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Thread: The hardest moral choice *Spoilers*

  1. #1
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    The hardest moral choice *Spoilers*

    -SPOILER WARNING-

    Bioshock fans are very familiar with the moral choice element of the games - I think for a lot of us it adds another dimension to why we love the game so much. It's philosophically edgy, not just a game. The moral choices really make the game for me. My degree is in psychology and philosophy (mainly ethics); morality has always fascinated me. So, I take the choices in the games pretty seriously.

    Obviously, the choices in BS were straightforward - they didn't really require much thought. You were either going to harvest or not harvest. I was really hoping that BS2 would raise the standard. At first, I was a bit disappointed.

    A warning: I am now going to recount my experience playing specific parts of BS2. Do not read if you do not want to spoil important parts of the game.

    Sure, when I finished the Grace plot I faced a new kind of choice. Not the "to harvest or not to harvest an innocent, little girl who's done nothing to me for reward" kind of no-brainer. Instead, it's a "to kill or not to kill a vindictive cow, who's been trying to kill me for the last half hour, for no reason except revenge and maybe to prevent her from making my life difficult in the future" kind of choice. Granted, it's a new choice, but it didn't take much thought. No reason to kill her, so I just let her slide. I didn't think there was much in that choice, so I was a bit unimpressed.

    Then along came Stanley. Mr Poole is a snivelling, little man. Not only do we find out that he sent Eleanor away to become a little sister, he also dobbed Delta in, setting in motion his "modification". He infiltrates Lamb's hideout in order to sell her out, and then when she's gone, spends his time on booze and cheap women. To cap it all off, he purposefully buries part of a city and all its inhabitants under the Atlantic ocean in order to hide his tracks. A particularly spineless, amoral Rapturian. Even Eleanor seems to egg Delta on to kill Stanley. There didn't seem to be any good reason to keep him alive - indeed, it would seem right to avenge Eleanor. So, when Sofia opened the security doors, I strolled on over and paused in front of him. I had to think a bit more about this one, but in the end an old, baseless belief of mine kicked in - that mercy is higher than justice (there's a bit of Sofia Lamb in me, not going to lie ). So, I left him hunched over, crying. At this stage, I was impressed. That was a more interesting moral choice.

    And then there came the final moral choice - what to do with the once and future Gil Alexander? Grotesquely deformed by ADAM and utterly insane. All he does is pelt you with his security devices and Alpa Series Daddies! Clearly a crazy, evil one. And on top of that: he's left audio recordings when he was sane instructing Delta on how to kill him. He makes it quite clear that he wants to be killed; that he doesn't want to live in his post-ADAM overloaded state. It really seems like the right thing to do. I've seen a few people stating that they killed Alexander for libertarian reasons - he asked to be killed, so they did it. IMO, it's the hardest moral choice in the game. It really made me think. I ummed and aaahed over that switch. I have my libertarian tendencies and I support voluntary euthanasia. Yet, I ended up not killing Alexander.

    Why? Well, here's my reasoning:

    The guy who asked me to kill him was already dead. The Gil Alexander that speaks on those audio tracks died when the ADAM overloaded his body and destroyed his mind. By the time Delta comes along, and despite Alexander's pre-recorded pleadings, there's nothing left of Gil Alexander to kill - he's been overgrown by the maddened Alexander the Great. That is why the libertarian theory doesn't stand up for me. So, having wrapped my head around that, I walked away, reasoning, again, that mercy is higher than justice.

    Hope you found that long debrief of the moral choices a not too boring read.

    I'd like to know what other people did/thought. Did you think it was a tough choice? Do you agree with my argument against the libertarian theory? What was your reasoning for killing/not killing Grace or Stanley or Gil?

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    I agree with what you said mostly. I let Grace and Stanley both live. They were going to live "normal"(as normal as any Rapturian) lives after I left, so I saw no advantage for either of us in killing them. When it came to Alexander, I thought about it for a little while and I kind of assumed the game thought the "good" choice would be to let him live. However I decided to kill him. It was what the sane genius of Alexander wanted. I also took into account that I myself would not want to live in that state.

  3. #3
    God. This is so good to read.

    I think I need to steel myself for the fact that a smallish fraction of our audience is going to engage in this way. I think I've now seen literally every choice we've made called out as someone's favorite element, seconds before someone else names it Feature Most Foul. But hearing the intent for this subjective, personal reflection (rather than a hard authorial message) come across almost exactly... well.

