Epic Mickey Offers No Choice

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tkioz:

moretimethansense:

tkioz:

I read an interesting story about that once actually, you are standing near a switch, there is a train coming in, on one set of rails is fat man, on the other there are 5 people, if you pull the switch the fat man dies, if you don't the 5 people die.

edit: 5am posting isn't good for clarity.

Most people say they would pull the switch, 5 for 1 and all that jazz.

Now same situation, only there is no switch, and the only way to stop the train from hitting the 5 people is to throw the fat man in front of it (just roll with it).

Would you still do it? Most people say no, but morally it's the exact same choice, trading one life for five, you're hands are just a little dirtier.

And just what the blue fuck does the man's weight have to do with anything? >:(

Objectively nothing, however ask the same question to a group of normal white people in say 1950, substitute fat-man for black-man and people are a lot more comfortable with the choice, we place different values on life, numerically (kill one, save 5), emotionally (my friend is worth X strangers), instinctually (a baby is worth more then an old person), judgementally (a fat person is worth less then a healthy person, because the fat person will die sooner, or a drug addict is worth less then a sober person), etc.

But morally it means nothing, once you concede that you can trade away a human life for any reason it's just a matter of degrees, see the famous George Bernard Shaw story;


George Bernard Shaw once found himself at a dinner party, seated beside an attractive woman. "Madam," he asked, "would you go to bed with me for a thousand pounds?"

The woman blushed and rather indignantly shook her head.

"For ten thousand pounds?" he asked.

"No. I would not."

"Then how about fifty thousand pounds?" he contined.

The colossal sum gave the woman pause, and after further reflection, she coyly replied: "Perhaps."

"And if I were to offer you five pounds?" Shaw asked.

"Mr. Shaw!" the woman exclaimed. "What do you take me for!"

"We have already established what you are," Shaw calmly replied. "Now we are merely haggling over the price."

The thing is the question is a simple 1 v 5 choice, the man's weight is completely immaterial to the question at hand and stating a weight is simply an obvious attempt to insult the overweight by7 implying that it makes them less of a human.

To illustrate my point,

You asked what is in essence "Would you kill 1 person to save five?" then adding "The one is fat by the way.", it is completely unnecessary to mention it unless to make the one less valuable, which in a 1 v 5 debate is frankly bullshit.

Were the question a Fat v Not fat question I wouldn't be bringing this up, but the way the hypothetical is phrased you may as well be saying "but the one is fat so you don't need to feel guilty!".

If you merely copied this verbatim from another source then I apologize for my vitriol, but if you composed this yourself then I feel I must say on behalf of the overweight and philosophers everywhere, Kindly get stuffed.

I think it's worth keeping in mind that it's still a Disney game; something meant to be enjoyable for tiny babies too. On the other hand, since that should've been apparent from the beginning, Warren Spector shouldn't have talked it up quite in the way he did, or at least chosen his words a bit better.

A lot of RPGs have a choice here or there where what is 'good' and what is 'evil' is immediately apparent, but they are few and far between. Mass Effect of course eschews that and clearly labels every choice lest someone get confused. It's not a very good system really. It makes future interactions dependent on previous interactions in a nonsensical way. Also, the idea of the Renegade path is often that "sometimes sacrifices has to be made for the greater good". But that's not how it works out most of the time. Instead of the renegade succeeding where the paragon would have failed by making sacrifices the paragon succeeds without having to make any. Or perhaps more accurately, by playing the renegade you are actively planning on sacrificing things/people for no gain.

Why does the end comment usually make some statement about my weight? I've been losing weight, and mean comments negate any confidence that I may have gained between now and 22 pounds ago.

moretimethansense:

tkioz:

moretimethansense:

And just what the blue fuck does the man's weight have to do with anything? >:(

Objectively nothing, however ask the same question to a group of normal white people in say 1950, substitute fat-man for black-man and people are a lot more comfortable with the choice, we place different values on life, numerically (kill one, save 5), emotionally (my friend is worth X strangers), instinctually (a baby is worth more then an old person), judgementally (a fat person is worth less then a healthy person, because the fat person will die sooner, or a drug addict is worth less then a sober person), etc.

