What are your thoughts on meaningless choices?

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#1 by deago
2021-06-12 at 04:17
< report >There is a fine line between video games and visual novels; the former tends to include an element of exploration, whereas the latter is essentially a novel but with visuals -and sometimes voices and a few animations- with the goal of improving readers' visualisation.

Meaningless choices, which can be responses or decisions, have no consequences, have no impact on the story, and do not provide you with alternative scenes.

To me, they are, well, meaningless. Unless the story was unimportant, for example, comedy visual novels.
#2 by sanahtlig
2021-06-12 at 13:47
< report >Meaningless choices can provide the illusion of choice. Sometimes that's enough, especially when mixed in with real choices. Keeping the player guessing is part of building suspense.
#3 by butterflygrrl
2021-06-12 at 14:03
< report >It's all in how you use them. A lot of WRPGs have tons of meaningless choices that are just there to let you roleplay your character's personality a little while not actually affecting the plot in any way. This lets the player feel more immersed in the character.

Sometimes writers use meaningless choices to emphasize the futility of a situation. This is risky but it can work.

Sometimes you have both meaningless and meaningful choices to flesh out the interactivity a little bit, both to keep you guessing about what really matters and to keep it from being too bare-bones boring. "Press X for Bad End"

but I've played at least one game that was basically kinetic and then had a completely meaningless choice in the middle for absolutely no reason other than, I guess, to avoid being labeled as choiceless. that was a huge waste of time.
#4 by bobjr2000
2021-06-12 at 14:18
< report >What butterfly said. It depends how used and how often. Kinetic is basically taboo of waste of time for me. Id rather watch anime if I have nothing to do with story. When they add meaningless choices it does nothing for content because its same as single ending. I have no problem if its a mixture of choices matter and some meaningless but just by its self not a fan.
#5 by kratoscar2008
2021-06-12 at 15:22
< report >I like them.
Its a constant complain in say the Persona games because outside of social link points they dont affect anything.
In this case the intent is to let the player give his input on a situation to establish your character leaning.
It isnt the same in VNs though, where the protagonist already has a personality so meaningless choices in there are actually worthless.
#6 by aresia
2021-06-12 at 18:01
< report >It's just an extra effort to help the player self-insert more, basically illusion of choices.
#7 by mutsuki
2021-06-12 at 18:07
< report >It's alright... unless they are literally meaningless like in the Persona series where the resulting text for both options is exactly the same. If there's even a few lines of response to your choice it'd be one thing but a fat nothing is bad.Last modified on 2021-06-12 at 18:07
#8 by dchsflii
2021-06-13 at 04:59
< report >They can be fun if they are implemented as a way to roleplay a character. I think Ace Academy and Oxenfree (though this is not a VN) are good examples of this.

If they're just there so you have buttons to click, I'm not a fan. Especially if it's not possible to tell them apart from the ones that do. Just wastes your time.Last modified on 2021-06-13 at 04:59
#9 by barfboy
2021-06-15 at 21:54
< report >Rage. I can't stand visual novels that put in more choices than are necessary.
#10 by shinytentacool
2021-06-16 at 00:11
< report >If it's actions, like in an escape game type thing, they suck

If it's just dialogue between characters that changes a few lines of conversation, then it's cool. And I wouldn't call it meaningless in those cases
#11 by rkc
2021-07-10 at 16:20
< report >I just wish the tag was more thoroughly explained, and/or better used.
Choices that don't do things like hit flags, boost points, or whatever /can/ have some use. Jokes, lore, and other non-vital things that can just be tacked on could be fine, if it's not the only kind of choice in the VN.
But lots of times, I have a lot of trepidation on starting a game with the tag. This is because I don't want to read 20+ hours, get to a choice, and it has literally no bearing. I'm not talking about just the "Inside/Outside" thing in VNs that are more like just doujin manga but animated, but ones where the decision tree isn't a tree, it's just a sorta... uh... bottleneck(I think it's called) type of map.
I don't need Type-Moon level data keeping on the half-dozen choices that decide what other choices are selectable later on, or whatever, but I'd like a /bit/ more depth to the VN than hours of reading A, choice, reading B, ending; restart, rereading A, other choice, rereading B, ending, and learning that the A, B, and the ending were all the same.
It's one of the reasons I haven't started really up there VNs, like MajiKoi, just because it has that tag (Few Choices is a similar, but separate tag I have issues with).
#12 by aresia
2021-07-11 at 08:35
< report >^Making a mountain out of molehill, at it's finest.
#13 by zakashi
2021-07-11 at 16:30
< report >I feel nothing about them.
#14 by diabloryuzaki
2021-07-11 at 16:41
< report >Meaningless choices can be useful to see character expression for a certain dialogue but very annoying if it is used as branching and sadly it is used as branching is normal when the story is not too serious
#15 by barfboy
2021-07-21 at 03:19
< report >So you guys don't mind games like Little†Bitch ~Little Bitch Girls in Hog Farm~
Which is a linear VN, a linear story, with absolute gobs of choices. The choices do absolutely positively nothing and you think 'yeah, sure, no problem'?

You guys like when VNs have a set of 4 choices that are
Go to the roof
Go to the roof
Go to the roof
Go to the roof

and think, yeah baby, gimme more of that stuff!

You come across a list of choices
Talk to Alice
Visit Aunt Maria
Go to the pool
and after choosing Visit Aunt Maria the game goes back to the choices
Talk to Alice
Visit Aunt Maria
Go to the pool
until you choose to talk to Alice because it absolutely won't let you do anything but the choice it requires and you think.

'All right, this game is giving me fantastic choices'?

You guys come across 3 choices
Go to the Cafeteria
Go to the roof
Go to the yard
and choosing any of them leads to running into Sakura in the hall who has the same conversation with you regardless of which choice you made and you think. 'hurray, choices!'

I don't understand. Are you all not understanding what 'Meaningless choices' means? They change 'at most 1 or two lines of dialog' and that's it. I'm guessing people don't understand the tag.
#16 by zap
2021-07-22 at 07:41
< report >I understand quite fine what the tag means, but I also don't see a problem with it. Have to agree with #12 there...

It's quite sad to see #11 not want to read a great VN like Majikoi because it has a few instances of minor dialogue variation and some quick joke endings. It's literally as easy as quicksaving at a choice and then reloading if you want to see the other dialogue. Doesn't take five seconds.

Sometimes there'll be a title that does things like you mention, #15, where it just gives you the illusion of choice but railroads you into the same scenarios anyway. If it's not some high-minded philosophical take on inevitability and predetermined fate, that can get a little annoying if you see behind the curtain and realize that all choices lead to the same result (as it quickly does when you reload). If the whole game does it, it might even graduate from "a little annoying" to "a minor annoyance".


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