think of that does something like this, with genuine branching paths, is the second Black Ops game in the Call of Duty franchise. That one is neat because the plot and even which missions you have available can change based on your actions, and not even in deliberately scripted "make a choice here" moments (though those also exist) but even in terms of mission success. There's one mission where you're trying to rescue somebody from one of the secondary villains, and if you succeed, the villain dies and the story progresses as normal. But if you fail that mission, you don't reload a checkpoint; the villain simply escapes, and you unlock a new mission to attempt a second rescue mission on an enemy compound, and that villain is still alive and continues to appear throughout the game, even in cutscenes. It's pretty impressive given the production scope of a Call of Duty game, but like with CDPR and The Witcher, Activision never attempted this again and immediately went back to linear, scripted "cinematic" campaigns. The amount of work to actually do story stuff like that is ridiculous.
    Last edited by Stay Puft; 02-21-2021 at 10:07 PM.
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  13. #30863
    White Tiger Field Stay Puft's Avatar
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    Oh, I thought of another good example: Obsidian's Alpha Protocol.

    I haven't played any of Obsidian's more recent games (I kinda fell out of gaming for a long time), but they were always a much more interesting developer to me than their closest contemporaries (BioWare, who exemplified the "morality systems" obsession games had with Mass Effect and the like; and Bethesda, whose recent Fallout and Elder Scrolls games are shallow RPGs that barely resemble their earlier cRPG counterparts, and excel rather at their massively interactive and immersive worlds). Alpha Protocol is similar to Mass Effect in a lot of ways but has a much better dialogue system and more nuaunced role-playing systems; again, the story itself doesn't really change much (the last cutscene is always the same, just with different characters depending on who you allied with and who survives) but the last level specifically plays out quite differently depending on everything you do in the game. Basically, it's not so much how the story changes, but how much of the "truth" you actually discover (a clever way to get around the production costs of crafting entirely different story branches, and thematically suitable for a game in the spy genre). You can play through the entire game without discovering one of your potential allies is a double agent. You can have a different "final boss" encounter in the final level depending on how far down the rabbit hole you were able to go, how many contacts you made, how much intel you discovered about your former boss, etc. And that last level again plays quite differently depending on how many allies or contacts you have at that point in the game (you can have many, or none) and also whether or not you choose to even betray your former boss or return to the fold (or even whether or not the "villain" in the game wants to kill you at that point, or actively tries to recruit you to his cause). In terms of gameplay and branching paths, it's much more successful and offers a lot more plot/character options and reactivity than the other aforementioned examples.
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  14. #30864
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Oh that's a good one. pLayed that years ago.

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  16. #30866
    The Pan megladon8's Avatar
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    I know writers who use subtext and they're all cowards.

  17. #30867
    "...to teach players, subconsciously or not, that achieving romance with another person is a factor of correct choices—that the right inputs can always be relied upon to produce the desired outputs—is an ugly side effect..."

    That's like criticizing Street Fighter because down, right, X always results in a hadouken. If you play well, you achieve your goals. Outside of the art house, those are the rules of video games. Sure it's unrealistic, but let's be honest -- romance options are almost never a highlight in any game.

  18. #30868
    The Pan megladon8's Avatar
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    Video games are fantasy. If a player is unable to separate what is OK in games from what is OK in real life, that is on the player not the developer.

    You're a lonely person who can't get a date, and go to video games to escape reality only to be rejected in games too? Yeah, that sounds great.

    Stuff like this assumes that people have zero personal agency or accountability.

    This comes from the same line of thinking as people who want sex robots to be able to reject their owners.

    Rubbish.
    I know writers who use subtext and they're all cowards.

  19. #30869
    Quote Quoting megladon8 (view post)
    This comes from the same line of thinking as people who want sex robots to be able to reject their owners
    Uhm .... what?

  20. #30870
    The Pan megladon8's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    Uhm .... what?
    Just do a Google search, there's tons of stuff out there. People pushing for sex robots to be afforded human rights, and given subprograms that allow them to enter what is called a "dummy state" (don't move, react or...ummm..lubricate) if they are feeling like their owner is being too aggressive.

    It's insane.
    I know writers who use subtext and they're all cowards.

  21. #30871
    Quote Quoting megladon8 (view post)
    Just do a Google search, there's tons of stuff out there. People pushing for sex robots to be afforded human rights, and given subprograms that allow them to enter what is called a "dummy state" (don't move, react or...ummm..lubricate) if they are feeling like their owner is being too aggressive.

    It's insane.
    Me: "Siri, do robot hookers have autonomy?"
    My FBI Agent, calling their supervisor over: "Sir, that MatchCut pervert is up to no good again."

    So not gonna search.

    But I do have so many questions tho ... How/why do you know this? Why would anyone take a hypothetical like that seriously, given our current level of technology? Or is it only meant to be a thought experiment?

  22. #30872
    I'm not gonna search either, but for some reason I feel compelled to point out this may or may not be a human/robot rights issue. The thrill of the chase (i.e. the potential for rejection) is ingrained in us as sexual beings. Take that away, and a sex robot isn't much different than a flesh light/dildo. Add back in the possibility of failure and you get the sex plus the conquest.

    EDIT: Bringing this back around to video games, Tifa from FF7 may respond in the desired way if you use the right input, and reject Cloud's advances if you don't. It's the same for the robots. No matter the sub-routines, at this point in AI development no robot is going to say "sorry hun I have a headache tonight" of their own accord despite you pressing all the right buttons, so to speak.
    Last edited by Idioteque Stalker; 02-22-2021 at 10:31 PM.

  23. #30873
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    It's Canada man. Shit gets freaky up there.

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  24. #30874
    The Pan megladon8's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    Me: "Siri, do robot hookers have autonomy?"
    My FBI Agent, calling their supervisor over: "Sir, that MatchCut pervert is up to no good again."

    So not gonna search.

    But I do have so many questions tho ... How/why do you know this? Why would anyone take a hypothetical like that seriously, given our current level of technology? Or is it only meant to be a thought experiment?
    It was literally on the front page of IGN like 6 months ago.
    I know writers who use subtext and they're all cowards.

  25. #30875
    The Pan megladon8's Avatar
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    Are you guys being sarcastic, or do you actually have such overinflated senses of self importance that you think the FBI is watching YOU and what YOU search for?

    I'm not meaning to sound snarky or rude, but this idea has always befuddled me.

    Unless you're looking up CP or how to build bombs at home, why they hell do you care if what you are searching for is being watched? But even more importantly...why do you think anyone, anywhere cares what you are searching for?
    I know writers who use subtext and they're all cowards.

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