But morally it means nothing, once you concede that you can trade away a human life for any reason it's just a matter of degrees, see the famous George Bernard Shaw story;


George Bernard Shaw once found himself at a dinner party, seated beside an attractive woman. "Madam," he asked, "would you go to bed with me for a thousand pounds?"

The woman blushed and rather indignantly shook her head.

"For ten thousand pounds?" he asked.

"No. I would not."

"Then how about fifty thousand pounds?" he contined.

The colossal sum gave the woman pause, and after further reflection, she coyly replied: "Perhaps."

"And if I were to offer you five pounds?" Shaw asked.

"Mr. Shaw!" the woman exclaimed. "What do you take me for!"

"We have already established what you are," Shaw calmly replied. "Now we are merely haggling over the price."

The thing is the question is a simple 1 v 5 choice, the man's weight is completely immaterial to the question at hand and stating a weight is simply an obvious attempt to insult the overweight by7 implying that it makes them less of a human.

To illustrate my point,

You asked what is in essence "Would you kill 1 person to save five?" then adding "The one is fat by the way.", it is completely unnecessary to mention it unless to make the one less valuable, which in a 1 v 5 debate is frankly bullshit.

Were the question a Fat v Not fat question I wouldn't be bringing this up, but the way the hypothetical is phrased you may as well be saying "but the one is fat so you don't need to feel guilty!".

If you merely copied this verbatim from another source then I apologize for my vitriol, but if you composed this yourself then I feel I must say on behalf of the overweight and philosophers everywhere, Kindly get stuffed.

A) Fat myself

B) Example was paraphrased from a book I read a fair while ago, and it was a fat-man in that example so I used it here.

C) Oh get over it, if I had used "drug addict" or "terrorist" as an example would you have cared?

Would you rescue one baby or five old people? That makes me think of a moral choice in inFAMOUS... one of my favorit moral choices evur acctualy.

Interesting article. I'll probably never play "Epic Mickey" on account of I don't own a console, but it's an interesting point of untapped potential in a game.

Makes me think of Fallout 3, where you have three choices: neutral (do an equal number of dastardly and divine deeds), evil (routinely slaughter and/or enslave defenceless innocents), or good (save baskets of kittens from fiery apocalypse). It's a points-based system, which means that you can quite easily blow up an entire town, but you only lose five hundred "points" by doing it, which is easily balanced by doing a few other quest-related good deeds. Nobody seems to remember your good / bad deeds once you're bad / good respectively (although if you blow up Megaton, you do get attacked by refugees afterwards occasionally).

And of course, there's Bioshock's classic "murder little girls / save little girls" system, which I thought would've worked much better if you could choose one option at the start, and then just keep doing it until the point about two-thirds through where you meet Tenenbaum, at which point you're given the option to change your mind. Four endings: one for starts evil, stays evil; one for starts evil but redeems; one for starts good but becomes corrupted; and one for starts good stays incorruptible.

Coke is indeed better than Pepsi.

Hope games will evolve when it comes to integrating moral choice.

I'm not kidding in the slightest when I say I wish I could spend christmas like Yahtzee. The awkward family reunions are really the words part of christmas.

One of the best moral choices I've come across in a game that actually affected gameplay afterwards was in the original Deus Ex (ME2's choices may have an impact in the sequeal, but for now we don't know):

The solution: Developers should stop distinguishing "choices".

Just give us choices, period. Don't highlight it red, don't give me "evil" points afterwards. Show me the consequences and results of my actions and let me live with it.

viking97:
that was pretty interesting, but in all honesty, was anyone expecting boundary pushing human experience art from DISNEY?

No, but people expected it from Warren Spector. That's why people were disappointed. At least that's why I was.

Oh you and your silly fizzy drinks. It's not so hard to go natural, or for lack of any - cold water. Cold water when thirsty = best drink out there.

