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  • The following video contains spoilers for Life Is Strange

  • Lots and lots of spoilers

  • You have been warned

  • Life is all about choice

  • Coke or pepsi?

  • Batman or Superman?

  • Euthanize you best friend or kill her father?

  • Wait - what?

  • Game Theory Intro

  • Hello Internet! Welcome to Game Theory

  • The show that makes statistical analysis of video game trends cool

  • Well...cooler

  • And speaking of statistical analysis, today's episode is brought to you by...you, nearly 25,000 of you in fact

  • You helped provide the data we're using today, which is incredible

  • Scientists would kill to have that many volunteers for their studies

  • So in short, you guys rock!

  • Oh and uh, science? Eat your heart out

  • But let's not get ahead of ourselves

  • If you watch GTLive, you may have seen our 10-part series on Life Is Strange

  • Which was our most requested game to date

  • If you're not familiar with the game, heres a link to the archived videos

  • Enjoy the koala rants! I'll see you in 20 hours

  • But for those of you who don't want to burn through a day binge-watching my mug on the couch

  • Life Is Strange is like a choose your own adventure book with an emo haircut

  • The game follows a girl named Max who is studying photography at a boarding school in Oregon

  • Beyond that, you have free will to make all sorts of choices about what Max does

  • From watering the plant in her dorm room to signing petitions

  • *shots fired airhorn* SUPER COMPELLING GAMEPLAY

  • But this game is far more than taking Polaroids of things mundane enough to get a filter slapped onto them

  • and posting it on Instagram as art

  • The twist here is that Max discovers that she has the ability to rewind time and remedy her mistakes

  • Which turns out to be super useful since her best friend, Chloe, has a real penchant for getting herself killed

  • Uhh, whoops, I shot a car bumper for no reason and the bullet ricocheted and hit me in the gut

  • Oh, no! I was lying on some train tracks and got stuck...Again

  • Oh, gee! I wonder what happens if I try to track down a serial murderer without contacting the police

  • Criminy, Chloe! Max is constantly splitting the time-space continum

  • So that you can spit in the face of natural selection

  • The least, THE LEAST, you can do is not provoke the gun-toting drug dealer, okay?

  • Oh! And there she goes getting shot in the bathroom again. Great.

  • As you go, the choices get harder and more intense to the point that, at the end of the game,

  • you're making choices that don't really fit into black and white categories of right and wrong anymore

  • At the end of each chapter, the game rewards you with the chance to compare your decisions

  • To those made by other players

  • From "did you steal the money for handicapped children"

  • To "did you prevent your sexually assaulted best friend from jumping off of a building"

  • As an aside, can I just say how emotionally ill prepared I was

  • to have my video game friend depend on me to talk her down from suicide?

  • That's some really, really serious stuff

  • Like Tumblr trigger word level serious

  • Makes me miss the days when the most intense thing that happened in a game was hitting someone with a

  • red shell right before they crossed the finish line

  • But of all the decisions in the game, it was the final one that really caught my attention

  • After 19 hours spent reuniting with your best friend, Chloe, bonding over late-night pool parties,

  • early morning dance-offs, shared kisses, and heart-to-heart conversations,

  • You have to decide whether you want to sacrifice her life

  • At this point, you've saved her life no less than 5 times

  • And honestly many, many more if you really sucked at stopping that train

  • But all of Max's Back to the Future-ing hasn't sat well with the rest of the univers

  • A giant tornado is set to destroy the entire town

  • And Chloe determines that the only way to save it is for Max to go back in time to let her die the first time she gets shot

  • Thereby setting the timeline on the right path

  • And that's your last choice of the game: sacrifice your best friend to save a whole town,

  • Or let the town and all the people in it get sucked into a vortex to let your best friend live

  • The End

  • So much for a happy ending

  • A more accurate title for this game would have been "Life Is Emotionally Taxing"

  • Needless to say, in our playthrough I may have gotten a little choked up

  • *gunshot*

  • But they were the most manly of tears

  • Jason was cutting onions! What can I say?

  • Now according to the end-game statistics covering all the people who played Life Is Strange

  • 53% of people chose to sacrifice Chloe and 47% chose to sacrifice the town

  • It's just barely above a coin flip

  • But I was curious

  • Was there something about a gamer's personality type that would help decide

  • what they would choose in the final moments of sacrifice?

  • And going a level deeper, were you guys, the Theorist Family, more likely to skew one way or the other?

  • So I ran a test, and the answer was a resounding yes

  • It turns out Theorists might have a lot more in common than just going bananas over FNAF

  • Across the 25,000 responses you sent in, more than 72% of you said that you would sacrifice Chloe to save the town

  • That's a huge difference from the 50/50 split you see in the game

  • And so the obvious follow-up question is why are we seeing this?

