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Old 05-02-2012, 02:35 AM   #1
Croakamancer
 
 
 
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Was this a successful moral dilemna? [Probably going to be spoilers]

I'm just curious... people seem to have very strong opinions on this whole issue, but did both AIs strike you as being in the right to some degree, making fair, truthful points that you could sympathise with? A lot of reviews of Personally blast it for the ending being heavy handed in making a point, and to go from there to a scenario like this is an interesting move. (and I saw at least one user here say that we were 'supposed' to sympathise with Hyun-ae)

To start things off I'd say this is a dilemma, and a legit one. Hyun-ae's actions are certainly understandable, but justifiable is a trickier, more debatable term. Mute comes off a little more badly, but gets in some serious, good, honest points and actually does on occasion think outside the box of her society. Both characters have virtues, and thinking about these events to me seems like an honest dilemma. I honestly liked both of them, and was seriously saddened first time I played that I couldn't help them both.

(FTR, please don't bring up the Harem Ending as a third option. The way it's written, I'm pretty sure it's intended as a joke ending, or UFO ending analogue)
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Old 05-02-2012, 04:05 AM   #2
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I stumbled into the "Pale bride falls in love" ending on the first play-through, playing it naïvely exactly as I felt it. And I had no qualms with the ending at all. I felt truly sympathetic for *Hyun-ae and while her actions weren't nice, they were a thing of the distant past and neither the Kims nor Smiths were especially sympathetic characters.

Only on the second play-through, digging more into *Mute's site of the story, did I question the actions of Hyun-ae more. I still can't condemn her for what she did though. Maybe my moral dilemma is that I should condemn her more than I am, but I can't honestly say that I do, even after having completed 100% of the game and seen all notes of both sides. Actually, every ending that did not involve the rescue of *Hyun-ae made me feel bad.

I won't say everybody on board the ship deserved to die; nobody does, whatever their actions. This goes for both the Kims/Smiths and for Hyun-ae. But, such a degraded, incest-ridden society aimlessly bumbling through space wouldn't seem to take a good end anyway. It very much appears they were already falling apart at the seams and would have degraded themselves into the stone age not long after. It appears to me Hyun-ae only short-circuited the process a bit.

So while I still don't have terrific moral dilemmas about the decisions made in the game itself, the game does bring up interesting issues that, when explored separately, quickly lead to more dilemmas (as evidenced by the activity in this forum). I think the game is very successful in bringing up a lot of issues. Whether it is successful in its primary moral dilemma depends on whether there was supposed to be one to begin with.
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:31 AM   #3
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All in all I think it's been very polarising and has bought about some rather heated discussions, so I suspect it has succeded in the moral dilemna stakes. I don't think we see that kind of debate over the endings to Mass Effect / Kotor / other games that have "moral" systems...

Plus it's made me pull out Ren'Py again after what... 5 years? Though I am recalling why I hate Python so much.
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:41 AM   #4
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This one doesn't, IMO. Moral systems are one thing, moral choices are quite another.

I have to say, I get a little worried about both extremes of the debate. On the one hand, calling Hyun-ae 'evil' is worrying as hell; she did some hard to forgive things, but her motivation, what drove her to it, was clear and understandable. If someone can say confidently that they wouldn't have done the same in her shoes, I'd call them a liar. But still, what happened was monstrous, and she's directly responsible for it (leaving aside the legal side of if she still counts as her original self) She killed an entire civilization, including innocent people, who honestly disagreed with society. Mass murdur on a grand scale.

That's not forgivable. That's not something that she should be forgiven for, is it? (I love conflict, and I sense a lot of it here)
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:01 AM   #5
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Though was the civilization worth saving?

It probably wouldn't have survived another hundred years anyway. Let alone another 600 years, as the historian on the ship I probably would have been grateful for removing a rather sticky issue from the current interstellar community. "We've got 20,000 inred nostly infertile sub human idiots on this planet(if they landed)/ship who are going sucking up our resources better used on our citizens, what should we do with them? They barely know how to build a house."
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:20 AM   #6
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But that's a highly utilitarian PoV. You're not letting them attempt to change, and you're directly saving that all those people, irrespective of their actions, thoughts and personal beliefs deserved death for the crime of being born into a system and society. For all we know, there were people trying to change things, trying to rekindle a love of the old ways, quietly. Every society has discontents

To me, that's the question. 'Did all those people deserve a violent death?'
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:13 PM   #7
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On the one hand is the society: the collection of rules, titles, positions, and controls (spoken, written, and unsaid) that make up the structure and drive of a nation/group/gang/whatever. On the other hand is all the individual lives that live within the society: the fathers, the mothers, the sons and daughters, and how every person interprets and deals with the world around them.