Ranchcroutons:
As much as Yahtzee will probably hate me for it the best moral choice system I have ever experienced was in Fable III. Most of the choices that game gives you have no right answer and it can be very stressful when you want to do the absolute best thing for everyone and realize that you simply cannot.

I disagree, the game falters on that point because it makes the decisions economical. If you want to be the paragon of all humanity all you have to do is buy basically every property in sight. Thus allowing you to make the costly "good" choices without having to worry about the treasury because you can constantly refill it with your ever-growing personal account.

tkioz:

moretimethansense:

tkioz:

snip again

snip me baby one more time!

A) Fat myself

B) Example was paraphrased from a book I read a fair while ago, and it was a fat-man in that example so I used it here.

C) Oh get over it, if I had used "drug addict" or "terrorist" as an example would you have cared?

A) Likewise, join the club we have... well we had cookies.

B) Fair enough though my pint still stands

C.1) I'd rather not get over it and neither should you, I see far too much casual fat bashing in my day to day life (even on this very forum) and the fact that people see it as somehow okay pisses me right off, it's this casual attitude that led to my several year long reclusion, not to mention my deep depression and severe anger issues that continue to this day.
I am, thanks to the sever bullying that I suffered in school, almost completley incapable of leaving my house by myself, I missed out on higher education, I can't deal with people on an inter-personal level and I am utterly incapable of finding and holding a job.

I apologize for the rant, as you can imagine this is a sore spot for me.

C.2)(The drug addict or terrorist bit) Yes actually, partly because I have a cousin that was a drug addict and it took an OD and hospital visit to get him to stop, partly because I hate the way Americans use the word "Terrorist" as though it wins them any argument by default, but mostly because my point would still be valid.

To drop or not drop the nuke? That's the question.

moretimethansense:
Snip

The comment about the man's weight was only meant to be said for the final choice, as his weight was supposed to be enough to halt the train. As utterly un-realistic as this is, there really isn't any other way a single person could be sacrificed to stop a moving train.

Hope this helps explain.

SlainPwner666:

moretimethansense:
Snip

The comment about the man's weight was only meant to be said for the final choice, as his weight was supposed to be enough to halt the train. As utterly un-realistic as this is, there really isn't any other way a single person could be sacrificed to stop a moving train.

Hope this helps explain.

It does a bit but wouldn't it make more sense for the one man to be rigged with explosives by whoever set up this bizarre morality play?
That way the mans life is equal to the life of one of the others and personal bias doesn't come in to it.

And before you say "but that would kill the passengers!" at no point were passengers (or even a driver) mentioned, for this bizarre test someone would have had to set this up in advance, otherwise what's stopping the driver from putting on the brakes?
For this to work the only factors should be 1 life vs 5, and obviously, if you do nothing five will die, if you kill this one the same five will live.

In the infinitely unlikely situation this happened during the train's normal running schedule I'd let the five die, no sense in making all those people late! :P

Grahav:
To drop or not drop the nuke? That's the question.

drop it

Lordofthesuplex:

Using creation juice would "fix" the monsters and turn them good again with no apparent ill effects. So there was absolutely no reason not to do that.

Yes because turning a giant creature that can fling you half-way across the room into a good guy to deal with the rest of the constantly respawning shock troops throwing thinner at you during the final level while you tear the main villain's vital organs to kingdom fuck is not a good reason. Bet you had real fun at that point in the game, Croshaw.

It's a game about a cartoon mouse with 90 years of history. You shouldn't expect THAT high a level of complexity from it's moral choice system from a game like that. You should expect that kind of quality from a moral choice system in a game with a T or M rating. Which is why Yahtzee should've waited until Infamous 2 or something like that was released to do an Extra Punctuation on this topic.

Also as much as I like some Yahtzee's ideas for game design, I can't help but think some of them, in this case, his ideas on a moral choice system, would take too much programming time and be too big a hassle to accomplish with current technology.

We were doing better in the 1980s with text adventure games. So no, its not above modern technology.

That's oversimplifying to a great deal, but so very few game developoers these days care to develop a compelling story element to their game at all, even a linear on. And why should they, when flashy tripe with the depth of a spoon makes millions of dollars? As much as people bereave Bioware's usually pretty eh stories, they're making a hell of a lot more effort than the average game.

