Monday, June 6, 2016

Life is Strange Sacrificing Love or Everyone Else with the Trolley Problem

Tornado over Arcadia Bay
(6/5/2016) --- There is no doubt that Life is Strange (1) is one of the best games released on the eight generation of home consoles (2) but also in terms of narrative the game it offers the possibility of multiple ending and time travels on different and alternative realities.

The game itself offers a very awesome and imersive experience on the world of Max Caulfield as when she discovers her newly found powers after a "premonition" or a possible timeline where she couldn't save Arcadia Bay or Chloe and went back in time to re-do any possible mistakes.

On this entry we are going to focus on the last episode of the game, Episode Five - Polarized -.in which the main decision is to save Arcadia Bay or to save Chloe in order to fix the timeline paradoxes created; it also brings an ethical problem that many people know as The Trolley Problem (3) in which one individual is faced with a decision to kill one man or to kill five just in exchange of saving the other one, by moving the path of a trolley.

Forced Choice Decision Making
What to do within this ethical dilemma? As during Max's trip she is always trying to make the right things but there is a shadow of doubt when realities collapsed and she is confronted by one of her alternative self's on the Two-Whale Dine In as Max being a selfish person who is doing all that for her own personal benefits and probably trying to find justification on her attraction to Chloe even just by ignoring the abuses (Dr. M. Carver 4).

It is open to interpretation what the "alternative Max" was saying to the prime Max as if really Chloe was just being an abuser and Max was being the victim, probably it was a way of the other Max to prevent the prime one to continue suffering because of the fate of woman she loved, which involves dying on almost every single possible way in each episode, much by negligence or by "acts of God" and Max being there just to save her from her probable inevitable fate.

Chloe Facing that She Can't Escape Death
Even Chloe inside the game knows she can't delay it, but at the end is Max who chose what to do. This same scenario is involved in the aforementioned Trolley Problem but here there is only one variation which is the classical sense of the problem, Chloe versus the entire town. Albeit this is just a modification of the original problem.

What would you do? The forced choice decision making it's seen on a real life basis, it can go on many different scenarios. On some cases is to come out of the closet and to face rejection of the family, or to don't do anything and probably live a life of self-hating, depression and even suicide. The setup of Life is Strange it takes that dilemma into a more fantastic scenario but that Trolley Problem is actually really common and it doesn't involve death on much of the occasions but just being aware that the decisions you take as a person will follow you for the rest of your life and there aren't second chances.

Dead Follows Everyone
More than being a theory inside the game is followed with humor, the idea of the Trolley is followed and probably lampooned on Chapter Two where Max has to save Chloe from being killed by a train in which if the player doesn't react properly, Chloe will be killed a lot, more than usual but there is no way on that point of the game to let her die as it wouldn't be as dramatic as the last moment of the game.

What if in real life we are presented with a similar scenario? The person you loved stuck in a train track or in a similar setting? This would open a new variant of the Trolley Problem in which is not about a discriminating issue in order to kill the least desirable individual based on physical appearance or because the person goes against your beliefs and even so the good that person has caused to humanity. Would you sacrifice the lives of hundreds or thousands? Just to be with the person you love?. I would.

The End is Near
I didn't hesitated when I had the moment to chose towards my personal freedom or sacrificing who I am, even if the consequences were going to be finals. I feel there is a parallelism between Max and Chloe and my own self. I know is not only with me but many LGBTQ felt related to Max trying to navigate into a reality to be with the person she loves. There is no doubt what many decision people took and is never the most easiest one but at the end is the one that will let you grow.

Bibliography:

  1. http://lifeisstrange.com/index.php
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eighth_generation_of_video_game_consoles
  3. http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00426/full
  4. http://counsellingresource.com/therapy/self-help/stockholm/

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