All choices in video games are illusions, conjured in such a way to give the player the appearance of power and agency. Ultimately, all software is limited by its hardware. While seemingly infinite configurations are possible, the deliminator is always the player’s perceptions, not the code itself.
Thus, there really is No Choice. No matter using spacebar to jump or moving around with the arrow keys, the final outcome is predetermined.
2 thoughts on ““Unhappy Objects” game: No Choice”
Dan, I think that’s only true according to certain very narrow definitions of what the “outcome” is. We’re part of the system, and the way the game changes us is by no means predetermined at least within the framework of the game’s ruleset, or of the broader ruleset of culture. At the level of molecules, who knows?
If I posit that all choices are illusions in video games and then write that there really is “no choice” in this one video game, isn’t that non-choice also an illusion itself? If virtual situations can be created for the perception of power and agency on the part of the player, can’t the reverse also be true? Can’t I also create a simulation and the appearance of non-power when the choice I’m glossing over is always at the very root — that ‘to play or not’ is always a choice in and of itself?
Or, put more simply, I guess, that the magic circle is always consensual. If you believe the outcome I told you is predetermined, perhaps it is. But that only works if you, as the player, believe what I am telling you in the first place. Maybe I’m lying. Probably I am.
(On a lighter note, I’m glad — happy, maybe? — that these projects have at least affected one person. You seem mildly unhappy from your comment about my writing on this one micro-game, so I guess I achieved some small manner of success here.)
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