The real problem here is that making a good story is HARD. Good graphics? There's tons of free engines that give shiny glitz these days. Good models and such? Okay that's a little harder but its not terribly hard to hire a good modeller. But story? It takes a great deal of creativity to break the mold with storytelling these days, and it can very easily break a game for people if the story becomes contrived, hard to follow, or they have difficulty to it.

The real difficulty is keeping it accessible and fresh while at the same time entertaining. Moral choice systems complicate that all the more. It's not something that is easily done, and many companies get cold feet about staking their profits on it.

But let me reiterate: with the technology and RAD style programming languages we have these days - technology is not our limitation.

The best morality system I've encountered was that of Infamous, primarily because it didn't infringe on the player's sense of morality; it was based on Cole's. I know, this is retreading on old ground ("It's like caring for a brick because his brick children don't call"), but forget, for an instant--a difficult instant I will grant you--that Cole was meant to be a projection of the player and cast him as an individual. It works pretty well! Cole is nothing, he is insignificant in societal status, he's like Oliver Twist, and then he gets electro-powers (Oliver Twist skating on power lines is a great idea, get to it Sucker Punch). The good-evil aspect is nothing but what society perceives Cole to be, which is a fascist or a saint. It is really well done because he's Cole, he's not you; that's why karma in Fallout 3 was lacking, due to it inherently telling what the player what his/her moral alignment was. Cole's position is clear-cut; do you want to lash out primordially against your societal oppressors, or do you want all the attention and fame from your fellow peers like some kind of tool? It's a wonderful exploration into the human psyche during the attaination of power (quite like Macbeth, actually, as he frets over the consequences of becoming the King of Scotland) if you read too hard into it.
However if the game industry is so set on morality systems know this: no significant writer in our lifetime has fret about good or bad so intensely; rather their stories are built around morality, instead of implementing it. So if nothing else know this: it is much better to create a good story than to fiddle around with antiquated moral values. Then maybe I can play a game that features me eating babies and no one will be snarky about it.

I LOVED the Samesh Bhatia choice from ME1, especially since you could get Renegade or Paragon points for either resolution (get the body back or leave it with the military.)

mr_thrym:
The central choice in Fallout 3's Pitt expansion knocked me for a loop:

Wow. You made an account to ninja me. Impressive. Welcome to the Escapist, by the way.

Fallout 3 morality by and large suffers from pet the puppy/eat the puppy extremes, but this one case made me walk away from the computer and think for a good long while. I still can't say which option was "good."

I ended up taking the kid just because it meant I got to kill a bunch of slavers with a baby in my inventory like Chow Yun-Fat.

SlainPwner666:

As utterly un-realistic as this is, there really isn't any other way a single person could be sacrificed to stop a moving train.

Hope this helps explain.

The train is made of Explodium?

It's a shame Yahtzee couldn't see some of the New Vegas moral choices. You literally had to do nearly everything to have a lasting effect on a faction-granted- you were shoved more in the direction of NCR but it offered some good choices.

Hopefully the system will get better and more meaningful as games evolve as a medium.

It curious to think how much better moral choices could be using the mechanics already in place.

I've always wanted to make a war game and at one point have this moral clash:
You're a medic and your army is trying to defend a city. It's a losing battle, your fellow soldiers stand no chance but are still desperately holding the line to buy more time for escape. In the city they're unprepared and attempting to evacuate the people and it's complete chaos, and at this point the enemy is breaking through in spots and mortars are coming down, so essentially ever second soldiers and civilians are dying.