If it was ever feasibly possible to destroy a society and yet allow every individual life to continue to live as they chose, this would have been a perfect time and place to utilize it. But society and individual are inextricably linked. Society cannot exist without people in it, and the people within it either support or work against the society (to varying degrees, it's an analog scale, not a binary one). Even Robinson Crusoe had a sense of society, all alone on his island for decades. So the only means of the elimination of a society would be the death of most, if not all, of the people within it.

If I had been placed in Hyun-ae's position, within such a society, I'm not sure what I would have done. Would I have turned off the oxygen? Killing thousands of people? (she honestly thought there were only a dozen people on the ship, those she met in person within two houses, she was never allowed to leave either) Perhaps, perhaps not. But I would not condone or tolerate any such society that functioned as theirs did, and was apparently supported by the vast majority of the population without question. Even Mute didn't question it, instead defending and re-interpreting the events (admittedly, she had fair points in several cases).

So I'd say the moral dilemma for me, would be whether or not to allow their society to continue, with blind hope for positive change in the future (and the corresponding fear of no change, or negative), or enact a 'final solution' and bring it to a very certain stop. So, yeah, it's a good moral dilemma.

Rescuing Hyun-ae from the ship? Not even an issue. Leaving her behind in that rotten hulk would have been an act of cruelty, nothing more. (fyi, I too answered honestly my first play-through, and got the Hyun-ae love ending, with no regrets) Mute? Eh, that's more grey. She was never human, and thus never had a soul. I dunno. Though I do say the 'harem' ending looked really uncomfortable... I hope the historian got a beefier computer system quickly.

Last edited by Zorlond: 05-02-2012 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:22 PM   #8
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@Society; Saying that you need to kill people to change society is one hell of an assumption. A lot of people're going to take issue with that. Societies have been changed by people's will, the popular zietgiest. You might say that's change with time, and older generations dying, but still, that doesn't require violent death.

Quote:
Rescuing Hyun-ae from the ship? Not even an issue. Leaving her behind in that rotten hulk would have been an act of cruelty, nothing more. (fyi, I too answered honestly my first play-through, and got the Hyun-ae love ending, with no regrets) Mute? Eh, that's more grey. She was never human, and thus never had a soul. I dunno. Though I do say the 'harem' ending looked really uncomfortable... I hope the historian got a beefier computer system quickly.
Unless you consider Hyun-Ae evil, I agree, that's not much of an issue. The thing that occupied me was the fact that to save one, the other has to essentially die. You have to kill Mute; an honest, hard-working creature whose flaws are those of the society she existed in. To save someone who, whatever her intent and knowledge, is responsible for a horrible crime.
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:28 PM   #9
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Actually, I'm not sure suffocation qualifies as 'violent'. Terror-inducing, certainly, and slow, as you're left lying there, gasping for air, as life ebbs away over minutes. But 'violent'? That's someone hitting you with a sledgehammer, or something along similar lines.

And, actually, the harem ending is where you don't kill either one. Would you like a spoiler on that?

Edit: Here ya go. Took some looking-up:

Spoiler:
Be sure that Mute is the active AI when the reactor starts to fail at 50% completion. Let her explain what is happening. During your efforts to reduce power, be sure to use the 'copy' command on the terminal to move Hyun-ae directly into Mute's core. She'll be placed in Inactive storage, and won't suffer any decay, even though you still can't access her from there.

Once you've fully explored Mute's side of the story, she'll ask you if that's all, and tell her that you want to show her one more thing. Go back to the command terminal and enter 'decrypt block7'. Then use the 'Search By ID' tool to look up 7-EUX25, and show it to Mute.

AFAIK, there's no other way to access this file from Mute's side of the story.


Last edited by Zorlond: 05-02-2012 at 01:40 PM.
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:15 PM   #10
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Zorlord, I know, I've seen it. However, read it closely. I find it hard to take it as any type of canon ending; Hyun-ae is written pretty out of character to make it work, and it comes across as akin to the UFO ending for me. A joke. The actual endings, the ones that you get without cheating, require death of someone.

