| It was odd when the game forced me to do something I considered immoral. For example, when Juliet locked Dana in her room for sexting with her boyfriend, the game was telling me to find evidence in Victoria’s room. I assumed the truth would come out regardless, and didn’t understand why Max should go snooping through other people’s stuff to find evidence for something rather trivial (in my opinion). Not only that, but the game had seemed like it was rewarding me for investigating. I received more information, and if I chose correctly in certain situations, it felt good. Morally, I would not think it okay to snoop through everything in Victoria’s room. I would have gone directly to what I believed would hold evidence. However, since it had felt like the game was rewarding exploration, I checked every corner of Victoria’s room, and it felt like a serious invasion of privacy. I can’t entirely blame the game, but like Sicart’s analysis of World of Warcraft, if the game is encouraging unethical behavior, then it should be partly the game’s responsibility for that behavior as well.|
I also felt guilty leaving Warren. He defended Max, yet I left him there with Nathan. Of course, the security officer had shown up soon after, but Max didn’t know that when she jumped in the car. It was almost frustrating. Here was a game that focused so heavily on my choices, yet there were some I was unable to make or forced into, not because of other’s actions, but my player character. I had to learn that Max and I were different people, which means we would make ethical decisions differently. I could do what I could to make the choices I wanted, but I couldn’t control her completely. This is further exampled by some of her thoughts, such as talking poorly of other characters like Victoria, even though I believe you can’t fight hatred with hatred. It almost felt like Max and I were sometimes fighting, and it reminded me of Freud’s Id, Superego, and Ego. Perhaps I wasn’t supposed to be Max, but just an inner part of her, hopefully helping her make the most ethical choice.
In addition, Chloe’s anger toward Max felt almost unfair, but not because Max didn’t deserve it, but almost that it felt like my own fault. I think despite being different from Max, the player character is supposed to feel at least a little responsible for her. This, for me, included what she had done in the past. I knew I would have contacted Chloe, but since Max didn’t, it felt like she was yelling at me. I found myself being defensive with Max, but after analyzing, realized this was again because I felt blamed for an action I could not control.
Life is Strange is different in that way. You’re not supposed to feel entirely in control of Max’s choices. You’re more along for the ride, guiding where necessary, yet, when she hurts someone you feel personally responsible. It’s a “Why am I doing this?” as opposed to a “What the hell, Max, you shouldn’t be doing this!” and the inability to separate sometimes is interesting and new.
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