Creativity through Choices and Consequences
By Christine Yee
Humans are inherently driven to play, imagine and create. Games that enable the healthy expression of Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback, can offer intensely compelling experiences.
One emerging and increasingly prevalent game design strategy focuses on providing players opportunities to consider weighty moral choices. This reflection leads them on an inward journey to venture beyond the confines of their current perspective and mindset.
A related tactic involves creating situations where players are asked to perform seemingly simplistic actions that lead to consequences that force them to reflect on how their choices derived these outcomes. Again this strategy compels players to rethink their boundaries and definitions of their personal system of beliefs, expectations, and ethics.
With both types of game designs, players are empowered to use their creativity to influence the course of the storyline. The consequences serves to provide feedback on their actions and decisions. This offers a very different and interesting experience from typical games that requires making calculated decisions that follow a pre-determined path.
In these types of scenarios, right versus wrong is not simply a black and white distinction. As the player’s emotions strongly contribute to their decision-making and reflection, these strategies add a unique and interesting twist to game play.
What Is Meant By Moral Choices and Consequences?
Naturally, in every game, players have to make calculated choices which entail either desirable or undesirable results. But if you think about what real life is like, not all choices can be calculated. Consequences have to be anticipated by using imaginative foresight and they have to be judged according to a person’s subjective set of individual values.
There is a story of a little boy who overheard two men kicking and physically abusing a fox. The dilemma is apparent: should he ignore the situation or step in to do something? Should the fox be sacrificed to ensure that one’s own safety is preserved by avoiding a potentially violent confrontation? Or should a person demonstrate the highest level of compassion by intervening on behalf of a defenseless animal?
As it turns out in this particular situation, the little boy decided to heroically jump in and grab the fox while kicking and screaming at the perpetrators. He succeeded in running away and bringing the fox to safety (FYI, this was a true story that was recently shared on social media).
Philosophers who seek to understand morality and our social dilemmas explore deeper and more extreme scenarios and questions that cannot be definitively resolved.
One example is the question of the overcrowded lifeboat.