As to violent, eh, side issue. Terrifying, horrific deaths; that's the focus of what I meant.
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:57 PM   #11
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course as the guy in the ship you don't have a huge amount of choice which AI you end up with unless you know that after the reactor event you wont be able to get into the other AI again. Hence getting stuck with *mute my first time, and shes' just not the kind of character that interests me.

In character I'd have downloaded her (*mute) and sold her on as an anthropological curiosity. Much as I'm sure the population of the ship would have been if any had managed to survive if the air supply hadn't been turned off. Of little more interest to Modern interstellar society as a ape society is to our modern digital society. I'm sure a generation ship fallen into inbreading and medieval attitudes would be fasinating for social "scientists" and such like.

Hyun-ae I'd keep, as an AI seems to suit a drifter that sifts through the remains of dead ships and colonies to find answers as to how they died, even when he's dealing with the living it seems he's likely only dealing with the data of that persons life as opposed to the actual person*.

As a character I expect the concept of revenge and punishment is rather foreign, it would just be odd to have the avatar of someone that was responsible for something that happend centuries ago there to talk to. What's the point in holding a grudge for more than a couple of centuries anyway.

As to *mutes demise if I pick Hyun-Ae, *shrugs* I only turned her on so I could gain access to additional data. I'd likely of just turned the whole ship off when I left anyway so salvage teams had an easier time of it when they turn up to gut the vessel of anything useful.

As to the Harem ending, Hyun-ae even asks if you cheated to achieve it olol.

*Oh, I was just thinking "where have I heard about that kind of character before" ergo one who spends his life sifting data and "predicting" likely futures or interesting things to investigate, it's the William Gibson novel Idoru. Good book, that has an AI in it too (shock horror.)
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Croakamancer View Post
I find it hard to take it as any type of canon ending;
Ok, fair point. The goofy 16-bit-esque music certainly doesn't help... : /
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LegionZero View Post
As to the Harem ending, Hyun-ae even asks if you cheated to achieve it olol.
Well, i remember what they say, but you still have root access. So you are logically able to access the whole system. It doesn't make sense for logs to appear and disappear. If you remember, when you click on the first *Mute log entry and let Hyun-ae examine it, she will hide it apologizing. But if you remember the log name you can get it back. I figured that by "cheating" you mean using knowledge from one playthrough to the other. But since that clearly shows this is not cheating at all, if the data is there and you're root you can access it. The fact that you also have more privileges than them (remember when they ask you to decrypt the blocks manually 'cause they can't do it?) only confirms that you're indeed root. This makes me believe the harem ending is not a joke but part of the real endings.
Then again, maybe i'm just trying to apply real life logic to a game (you can't really "digitalize" a person).

Edit: this made me remember that they're in fact denied from accessing cyphered blocks, services and the reactor due to not being humans.

Last edited by Togusa86: 05-02-2012 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:39 PM   #14
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Except there's no logical way you could just 'guess' a file's ID code. And you never see that file in *Mute's half of the game. Most of the ID codes don't follow any really obvious patterns, and the few that do only apply within their block. Sure, you could theoretically try every possible code... How many weeks do you think the historian was sitting out there?

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Originally Posted by Togusa86 View Post
Then again, maybe i'm just trying to apply real life logic to a game (you can't really "digitalize" a person).
Well, not currently, sure......
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorlond View Post
Except there's no logical way you could just 'guess' a file's ID code. And you never see that file in *Mute's half of the game. Most of the ID codes don't follow any really obvious patterns, and the few that do only apply within their block. Sure, you could theoretically try every possible code... How many weeks do you think the historian was sitting out there?



Well, not currently, sure......
You don't neet to guess a file's "id code" (let's call it file name). You are administrator, you can see the whole system. The shell they drop you to looks like some kind of *nix. You don't really have to use the UI (the AIs). Just use "find" or "grep" and you're good to go.
They're presented as some sort of "librarians". See the "Windows Search" service in your Windows 7 computer? There. They index log entries.
Mute and Hyun-ae will show you recent files (or stuff related to the log entry you're looking at - notice this is still a normal search). The search will only work for file names and not for content. Anyway, even if this still doesn't make sense for you, if you're root you have the whole system at your disposal (and as i said, you even have more access to it than the AIs).

Edit: i also want to add that all messages contains either the real name or the pseudonym. "grepping" through content with such keywords would reveal everything.

Last edited by Togusa86: 05-02-2012 at 03:49 PM.
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