  • Why are our results so much different than the rest of the gaming community?

  • So I dug deeper into the data

  • The trend held across gender, as well

  • Females who took the survey opted to sacrifice Chloe al little over 75% of the time

  • While men did so 71% of the time

  • And then what about age or nationality?

  • Well, though we've been unable to pull many people in their 50s and 60s from the crack-like high of FarmVille

  • The channel's viewers are from a diverse age range and heritage

  • So that didn't seem to be a huge factor here either

  • So then, what is it?

  • Why would a Theorist be so eager to ax their best friend

  • while the general gaming populace is so split on the decision?

  • And that's where the last question of the survey came into play

  • While there aren't tons philosophers pondering the implications of gamer choice in Life Is Strange

  • This kind of question has been around for a long time in the study of ethics

  • In 1967, British philosopher Phillippa Foot posed a thought experiment known as the Trolley Problem

  • It goes like this:

  • A trolley is running down a track toward 5 workers

  • And the workers can't get out of the way fast enough

  • However, there's a switch that would send the trolley down an alternate track where it would hit only one worker

  • In this situation, do you pull the switch?

  • Would you? Would you do it?

  • 'Cause in studies, about 90% of regular people say that they would

  • This decision is classified under the ethical philosophy of act utilitarianism

  • In which the right action to take is the one that maximizes the well-being for all people

  • It's basically a math problem

  • If someone has to die, it's more valuable to save 5 people than to save one

  • And honestly, that's likely what leads many of us to sacrifice Chloe and save Arcadia Bay

  • We hold the value of hundreds of lives in higher regard than we hold a single life

  • It's like Will You Press the Button all over again

  • But, obviously, that's not the whole story

  • In the trolley problem, there's no distinction between the two groups of workers

  • beyond how many of them there are

  • But Life Is Strange adds the wrinkle that the one person we'd have to kill is our best friend

  • And that makes a huge difference

  • In another variation of the trolley problem, the train is still going down the track toward the 5 people

  • But it can be stopped if you push an overweight person standing next to you onto the track

  • I kid you not, this is an legitimate ethical question philosophers debate

  • Clearly they have too much time on there hands

  • "Now in this scenario it's a fat person"

  • "In this scenario it's 20 puppies"

  • "And in this scenario it's an oversized Fig Newton"

  • Slow clap, philosophy, slow clap

  • Anyway, the utilitarian math of this new version is exactly the same as before

  • One person sacrificed to save five

  • But people respond to this version of events very differently

  • In fact, the majority of people say they wouldn't shove the man onto the tracks

  • In other words, that one change of having them push the person onto the track

  • changed answers from 90% stopping the train to less than 50%

  • And if you think about it, the same holds true in Life Is Strange

  • Where you, as the player, have to physically choose to rewind time, as Max

  • To set the course of events back to what they originally were

  • But why does this cause such a huge change?

  • Well a researcher named Joshua Greene used FMRI readings to measure the brain activity

  • In subjects presented with both problems

  • Whereas the FMRI showed a lot more activity in the rational parts of the brain when you can just pull the switch

  • Killing in a less personal fashion

  • In the second scenario with you physically doing the pushing onto the tracks

  • It's the Limbic system that lights up

  • The part of the brain that revolves around emotional response

  • Since you're in a situation where you physically have to do the killing yourself

  • This response is known as rule utilitarianism

  • The idea that following an established set of ethical rules, regardless of the situation, is the right solution

  • In this case, the ethical rule is don't push people in front of moving trains

  • Very good advice I find

  • Not from past experience, or anything

  • Going back to Life Is Strange, the people who argue for saving Chloe are more likely to be rule utilitarians

  • They're most likely operating under the concept

  • that a person should do anything possible to avoid harming their loved ones

  • Okay, so that's all pretty logical, but then why would Theorists be so much more likely to sacrifice Chloe?

  • It turns out that we Theorists are not like the population at large

  • Of course everyone knew that about me the first time I wore a lime green suit in public

  • But it's nice to have your company out there on the fringe

  • As the final question of the survey, I asked people to quickly take the Myers-Briggs personality assessment

  • Which classifies you into one of 16 different personality categories based on a 4-letter code

  • This thing is an incredibly accurate test that, if you've never taken it before, you absolutely should

  • I'm including a link in the description for you. It takes like 10 minutes, tops

  • People around the world swear by this thing

  • Including a lot of top companies who get their employees take it so they better understand their working style

  • It's very cool

  • Anyway, the categories break you down as follows:

  • Number 1: Are you quiet and introverted or an extroverted people person

  • Number 2: Do you prefer using your senses