    Thanks for posting this, it'll give me strength in the rough days to come.
    Last edited by 2k_jthomas; 02-10-2010 at 09:57 AM.

  4. #4
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    It killed me to killSinclair

    But ifElenor could take DNA and put it in a new body; why did she not for Sinclair!!!!!!!!

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    I didn't kill any of them either. I agree with your reasoning. I ended up wanting Grace to NOT think I was a monster. With poole, I just decided not to do away with him, not really sure why. With Gil, I agree with you completely - there was nothing left to kill at all.

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    My first play through i desided to be a dick. i killed everyone. It killed me to hear the little sisters "your never going to hurt me, right daddy" " ive been a good girl, i promise!"

    it felt good to kill poole LOL

    I got the bad ending of course...Eleanor wasnt a very nice girl...I didnt like watching her kill her mother..

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    While I agree with leaving Grace alive, as well as Stanley (though my reason for that was to be a bigger person than Sophia), I don't agree with leaving Gil alive. I killed him, not out of cruelty, but because I believe it would be immoral, and even slightly evil to let him live in such a state. I killed Gil out of pity.

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    i saved grace, just so i could i could proove her wrong, would of killed stanely, but i thought he may give me something ill kill him on my next playthrough, i killed alex, but i really dident want to, for 2 reasons, 1: he is a scientific wonder, and held all of raptures genius, 2: that was not gil in the tank, gil died many years ago. hard choice. but i harvested every little sister, so i got the worst ending, it made me feel like a total dick

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    I agree with Mr. Thomas. This is an excellent thread. Your reasoning on all the choices is very good. I ended up killing Gil. It never occured to me that doing otherwise would be the more morally correct choice, but you make a very good case for it. I suppose I thought that putting such a monstrosity out of it's misery, especially when instructed to by the same person, struck me as what would be most just. But you do make a very interesting point that Gilbert Alexander was effectively already dead.
    Last edited by Kyburz; 02-10-2010 at 10:50 AM.

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    One thing I really loved is how I was proved very wrong on one point-Sinclair being a good man when most of the audio logs said he was a person of private interests;with no pity for others.Brilliant move 2K!!

    But I cannot stand the fact that why do I have to kill him? He was definitely my most favorite character in bio2

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    When I went into this choice, I myself found myself at a dilemma. While just before there was the damning moral grenade of how I had killed Mark Meltzer and the thought on that (which had ended in me deciding that Mark would have wanted me to save Cindy, regardless of his own fate), this one presented a bit of deeper examination on what it is that makes up what a person is. It wasn't a matter of Gilbert Alexander being dead so much as the idea that what he had become had the same right to exist as anything else. As well, all of the moral choices reflect perdition. Grace is left alone, Poole is left to drown, Alexander is left as a monster created of his own hubris. They had cast their lot.

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    I agree with pretty much all of those moral choices, except for killing Alexander. This is the only one I did agonize over, if only for a second. I ultimately saw it like this:He was essentially on life support in that tube of his, unable to leave and, to my knowledge, beyond help. I saw it as taking a terminal patient off of life support.......except in stead of pulling the plug, I sent several thousand volts through him. XD

    The other choice that killed me was killing Sinclair. I know that it technically wasn't a choice, but I still felt awful about it. I looked around for a good five minutes, thinking "C'mon, there's gotta be another way!" I was kinda hoping to be able to reverse all of the mental conditioning on him and give him free will, like Delta. Sadly, though, that wasn't the case.

    Also, on a related note, does Alexander say anything or help you at all if you spare him?

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    My reasoning for killing Gil was that even though he has lost his sanity whatever he is now is still suffering, despite the odd will to live he still seems to posses.

    The libertarian way of looking at it, as Lady Splicer put it, is that all the splicers have had these monstrous things happen to them and therefore putting them out of their misery is the "moral" thing to do.

    Or you could say that killing Grace, Stanley and Gil would be the "moral" thing to do seeing as they have all played their part in coming to rapture in the first place, and being associated with it is license enough to be killed. What are three bodies compared to the greed and thousands of deaths before them?

    Or in a cosmic sense nothing matters. "Morals" are a human invention, but the universe won't change in the slightest.

