Thursday, July 30, 2015

Perspectives on Death in Game of Thrones: A Nest of Vipers

"I know man... I know...
I may have come to the point where Game of Thrones is a little too dark for my liking.

I'll refrain from spoiling the latest episode of Game of Thrones here, but I did want to say I actually really enjoyed this episode, even if some moments struck me as especially unsettling. This episode felt like a speedy ramp up to this season's conclusion. It's a refreshing pace compared to the rest of the episodes, but I'm sure Scott and I will discuss it in more depth in our next debrief.

I haven't played the latest episode of Life is Strange yet, but I suspect playing it shortly after the latest Game of Thrones will be especially illuminating. Juxtaposed to the live-or-die decisions of the Telltale series, Dontnod's calmer exploration of adolescence seems truer to real life. The decisions you make, while informed with the ability to travel through time, never feel to sudden or definite. They are embracing the ripple-effect narrative, which means your decisions often feel small scale, even if they tie into a larger narrative. When I make a decision in Life is Strange, I usually feel pretty good about it. I feel like I tried my best and want to commit.

Whereas when I decide who lives and who dies in Game of Thrones, I feel constrained. That is, of course, the point of drama set in Westeros. The ultimate decision in A Nest of Vipers feels especially brutal because while I am constrained in my decision, I'm asked to make it not as a character but as a player.

I've never felt quite so aware of my own uncomfortable justifications in an adventure game.

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