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    cmcmillin89's Life is Strange (PS3)

    [January 25, 2017 12:57:44 AM]
    Episode 4 forces the player to finally face up to the consequences of their actions and boy oh boy does it sting.

    After catching up with alt!Chloe, Max/the player is given a very serious decision to make. Chloe asks for us to participate in assisted suicide to both relieve her own pain and to release her parents from the financial burden of caring for her. To be honest, I had a hard time with this because there are several layers to it. My first thing is, on the surface Chloe, of sound mind, is asking the player to kill her via drug overdose. Now the idea of helping someone, who wants to die, painlessly kill themselves is something that I am fine with. BUT, and this is a really big but, it is not necessarily legal for Max to do this. In fact, there is no way for Max to prove that she killed Chloe at Chloe's behest. There is no suicide note, no proof, only a dead best friend with incriminating evidence that Max did it. Why should the player care though? It's not like they will suffer any consequences for that. Well, they should care because this is a new and permanent timeline that Max creates due to her selfishness. Main!Max is just inhabiting alt!Max's body. After main!Max jumps back to her own timeline, who is to say that alt!Max won't suffer jail time for a crime that she didn't even know that she committed? That isn't fair for her to suffer for crimes that she didn't commit.

    Another problem that I have is that main!Max may possibly do this for selfish reasons. Dead whales wash up on the shore. The storm is still coming because Chloe is still alive when she isn't supposed to be. It is still fiddling with fate. It is still diverting responsibility for Max's mistakes. This time it is for saving Chloe's dad, which thereby saves Chloe from being murdered by Nate in a roundabout way. It is a double wrong in this timeline.

    Lastly, it is a wrong against Chloe's parents. They should have agency in this situation. They should have a shot at talking with Chloe about this decision. They should also have the ability to say their goodbyes to their daughter as she passes away instead of the rude awakening that they probably get when they discover their daughter is dead in her room.

    But then again, does Chloe deserve to suffer in a body that no longer functions? Doesn't she get some say in this situation as well? In the end, that's the argument that won me so that I could help her die. But does that justify going against all the other reasoning? Probably not. In that instance, I could label myself as being as selfish and irresponsible as Max.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Jan 25th, 2017 at 01:17:26.

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    [January 20, 2017 12:09:02 PM]
    Episode 3 is one that seems to throw a lot of morally questionable things in the player's way. Max, in the name of sleuthing, does several activities that read as very criminal that range from breaking and entering to outright theft. There are justifications for all of it, but not all of them truly stand up.

    The biggest possible decision that stood out for me was the possibility to steal the money, that would go to the handicap fund, to help pay off Chloe's debt. It is back to the dilemma of the good of one vs the good of many. And Chloe has already shown a certain amount of disregard for that demographic by parallel parking across the handicap parking spots in episode 1. The ability to take the money feels like a test to see if the player holds similar values. Max even admonishes herself/the player for taking the money if the player chooses that. I'm not quite sure how I feel about Max feeding the player her moral opinions though since that results in a skewed influence.

    The player can also choose to continue bailing Alyssa out of her troubles. This is starting to feel more and more wrong though because it is falsely changing her opinion of Max. If not for her time powers, Alyssa would have to suffer the consequences of her missfortunes. In no scenario would Max have been able to prevent the football, toilet paper, or splash because her reaction time would simply not allow for it. Is it really okay to change a person's life, even for the better, if it means they have a false perception of you?

    Lastly, we have the dilemma of changing the past for the "better". This ultimately results in Chloe becomeing a quadriplegic. Is it morally wrong to try and save someone that is fated to die? This is a question that applies to Chloe as well. For every percieved choice, depending on the severity, results in an equal punishment to the player and the world around them.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Jan 25th, 2017 at 00:44:57.

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    [January 19, 2017 09:58:41 AM]
    I had nearly forgotten what a trip episode 2 of LIS is. I took more time with this episode (about an hour and a half or more) since number 1 is more or less an intro to game mechanics with a little intro into the story. In episode 2 the player is faced with moral delemmas surrounding Max's friend/possible romantic interest, Chloe, and her friend Kate Marsh. The player is oftentimes pitted between the two of them as Max attempts to reconcile the past with Chloe and fixing the present with Kate.

    I, personally, choose Kate over Chloe most of the time because my own reasoning said that she exhibits strong signs of depression. That plus the pressure from rumors and family would push her to do something drastic. With Chloe, as much as I wanted to give her my attention, her needs read as being petty and impulsive, which made the choice fairly easy for me. That, i believe, speaks to the writing because her motivations read like someone suffering from PTSD, but the writing falls flat on its face due to a certain lack of depth in the situations where Chloe exhibits symptoms. So, I'm not sure if my decisions were influenced more by Kate's urgency, or the lack of understanding the writer's have for Chloe's particular ailments.

    We also return to the moral part of changing outcomes through time manipulation. The game is now punishing the player more for decisions. Specifically ones that can't be taken back and ones that are simply due to player inaction. To save Kate, the player must make the right choices, or mostly right ones. If they don't Kate will die and the player will not be able to stop it. This is actually an interesting element from many standpoints because if a player values Chloe over Kate, they will not only lose a character, but they'll lose an entire section of gameplay in a later episode. That is a pretty steep punishment for making, what the writers tailored to be, wrong choices. It makes me curious if it is ethical for game makers to force a player to choose between two mentally unstable character and then having a victim of sexual assault kill herself as a result. Is that poor writing? Or is that the fault of the "butterfly effect" theme that they're going for?

    This entry has been edited 3 times. It was last edited on Jan 19th, 2017 at 10:02:21.

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    [January 18, 2017 10:58:59 AM]
    Today I started playing Life is Strange. I haven't touched this game since the last episode was released back in 2015, so this is going to be an experience with a whole new level of scrutiny. I was able to complete episode 1 in about 40 minutes and in that time I asked myself a couple of questions:
    1. Is the whole concept of altering people's fates and perceptions of you through time travelling and redoing things a morally sound thing?
    2. How solid are the depictions of the characters? Could I say any of them is problematic in how they're representing themselves and their demographic?

    2 is something that I'll examine throughout the episodes since there are a fair number of characters throughout the game that don't necessarily get equal screen time. So, I guess question 1 is the only one I can really work on right now.

    I think that from a real world moral standpoint, the choice to use time travel as a hack to fix mistakes without suffering any immediate consequences is wrong. The forcible change of events or perceptions surrounding other characters removes their agency in the situation. It also removes any outcomes, be they positive of nagative, from the timeline, thusly completely altering the way that a character may have wanted to move through life. It also gives the main character a fale upperhand in situations where she shouldn't have an advantage that she didn't work for. For example, the classroom scene where Max doesn't have the answer and literally steals it from Victoria because she already lived in the timeline where Victoria gave the right one. She not only chated, she did it by taking away a moment for Victoria to exhibit her knowlege on the subject.
    Max also helps Chloe cheat death. This, if I remember correctly, is a constant thing throughout each episode. With each diversion of fate, she makes the world around her worse. The experience seems to tailor around the idea of diverting the player's attention from the obvious world changing consequences because they are not affecting Max/the player on an intimate level. That is a moral line that is going to be a balancing act. Is one person really worth the cost to the people and animals that have to suffer the consequences?
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    cmcmillin89's Life is Strange (PS3)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Wednesday 18 January, 2017

    cmcmillin89's opinion and rating for this game

    No comment, yet.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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