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    Sep 22nd, 2018 at 14:48:53     -    Little Nightmares (PS4)

    Ok. So, I have beaten the game. A lot of my confusion about the inclusion of this game has been clarified. I was waiting for narrative splitting point. I was waiting for some point where I would say ďoh what do I do? Whatís the right decision?Ē To my knowledge, that never happened.
    I have gone back and re played virtually every part of the game, trying to find a point where the narrative would branch, or where I could do something different. I was looking to take a different path. I tried to not eat at multiple intervals when the little girl was hungry, because the game gives a sense of anxiety to those moments. Despite that, there is no alternative. Nothing else around to eat, and not alternate events if you donít eat, not even dying.
    I checked for all of these things multiple times. I think this speaks to my inherent assumption that the question of ethical play is tied to player choice. So, I am going to set that aside for what is in this game the more pertinent, and frankly much more interesting morally compromising narrative.
    The narrative was written, and is unchangeable, and I think that is totally fine. It was done without words or really much in the way even of instruction. In the beginning of the game the playerís goals are completely aligned with the little girl (apparently she is called Ďsixí). For the rest of the game it stays primarily that way. By the end though, she starts getting bolder, going for goals the player might not. She even eats the little gnome people trying to help you. Of course, there was no other choice. At this point I certainly felt guilty, but it became clear that it wasnít my story, it was hers. Itís about a child becoming more and more ravenous. Not a hero. When she reaches the end of the game and she fends off the matriarch, six grows hungry. You have to kill her. You have to eat her. It becomes evident that there is an element of cyclical storytelling. You rise from the bottom, but at what cost? You become your enemy. You commit the oppressive sins that she had before you. I wouldnít say that six is a hero. Not by the end. She is not ethically in the right. She has been reduced to a power hungry animal, more than a child. She is driven by survival, not ethics.
    I think itís wonderful. I think thatís itís not necessarily a new story, but it was a novel portrayal, and te end product was something Iíve never seen in a game. There is no question to me that the story can and should be told. The art should exist in all its forms. Without stories that push little boundaries like this one, I think that the world of entertainment and art would be all the lesser for it.
    I have no problem with the subversion of expectations the player has with their protagonist, and if there is any argument against any of this gameís design decisions I would love for someone to show them to me, because I see none.
    I loved this game. (and am buying the DLC.)

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    Sep 9th, 2018 at 11:42:31     -    Little Nightmares (PS4)

    I have been anticipating playing this game for years, and remember seeing the original trailer when it was called "Hunger".

    As far as gameplay goes, It doesn't do a lot of hand holding. I am pretty sure I have discovered all the primary mechanics but its hard to be sure. That being said, it is VERY well designed. I figured out 90% of the challenges without instruction of any kind. It was sheerly through the intuitive control schemes and visual language of the game.

    I have played a couple hours and beaten the first two levels, but I haven't looked to see how much there is left. Right now I am just trying to get my footing in the narrative of the game.

    In the context of an ethics class and an ethics discussion, this game is much less straight forward than "this is the police" was, at least so far. Right now the most morally challenging things in the game are not htings I have control of, but are just the context of the game and its story.

    As best as I can tell, this is an undersea hideaway where children are caught like rats. I cant tell exactly what is done with them yet. But there are some children being raised, and some being trapped, and some being caught, and some being '''turned to stone by mechanical eyes?'''. That last one is a little more perplexing, but maybe will have an explanation later.

    I as the player have not been faced with many ethical dilemmas yet. I have been hungry and have tried to catch and eat rats, but failed. I have also been Handed food by a child through iron bars. That was interesting, but I wasn't sure if it was something i could have declined, or avoided, but i certainly felt grateful in the dark and scary world to have a kind character reach out to me.

    In conclusion, so far the core tone of the game is the most controversial I think. Lost lonely child being caught and processed by monsters. I do remember butchers from an old trailer and I can only imagine where they come in. Very excited to see where the game goes. If the question is "is a game with this theme acceptable" my thoughts are absolutely yes, im loving it. Also, though, the denial of the narrative direction is really just a denial of art at this point. There is nothing asked of the player thus far that strikes me as objectively inappropriate or uncalled-for within the confines of the game design.

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    Sep 2nd, 2018 at 16:36:20     -    This is the Police (PC)

    Ok, so in my third play session of this game I am beginning to see where I, the player, am having to separate myself and my morals, from the narrative of the game. Our Main character,Chief Boyd,has gotten himself into a scenario that requires playing with right and wrong in ways that most of us don't have to consider. Since the last log entry I have lost my first officer, made another crucial binary decision in the story of the game, and have begun to see an increase in officer-related excuses/problems.

    My initial response to these sorts of prompts from the game have been to try to uphold my own personal ethics in the context of Jock Boyd. That option though, has slowly faded. I am now balancing with the threat of death between two mob-bosses, and no longer have the luxury of keeping either of them at arms length. When it comes to my officers I usually try to keep them safe, no errands that are likely to get them killed, even if its the right move in the grand scheme of things. But just recently I have been forced to employ a deputy that I do not want, and cannot fire, and is a poor worker. And I almost without thinking decided to send him on potentially compromising calls. This could be chocked up to him being a bad tool within the confines of the game, but I even used him for something that I dont think has any serious mechanical consequences, but that I just didn't like having to do. What that tells me is that I have formed some arbitrary connection with my long time deputies who do good work, and I dont want to compromise them, or their integrity. I dont make them go commit crimes themselves, even though I am putting myself in danger by not doing so. Additionally, I dont know how the tattling system works in the game yet, and I dont want my professional officers to call me out on my illegal dealings.

    Finally, the last place where my Morales have broken so far is in the loot system. For a while i was sending all contraband back to the police station, but just once I tried giving it to the mafia to sell. In return I made WAY more money than I make for my salary. That was just around when I realized that with the pace and timing of the payment in game, without illegal dealings, it might be near impossible to reach jack's half mil goal.

    The ethics code I have stuck to for my hours of gameplay so far are dwindling, noticeably, and its not so much to 'win' as it is to survive. I am curious to see how far the game will take it and push me in later.

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    Aug 29th, 2018 at 17:44:08     -    This is the Police (PC)

    My second play session has probably settled me into the flow of the game a lot more than the first. In the first session I made a critical decision but did not see the result of the action. In this session the decision came back to bite me, and I was faced with the impending wave of moral conflicts (I am trying to avoid major spoilers). There was of course the major narrative impact, but the gameplay has grown more complicated was well. No longer am i just faced with balancing which officers i send on what calls, but now I've got the mob boss whispering in my ear. Its a pretty cut and dry moral balance most of the time. Sometimes the mayor might put a political requirement on your department that is disagreeable, Or the mafia wants your help with something when of course you outright shouldn't be helping them whatsoever. Then there are the more nuanced decisions. These are when the Mafia just wants you to not show up to a crime, and sometimes its not so bad. They are often just passing off some money or inventory, and if you don't show up, everything goes just fine, Jack gets paid, and you still have officers around to run other calls. If you choose wrong though, and someone gets hurt, or you get caught, its on you. This seems to be the rhythm of the main game, but i am only 10 days into the 180 day guideline the game sets from the beginning I can only speculate where the decisions will go from here. I was surprisingly affected by the death of an unnamed civilian in a mafia job. It was not shock value, or even scripted in any way, I just played my cards wrong, trusted the mob at the wrong time, and got a civilian killed. The civilian was never mentioned before, no name, or face, or narrative significance, but i still felt worse than I ever did running over 500 civilians per minute in Crackdown. I am excited to see where the moral dilemmas go from here.

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