What Is The Most Agonizing Choice You've Had To Make In A Game?


#1

DISCLAIMER: I’m stealing this topic from Game Informer, because it’s simple and great, and I don’t think I’ve seen it here yet…

What choice in a video game have you really struggled with? For me, It’s Ogre Battle 64, but I don’t have a particularly nuanced reason why. I was young, and the choices weren’t clearly right or wrong, lots of people would die whatever you chose.

Anyways, what decision made you stop and think? Why? And have you really regretted a decision?


#2

When I was 5 I set my tododile free in pokemon silver for reasons I no longer recall, but I remember crying about it and then thinking it was the right decision.


#3

Finally the “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” of my generation


#4

This might not be my final answer, but my gut reaction is the end of Samara’s loyalty quest in Mass Effect 2, when you have to choose whether to kill or save Morinth.

Don’t get me wrong, Morinth sucks. She’s a murderer and specializes in weird alien sex-murder in a way that’s very uncomfortable. But she’s also a child born into a culture that robbed her of her future because she’s the product of the Asari equivalent of miscegenation, and her people decided that made her irredeemably, genetically savage. Despite being born into captivity, Morinth was so capable and desired freedom and the chance to make a life for herself so much that she managed to escape and, however briefly, be her own person. And now her mother, who is so indoctrinated by their society that she cannot imagine any possible redemption or future for her own child, has been sent to kill her, and in that final moment she’s staring into her mother’s eyes as she desperately tries to hold off her killing blow. And you get to decide whether or not to let her mother kill her.

Yeah, that sucks.


#5

I’m going to say every time in Pyre where I had to let someone go. I’m not often one to be bothered by a choice in games but that one was always tough


#6

the choice in Life is Strange with the bird. I really agonized about that choice for a full 30 minutes.


#7

The choice of whether or not to replay Undertale after finishing a True Pacifist run, thus undoing all the good that happens over the course of that ending and returning the game’s characters to their cyclical existence in a painful, never-ending time loop.

I ah, may have considered buying another version of the game to avoid following through on that choice.


#8

Shooting The Bossat the end of MGS3. Technically not a choice-based game in the traditional sense, but the second you finish that fight and get to that scene and time stops just so you can pull that trigger? It got to me real bad as a kid, especially since she was the coolest woman I’d seen in video games up to that point. I couldn’t do it, so the game did it for me.


#9

Both of the Big Choices at the end the first two Walking Dead seasons were profoundly difficult and heartbreaking for me. Also s/o to Pyre and the Mordin choice in ME3, they were rough as well.


#10

Bioshock, where you have to choose between murdering a child for little to no overall gain or not doing that, a real conundrum, you got me Levine


#11

The first one that comes to mind for me is one of the decisions fairly late in GTA IV. There is a point where one cop friend of yours will ask you to kill his drug addicted brother. His drug addicted brother will ask you to kill him. Also, you are dating their sister. They will set up a meet and you are supposed to pick one to snipe. The outcome isn’t very different either way but I remember putting the controller down and taking an hour or so break to think about it.


#12

I can think of only one word.

Mordin.


#13

Another moment that isn’t technically an in-game choice: Hotline Miami if you get both endings basically confronts you for participating in the hyper-violence in a moment that really shocked me as a player. The idea of a game condemning your choice to partake in the narrative without breaking the fourth wall or being preachy.


#14

remember when there was a whole subset of people that were super upset by the fact that killing only one little girl got them basically the same ending as killing all the little girls, even though ‘I only killed one so technically it’s not as bad?’

christ…


#15

Well there must be a little more nuance and grey area in the sequel where you get the choice of * checks notes * killing an elderly unarmed woman in her home for taunting you a bit


#16

This is kind of a boring answer but almost every mission in XCOM 2 Long War. If you haven’t played LW before it changes up the mission mechanic in a major way by making you deploy a squad before the mission starts that then has to infiltrate the AO which has a time limit that is determined by how many soldiers you are taking and what they have equipped.

So not only do you need to strike a good balance between what/who to take vs how much time it’s going to take to infiltrate but you also need to make sure you don’t take every single thing because what happens if ADVENT attacks one of your outposts or a really good opportunity pops up to take out a convoy and get resources while lowering their strength in the region.