    What I'm trying to say is that "Morality" is relative so kill everyone the end. >_>
    Last edited by topbug; 02-10-2010 at 11:26 AM.

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    Haha. Unfortunately, topbug, I'm not a moral relativist, so I disagree. But I appreciate the fact that pinning down a coherent moral code is super difficult.

    A few people have raised some really great stuff about killing Alexander - his existence still being some type of suffering (killing him out of pity) or the power of his own request for death. I think those are all great points, especially the one about suffering, topbug and Circus. I stand by my reasons, however the really great point is the disagreement the choices have generated. We all knew in BS1 that harvesting the Little Sisters was "immoral". In BS2, things are a lot murkier.

    And no, Alpha Series-Psi, Alexander says and does nothing after you leave him (I don't think Stanley does, either). I thought Grace helping you if you saved her was a bit of a cop out - it just makes it the self-interested thing to do, rather than a properly moral choice.

    Grimhound, I think that is a stunning point you make. I really hadn't thought of it that way - that Grace is left alone (the Family is destroyed) and childless (quite literally - all the Little Sisters are gone); Stanley is left to his own ends at the scene of his own depraved crimes (I don't remember Dionysis Park flooding after you leave, but already my memories of the game are fading!); "Alexander is left as a monster created of his own hubris" (I couldn't phrase that any better!). There is a real sense in which saving each of them is terrible punishment. There's a not-so-flimsy case for the right thing being to put all three of them out of their misery.

    And I, too, was disappointed that I had to kill Sinclair. I ran around a bit searching for another way, but after I'd taken a few hits more than I wanted, I realised that I had no choice on this one. He turned out to be an alright guy, hey? That was unexpected. I kept a very keen, suspicious eye on him given our experiences with the duplicitous "Atlas".

    The moral themes of redemption, forgiveness and mercy were, I think, better rendered in BS2 than the corresponding theme of choice in BS1. BS1 always seemed flimsy on that point. Yeah, it was new and exciting having those choices with a Rand-inspired mythology and an art deco setting, but the theme didn't seem powerful for its own sake. BS2 totally satisfied me on that point.

    However, I do wonder how Sofia could ever redeem herself. I loved her character, and I was glad Eleanor saved her, but I can't see that she could go on to do anything good with her life. I would have liked something about that in the end scene.

  15. #15
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    I am dissapointed in Sinclair's respect. Elenor could harvest the memories an life from a person; she did it with Delta. WHY NOT SINCLAIR! She liked him, as he liked her. Sinclair should have lived!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Splicer View Post
    Haha. Unfortunately, topbug, I'm not a moral relativist, so I disagree. But I appreciate the fact that pinning down a coherent moral code is super difficult.

    A few people have raised some really great stuff about killing Alexander - his existence still being some type of suffering (killing him out of pity) or the power of his own request for death. I think those are all great points, especially the one about suffering, topbug and Circus. I stand by my reasons, however the really great point is the disagreement the choices have generated. We all knew in BS1 that harvesting the Little Sisters was "immoral". In BS2, things are a lot murkier.

    And no, Alpha Series-Psi, Alexander says and does nothing after you leave him (I don't think Stanley does, either). I thought Grace helping you if you saved her was a bit of a cop out - it just makes it the self-interested thing to do, rather than a properly moral choice.

    Grimhound, I think that is a stunning point you make. I really hadn't thought of it that way - that Grace is left alone (the Family is destroyed) and childless (quite literally - all the Little Sisters are gone); Stanley is left to his own ends at the scene of his own depraved crimes (I don't remember Dionysis Park flooding after you leave, but already my memories of the game are fading!); "Alexander is left as a monster created of his own hubris" (I couldn't phrase that any better!). There is a real sense in which saving each of them is terrible punishment. There's a not-so-flimsy case for the right thing being to put all three of them out of their misery.

    And I, too, was disappointed that I had to kill Sinclair. I ran around a bit searching for another way, but after I'd taken a few hits more than I wanted, I realised that I had no choice on this one. He turned out to be an alright guy, hey? That was unexpected. I kept a very keen, suspicious eye on him given our experiences with the duplicitous "Atlas".

    The moral themes of redemption, forgiveness and mercy were, I think, better rendered in BS2 than the corresponding theme of choice in BS1. BS1 always seemed flimsy on that point. Yeah, it was new and exciting having those choices with a Rand-inspired mythology and an art deco setting, but the theme didn't seem powerful for its own sake. BS2 totally satisfied me on that point.

