Choice and consequence; It’s an aspect of gaming which seems to make games just more interesting. It makes us players feel like we really have an impact on the world around us, and that our choices and decisions shape our character and the characters we surround ourselves with. It’s always been something that just really intrigues me, and something I love to see in games. In fact it’s one of the main reasons besides great story-telling and incredible voice-acting that I love Telltale Games, who seem to currently be the master of choice and consequence. However why is choice and consequence good? Can it ruin games? Should it be used more in games or perhaps less? There’s only really one way to find out, so let’s look at different games and see how choice and consequence affected them.
So let’s first see why choice and consequence is good to begin with. Now with video games, a lot of us want to get immersed in the world that games present to us. Choice and consequence helps us do that, and makes the game more realistic and immersive. A key aspect of reality is choice and consequence, as every decision we make can be largely consequential or rewarding, or slightly consequence or rewarding. In fact perhaps our decision will effect nothing at all. This aspect once integrated into video-games, make us feel like we have an impact on the world the game presents to us. When done right, we can decide what events can occur, how they play out, how they effect other characters, etc. This makes choice and consequence good in games, because it makes us players slightly more thoughtful of the people and world around us but also makes the game easier to get immersed into. This is also part of the reason games like Fallout 3 are so atmospheric. As that game features choice and consequence, and has other characters react to what you do, the people you kill and the people you aid.
However choice and consequence can’t just be good. Could it? Well not really. Like any aspect of gaming, if it isn’t done well, then it most likely won’t turn out well. Some games such as Dishonored has choice and consequence which mainly reflect upon morality. Unlike Fallout 3 where morality is handled well, games like Dishonored has you either killing people which results in a bad ending, or sparing them which results in a good ending. This wouldn’t be such a problem, but it slightly makes the game more challenging and slightly less fun to me since players can’t go around and just murder people if they desire to. Unless of course they want a bad ending. In Fallout, this kind of morality based choice and consequence is handled much better, as players can still have fun and murder no matter what type of morality level they choose to play with. So sometimes yes, choice and consequence in my opinion can be done wrongly and end up being bad. However it doesn’t necessarily ruin games, as Dishonored is a great game anyway. But thankfully most of the time choice and consequence is done quite well.
Yet with games sometimes getting choice and consequence wrong. Does this mean games should be using it less? No in fact, I believe games should be using the aspect of choice and consequence even more. With moral choices, like I’ve said it makes the world around the player seem a lot more realistic and effective. As well as overall just making games much more immersive, and giving games even greater re-playability. I feel like choice and consequence is something more games should include. It may even make us more aware of what consequence could result from our choices, not just in games but also in real life. Like if you make the idiotic choice of having sex with five people in order to gain publicity. Just remember games (and commons sense if you have any) can teach you, that choices like these may have some consequences. Choice and consequence can also present characters and character development, by how the player treats these characters and how these characters change and develop based off of this treatment. Overall, choice and consequence is a key-aspect for gaming and I feel that if more games have it, and present it correctly, then the better.