#17

So, so many - hope y’all don’t mind if I share more than one. :slight_smile:

Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer - I was a Lawful Evil Spirit-Eater, looking to increase my power without being excessive or cartoonish about it. I hooked up with this tribe of cannibals who want a sacrifice before they’ll teach me how to consume human souls. Unfortunately, the ideal candidates - a pair of idiot wannabe-barbarians - were already dead, because their lodge had double-crossed me at the end of a previous quest and I wiped them out. The next viable victims were a family of merchants I had absolutely no reason to harm… and in the end, that was what I did. I killed the cannibals afterwards, out of disgust more than anything, but it was the one situation where I would’ve done a reload if not for the fact that the two quests were hours apart. I still feel bad about it.

Also seconding Pyre - choosing not just who goes, but who stays. There will be feels no matter what.

In Pillars of Eternity: messing with the memories of my companions, specifically Grieving Mother and Maneha. I ended up letting Maneha purge her past and not doing the same for GM, even though to this day it’s hard for me to articulate why the former seemed acceptable as an expression of her own agency, and the latter felt like a violation that cheapened the tragedies she’d endured.

Even though I had some understanding of the multiple endings: the first time you reach the end of NieR Automata and have to choose whether you’ll play as A2 or 9S, and kill the other.

And finally, killing Feuerschwinge in Shadowrun: Dragonfall. There wasn’t any question in my mind that she’d paid for her crimes a dozen times over, but the alternatives seemed too cruel or left too much to chance; I couldn’t have another rampage on my conscience.

What a great question! :slight_smile:


#18

I feel like I would’ve been so much more conflicted about that if we didn’t know at that point that Morinth’s sisters had the same genetic condition and managed to control themselves - I saw that as ultimately vindicating Samara’s position and the asari policy as a whole, because it meant that in the end, Morinth chose to commit those murders. She could’ve left the monastery without becoming a predator. That made it a lot harder for me to sympathize with her in the end.


#19

It’s already been mentioned but Pyre is definitely up there for me. When it becomes clear that not everyone will win their freedom it added a great of weight to my choices over who I thought deserved it most and who would be of most use to the revolution on the other side. It was really well done.

I also found myself agonising over certain dialogue choices in Firewatch, not because they have a great deal of consequence but more so because I’m the kind of person who feels anxiety over saying the wrong thing and regretting it later. The choice to open up to Delilah about your history or your feelings felt very reminiscent to situations I’ve experienced in the past.

Maybe it’s not in the spirit of the question but another that comes to mind is just how long I will sit on a character creator screen wracked with indecisiveness. I have spent hours toying around with settings trying to craft the character that I will be happy with for the rest of the game. Heck I’ve even restarted games over just to tweak certain things about custom-made characters because an hour or two later I decided I wanted eyebrows B, not eyebrows C


#20

I guess there are a million way to interpret “amazing” but I think the one that had the deepest impact on me in recent years was from the Life is Strange sequel and I think it is because it really gave me some insight into an experience I never had to have before and also worked tremendously well as an empathy simulator. Spoilers:

[spoiler]The section after the play, where you’re walking outside with Rachel and trying to decide what this relationship actually IS. There has been innuendo, possible flirting-- all the hallmarks of clumsy teenage courtship. But of course this is different-- at least for, straight white dude that I am. I really LIKE Rachel, or at least I’m very taken with her as a character. But there is a bit of something in there that I don’t trust-- something that seems to be able to manipulate others.

Finally it happens, and the game asks me if I’m going to try to kiss her.

I want to be clear and make sure no one thinks I’m saying, “Oh, hey! Now I know just what it must feel like to be discovering you’re gay in a world that often will make you feel awful about that!”. But the effectiveness of this moment in terms of working on me as a kind of empathy/stand in someone else’s shoes simulator really hit me between the eys.

I’m sitting there on my couch, hands shaking and the one thought in my head was (In character): “I want to kiss her, but I am so afraid she’s going to get angry and call me a freak. If she denies me and then screams at me for being ‘gross’ or screams ‘[insert lesbian slur here]’ I am going to be so crushed.”

We’ve all have had the fear of rejection, but I suppose I never really thought about how compounded that is when the stakes aren’t just being rejected, but being viewed as something “unnatural” or “disgusting” by the object of your affection. It wasn’t her turning away from the kiss that I feared at that moment, it was a judgement on the very core of who the character I was playing is, and I wondered if Rachel would be that cruel. COULD she be that cruel?

Again, I want to make it clear that I don’t think I understand what it’s like to be a marginalized person because I played a VIDEO GAME, but I do think that choice did a really great job of making my guts churn and simultaneously making me think of how scary an experience like this-- one I’ve never had to deal with in my real life-- could be. I know some people think the game is a bit queer baiting and I’m not here to argue that, but that choice really did have a positive impact on me and it was my favorite moment of that year in any game.[/spoiler]