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Experimental GamesCritique, Play, and Design in the Age of Gamification$
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Patrick Jagoda

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226629834

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226630038.001.0001

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(p.119) 3 Choice
Experimental Games

Patrick Jagoda

University of Chicago Press

This chapter takes up the concept of choice that is central to contemporary economics and the medium of video games. Rational choice theory bases all economic activity on decision-making undertaken by a rational subject. However, nonconscious decision-making informs everything from relations on social media to trades across financial markets. Video games serve as an ideal medium for exploring decision-making. This chapter delves into the limits and possibilities of choice in a digital era, exploring the first-person interactive metafictional game The Stanley Parable (2013), the networked game Moirai (2013), and the role-playing game Undertale (2015). My reading of these games moves from a model of rational decision-making to one of experimental construction of freedom.

Keywords:   choice, conditioning, freedom, genocide, Moirai, network games, priming, rational choice theory, The Stanley Parable, Undertale

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