Life Is Strange and ‘‘Games Are Made’’: A Philosophical Interpretation of a Multiple-Choice Existential Simulator With Copilot Sartre

Games and Culture 1 (18) (2016)
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The multiple-choice video game Life is Strange was described by its French developers as a metaphor for the inner conflicts experienced by a teenager in trying to become an adult. In psychological work with adolescents, there is a stark similarity between what they experience and some concepts of existentialist philosophy. Sartre’s script for the movie Les Jeux Sont Faits (literally ‘‘games are made’’) uses the same narrative strategy as Life is Strange—the capacity for the main characters to travel back in time to change their own existence—in order to stimulate philosophical, ethical, and political thinking and also to effectively simulate existential ‘‘limit situations.’’ This article is a dialogue between Sartre’s views and Life is Strange in order to examine to what extent questions such as what is freedom? what is choice? what is autonomy and responsibility? can be interpreted anew in hybrid digital–human—‘‘anthrobotic’’—environments.
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