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Inmate2993

Can choice conflict with gameplay?

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Inmate2993    222
Consider this familiar situation for anyone who plays console RPGs. The short love interest with blue hair (or brown) and big eyes is in some store when the hero walks in. She''s being all ditzy looking at the jewlery and the player is presented with the option to either buy the jewlery for her (drawing out of party funds) or to pretend you didn''t see that and back out slowly. We know what this situation is for. Somewhere in the console''s RAM chips is a location dedicated to the "affection" or "romance" value between the characters and this choice it a +1 -1 situation. My question is about the gameplay value in this. "What value?" Granted, a sense of choice is much apprectiated by the players, and even demanded by some, but the physical gameplay here is the up and down buttons, and then the action-trigger button, and then slightly different dialouge later in the game. Now, heres a different scenario. Say the very very short heroine wants the jewel, but rather then present the choice and potentially ruin the game because you were a few C-Notes short to afford so many carets, that the game then just leaves it at that and it''s up to player to solve whatever puzzle is involved with getting that shiny shiny jewel. I mean, same choice wether or not to buy it, but it''s not thrust on you as though its an either-or and you can''t change your mind later. To make this debate worthy, would a puzzle like RPG in this solve-everyone''s-problem be worth it, even if you get a smile and/or pat on the back from all of your putting the gum on the twine and reaching into the sewer grate to get the quarter to use in the gumball machine to give to the child?

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Waverider    169
I think an RPG with the same kind of puzzles and choice impact would make the game far too monotonous. Mix it up a bit with different kinds of choices. The variety is part of what makes it adventurous, because the player doesn''t know what to expect, what will happen or what kind of characters they will meet.

It''s the composition of everything put together that leaves the impression.

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Kylotan    10011
Maybe I''m just tired or really dumb but I honestly don''t see what you''re proposing in the first post. Are you arguing against permanent decisions that have to be made instantly?

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SteevR    190
In a non-linear game, with no specific objectives, giving more opportunities for the player to explore different experiences (virtual romance with the window-shopping girl) is absolutely vital. In a game that is focused on one type of gameplay (action RPG) this might provide more replay value, but would be perhaps of questionable importance.

Now, if said female character is really the Big Bad''s/Big Good''s daughter, and you have to get to know her to win some quest (she lets you into the castle, lets you out of the jail/torture chamber, etc.), it becomes a random choice (how is the player supposed to know the future, or that she can do anything to help you? (comments regarding standard adventure/RPG genre conventions nonwithstanding)). If the player knows that getting to know the girl is vital to the plot in some way, it becomes nothing more than a puzzle (very short FedEx quest?).

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TechnoGoth    2937
I think that choices added to the games. It can work well in any rpg. For instance those choices can bond your diffrent characters increasing their affiction for one an other. This could then have an effect on game play but increasing there abilities when working together. OR at the end of the game your shown diffrent endings.

What about in the case of a multi-generational game? Your character has to find a mate during the course of a chapter and which mate you end up with determines the main charater in the next chapter.

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by Inmate2993
I mean, same choice wether or not to buy it, but it''s not thrust on you


I find that although many games give you an either/or choice, it takes away from the puzzle factor. Ie. you don''t have to *think* in order to spot the puzzles.

Also character interaction shouldn''t become a puzzle or a simplistic win / lose situation.



(I''d love to see Squaresoft do an adventure / RPG hybrid.)

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Inmate2993    222
lkd85: Yeah.

Kylotan: I was making the case that a system of choices that affect the progression of the game doesn''t always offer the gameplay possibilities that they seem to. Granted, it can and is often done wrong, but I was wondering (and trying to get people discussing) ways to solve problems unrelated to the game''s story that doesn''t have a tired structure.

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Beige    188
KOTOR did something similar to this.

There were little mini-quests, like Mission and Griff. You couldn''t really miss them unless you never talked to them, which is unlikely since one of them''s a member of your party.

Upon completion of such quests, you weren''t always rewarded with an uber item. Sometimes you do a nice thing for someone and they can''t reward you.

The game dealt with such things using the light-side/dark-side point system, where such minor quests added or subtracted to those points. Alone they were relatively minor in terms of game-ending consequences; but their impact was to serve as a direct communique to the player, to force them to make the tough decisions. Not just in the hope to get an item, but to show the player the consequences of their action. Not including a reward, or making it a small minor one made such seemingly unimportant events meaningful to the player.

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Mr Strange    122
This is a pretty good question:

"Is it worthwhile to include small insignificant choices to break up the normal, larger choices which make up the body of the game?"

I''d answer with a qualified yes. My qualification is:

"So long as the insignificant choices are obviously insignificant."

That''s subjective, so this isn''t really a hard and fast rule. But in my personal experience, I enjoy the choices games present me, and I enjoy breaking up those choices into different scopes. Sometimes I''m equipping something for a single battle, just to check it out. I''m not altering anything long-term, but I still enjoy that choice. Other times, I''m assigning a one-time stat bonus to a character, and I''ll agonize over it. I enjoy those choices too.

However, when the scope of a choice is unclear, I begin to get frustrated with a game. If I thought the stat bonus was transferrable, and it isn''t, I might get upset. If I buy my love interest the red hat rather than the blue, I don''t expect the final cinematic to be fundamentally different.

So yes, I like those inconsequential bits. I think they can serve storyline purposes, add identification with characters, or do any number of things to supplement your main game.

--Mr. Strange

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