Life is Strange (It is indeed)

Life is Strange is a story-based interactive video game much like the games made by Telltale Games. The game revolves around Max, an ordinary and almost forgettable girl that finds out she has the power to rewind time for short periods and has these visions of an impending storm that is coming to destroy her town. Throughout the game the player is given choices during key moments that will shape how the story will proceed. There are many great themes and discussion that stem from Life is Strange but most interesting ones are how the interactive nature of the game provides insight into the player’s moral compass and the question of free will in the context of time travel.

As with any video game, Life is Strange has an interactive element to it. The player is given options during Max’s interactions with the other characters on how they would like her to respond. I found this gave me a very good sense of my own moral compass and what my own personal sense of justice is. There are some great morally ambiguous situations that the player must make decisions on. One of my favorites, is when the security guard is harassing Kate and the player is given the option to intervene or take a picture of it. This is a great example of two very different forms of justice. Some people feel the need to get personally involved in situations they feel are not right (as I did). The other sense of justice is more discrete form. The other option is to take a photo of the harassment. I see this as evidence gathering. Someone that takes this path is thinking more about the consequences of their actions, i.e. who would believe them or how do you convince someone of what you saw. The people that like to get involve are usually a little more impulsive in their decision making.

For as long as the idea of time travel has been around there have been debates surrounding consequences (the butterfly effect) and free will (fate/destiny vs. random chaos). When someone possesses the power to travel through time, at first glance you think that it would be cool, they can go change the most embarrassing moments in their lives. But once you start diving deeper you begin to think, if that hadn’t happened to them would they be any different? How does changing their own lives affect everyone they come into contact with. This is the root of the free will debate, does changing events that affect more than one individual mean that those people no longer have control over their actions? Personally, I think that having the power to influence time is irrelevant to this debate. Humans lives are ruled by cause and effect. When an event occurs the decisions that people make are based on the effects of that event, these decisions in turn, cause other events to occur. So no matter how someone with the ability to time travel alters events, in the moments after that event has occurred the others involved still have the free will to react to the effects of that event.