Here's the problem:
You want to evacuate the city as fast as you can, which means coldly cramming everyone into the cars, separating families and not giving the sick, hurt, disabled, young, etc help. People will be crying everywhere, but the sooner they're out of the city the sooner their lives are guarantied, although who knows if they'll ever get past the trauma or find their families.
You can take more time so people get the assistance and supplies and reassurance they need, but while you're taking all that time helping them you're too busy to help others, and the mortars will pick them off.
Along with that there's something else that can top it off. As stated before, you're a medic, and you're not supposed to be in the city but at the front lines treating your comrads. At any time you can hop on a convoy to where you're supposed to be and help the battle, thus buying more time and saving the lives of your fellow soldiers. As long as you're not helping them you can have another soldier nag you on the radio to get over there, and if you take too long, he can become hysterical and plead with you because eventually they're gonna get caught by surprise and suffer very heavy casualties. If you still don't show up after that, he'll tell you to not even bother, they've already lost, then maybe throw in an insult about your cowardliness. They will be finished off and then you and the NPC's in the city helping with evacuation will be on their own to defend against the advancing enemies. All of this can climax with a side quest option of helping a scared little girl by escorting her to her house to grab a jacket and her teddy bear, then get her on a car that will take her to her mother, who was at the market when it happened. It'll be fun provided the deaths of people evoke emotion.

jrubal1462:
I'm surprised to see an article that talks about free will lobotomization vs. destruction, and Mass Effect, without mentioning mass effect's extremely well done choice of free will lobotomization vs. destruction. Extra Creditz did a whole episode on that one decision.

while I do think the moral choices in Me 2 are excellent the only thing I have a problem with is that it clearly shows which are "renegade" and "paragon" choices which takes some of the thourght out of it since the game punishes you for not ridgidly sticking to one side of the karma systm (but other than thet great game)

yes, coke is better than pepsi

hmmm that one small mission in ME2...stop one of two missiles. stop one and it kills colonists, stop the other and it saves a valuable Alliance spaceport. honestly? all the people I saved in ME1 really just appear here and there to say thanks and maybe give a little exp/other rewards in ME2. maybe saving the spaceport, and it'll benefit me more if I work more with the Alliance than Cerberus in ME3...

well okay personally I went with saving civilians (no paragon/renegade points either way) cuz I just wanted to stick one at the Alliance at that point in the game. ha!

GeneticallyModifiedDucks:

viking97:
that was pretty interesting, but in all honesty, was anyone expecting boundary pushing human experience art from DISNEY?

No, but people expected it from Warren Spector. That's why people were disappointed. At least that's why I was.

mhmm pretty much that

for me (and probably Yahtzee maybe) it was the thought that Disney would actually do something epic and drastic in the way they portrayed and messed up their perfect little world for great effect in the game...but as ZP pointed out: compromise :/

guess two early concept arts and a brief description really don't paint the picture

viking97:
aaaah *head explodes*

that was pretty interesting, but in all honesty, was anyone expecting boundary pushing human experience art from DISNEY?

I don't expect the moral choice system to be explored successfully by the media in general. "Moral Choice" has become short hand for "a way to coax replay out by making them play twice for both endings." Mass Effect does it better, but not particularly good, and there's been little in the two games that actually makes long term choices something that stick with you.

Not that it stopped me from enjoying it, but the industry has hardly made much of a compelling case for morality in games.

Casual Shinji:
The best moral choice system is one that isn't constantly in your face.

As soon as you're conscience of the fact that you're making moral choices in a game instead of your own choices, you'll start to comform to the way the game wants you to play it.

I'll sound like a broken record, but fuck it: Silent Hill 2 has the best moral choice system of any game, because you're never aware of the choices you make. For all you know, you're simply playing a game without choices, untill you receive one of the multiple endings.

I totally agree with you. I really hate when they use a moral choice point system, especially to level up. You'll be making choices purely for those points.

Having been spending a lot of time with Fallout & Fable of late, I find myself musing on the whole morality thing quite a bit.

Fallout: New Vegas probably had the right idea by pretty much ditching the importance of morality in favor of factions. Obviously, the Caesar faction is the evil one, but your karmic alignment doesn't have much to do with anything else in the game. Fallout 3 tried to make it work, but apart from how Three Dog reacted to you and which companions you could travel with, it made no difference.

