Illusion of choice is any moment where the player thinks they are making a choice, but there’s actually no alternative option and the consequences are negligible. The more freedom and meaningful choices a game has, the more difficult and expensive it will be to develop. Illusion of choice is a relatively inexpensive way to make players feel like they have agency. It can be implemented both in the narrative and play aspects of a game. The Extra Credits video, “The Illusion of Choice – How Games Balance Freedom and Scope,” discusses short narrative branches that diverge from the main story and reconnect later. For example, it talks about some of the dialog options in “Mass Effect.” Sometimes, you can pick from a number of different dialog options, but the options are written so that a single response from the NPC will fit for all of them. The player feels like they made a choice, but the outcome would have been the same regardless. In regards to the play aspect, a game designer might a blockade of soldiers to convince the player to take a different path instead of setting up an invisible wall. Controlled violence is an attempt to harness violence, focusing and releasing it in a way that ventilates one’s rage. The author presents American football as an example of controlled violence. We take our inherent violence and aggression and try to experience it in a cultural context that arguably “has some merit and beauty.” It’s referred to as a “contact ballet” where spectators indulge in the sacrifices of the players, like broken bones and brain damage.
In his case study of Quentin Tarantino films, Bain-Selbo discusses the positive associations that come with staged violence and violent spectacle. While some argue that Tarantino’s use of violence serves to promote nihilism and teach society that being evil is cool, Bain-Selbo explains how it is meaningful. Many of Tarantino’s exercises in violence are tales of revenge – it implies a sense of justice, not evil. In “Kill Bill,” for example, is beaten by her former “friends,” shot in the head by her ex-lover, and left to die. Our innate desire for justice, merged with our inherent aggression, motivates us to root for her on her bloody rampage. Likewise, the viewer delights in