As for Fables, the system is so thoroughly superficial that they could actually make it interesting if they embraced its superficiality. Instead of equating purity with beauty, I think they ought to expand the interests of potential mates. Employ something along the lines of The Seven Deadly Sins and have potential mates be more attracted to you based on your personal quirks. If you're a violent bastard, have some girls around who are into that. If you like drinking in the pub, then the bar flies should be into you. No matter what type of character you are, there should be people who are totally into that... and for god's sake, do something that prevents the prostitutes from nagging me for marriage proposals. It's totally ridiculous when I'm collecting half a dozen hookers for an orgy and having the lot of them talking marriage. You should be able to pick up someone in a bar for random sex and have them trying to sneak out the next morning.

Vault101:

while I do think the moral choices in Me 2 are excellent the only thing I have a problem with is that it clearly shows which are "renegade" and "paragon" choices which takes some of the thourght out of it since the game punishes you for not ridgidly sticking to one side of the karma systm (but other than thet great game)

I agree with this. I just finished another runthrough of Mass Effect 2, and every time I made a choice I felt like I had to make the Paragon choice, because the game rewards you for sticking to one path, and there's no reason to waver from it.

Granted, I actually agree with the Paragon choice much of the time from a real-life moral standpoint (not in every situation, but in many). However, I do feel that if the game completely did away with the +X Paragade boxes and the meters showing morality, and completely eliminated any bonuses or perks for choosing a moral side (Charm/Intimidate), the actual moral choice aspect of the game would be greatly improved.

For one, I wouldn't feel forced to pick any one side, and could thus feel free to choose based on what I feel I should do. For another, not telling you which choice is good or bad forces the player to consider the ramifications of his actions instead of being told his choices are good or bad.

EDIT: I feel I should clarify.

Personally I think games with a morals system are great fun...as long as you see the results of your actions and decisions. *Looks at dragon age* I'm not terribly fond of the meter showing which side of the scale I'm leaning towards though. It is kind of cool but I don't need a meter to look over my shoulder telling me not to kill the nice farmer or everyone will hate me. I'm going to do what I want. Hence the choice system. Let me accept the consequences chose.

The Witcher had the best morality system I've come across in a game because the decisions you made were never directly connected to your quest but rather a means of deciding how future events would pan out.
The way it's done usually is: Kill A, get evil points, evil powers become better or more evil choices become available; Spare A, get good points, and so on.
The way The Witcher tried to do it (didn't always come across clearly); Kill A, nothing happens, later in the game you get info from an NPC and have to fight a group of enemies to finish a quest; Spare A, nothing happens, later in the game A has killed the NPC making your quest last longer but when the final fight comes A will turn up to offer you a quicker, less violent solution.
I think that as morality is unique to the individual, the only way to implement it effectively in a game is to make the decisions as invisible as possible as well as making the game judge you on the way you play.

More philosophical wish-wash. The only difference between contemplating all those moral dilemmas and crying into your cappuccino is that eventually you'll realize that crying into your cappuccino just isn't cutting it anymore so off you go, stumbling back to your old life or whats left of it anyway as to filling your head with everunanswered questions would be the equivalent of planning to travel around the world in 80 days and on the 1896th hour you'd still find yourself in bed with both your hands down your pants.
Decently written and formulated though, kudos.

tkioz:

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Would you rescue one baby or five old people?

I read an interesting story about that once actually, you are standing near a switch, there is a train coming in, on one set of rails is fat man, on the other there are 5 people, if you pull the switch the fat man dies, if you don't the 5 people die.

edit: 5am posting isn't good for clarity.

Most people say they would pull the switch, 5 for 1 and all that jazz.

Now same situation, only there is no switch, and the only way to stop the train from hitting the 5 people is to throw the fat man in front of it (just roll with it).

Would you still do it? Most people say no, but morally it's the exact same choice, trading one life for five, you're hands are just a little dirtier.

No, people are against pushing the fat man into the train because of the fact that the first question deals with choosing to have one man, who's already in danger's way, die for more people, whereas the second involves actively throwing somebody at the problem. I wouldn't do it with the second one simply for the sheer terror the man would feel as I force him onto the tracks. That's something I wouldn't be able to do.

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