    However, I do wonder how Sofia could ever redeem herself. I loved her character, and I was glad Eleanor saved her, but I can't see that she could go on to do anything good with her life. I would have liked something about that in the end scene.
    Oh, okay. Also, Stanley doesn't do anything but cower in the corner. I know this because I wanted to kill him pretty badly, so I stood there and revved my drill at him, like saying "I'll let you off with a warning. But if I see you again, you're a dead man." (Well, that's what I was saying in my head, at least. XD ) I was assuming that, since Alexander was insane beyond measure, that if you spared him, he'd send some more Alpha Series Daddies after you. I guess that he either couldn't, or he spared you like you spared him, which would be cool, cause it would be almost as if he still retained some sanity.

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    I killed everyone, except little sisters, real big daddies show no mercy and will kill any threat.

  18. #18
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    Gilbert set up a whole network system for you to kill him; thus I granted his wish

    Lol, my theory on him was WAY off

    "Stronger arm and smarter brain; that's why the future is Fontaine!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinclair Saucer View Post
    Gilbert set up a whole network system for you to kill him; thus I granted his wish

    Lol, my theory on him was WAY off

    "Stronger arm and smarter brain; that's why the future is Fontaine!"
    Man, that song was catchy, but I wanted to blow up that damned security bot for coming out every time I tried to get into the security station! The power to the people station was so close I could practically touch it, but every time I tried, Alexander screwed it up! Thinking back on it, since I killed him, I guess I got my revenge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2k_jthomas View Post
    God. This is so good to read.

    I think I need to steel myself for the fact that a smallish fraction of our audience is going to engage in this way. I think I've now seen literally every choice we've made called out as someone's favorite element, seconds before someone else names it Feature Most Foul. But hearing the intent for this subjective, personal reflection (rather than a hard authorial message) come across almost exactly... well.

    Thanks for posting this, it'll give me strength in the rough days to come.
    OK. I totally didn't notice that Jordan Thomas had commented on my thread. I'm just ever-so-slightly embarrassed now. :P

    It's true that only some gamers are going to engage with the game like this, but it was really worth putting the effort into it! I followed a lot of your comments on morality through interviews and podcasts (I wrote my Honours dissertation on Parfit's "repugnant conclusion" argument, and so I was so thrilled when you talked about it!). I was very excited about the potential! And you didn't disappoint.

    You really left the moral choices out there in this one - I didn't feel like I was being forced into doing the "right" thing, particularly with Alexander. I felt like I could give my own reasons for my choices, regardless of the game's adjudication. I feel like I authored my game, so thank you for giving me that experience. =)

    Take heart! It's a great game!

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    Besides living in a sorry state, remember the fact that Alex the Great also torments his "employees". Leaving him alive would probably cause a little more grief all around.

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    I'm not so sure of that. When you're given the opportunity to kill Alexander, he begs you to leave him alone and promises to go live harmlessly in the ocean.

    We can't be certain - maybe he does return to his old ways, torturing splicers and whatever else wanders by. But, I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. The fact that he doesn't attack you when you leave, nor impede your progress further in the game suggests to me that he's not the big evil we think.

    I think someone mentioned this earlier - in not attacking us, he seems to make a choice. So, he seems not only sentient, but also somewhat rational (more rational than some people think, anyway).

    Ultimately, I felt that I was facing a warped, but still sentient thing. And to be honest, he's surely no more warped than Stanley. If I could forgive him, then I could forgive Alexander.

    His prerecorded requests to be euthanised might be morally relevant, except that I reason that the Alexander who requested those things is already dead. So, I don't really see why he gets a say in all this - it's really not him left, so he can't adjudicate over Alex the Great's death like some sort of God from the dead. The thing in front of me begged for mercy and I gave it to him. For me, that was the right thing to do (though I definitely see how you could be justified in killing Alexander).

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    I also struggled with what would be the best thing to do,

    When It came to Grace, I didnt kill her, simply because I felt she wasnt to blame. She was just acting on what she had heard from Lamb, so I felt no reason whatsoever to kill her

    When it came to Stanley however, my decision wasnt so well thought out, It was shaped highly by what Eleanor was saying,and so after thinking for a while I killed him, regretted it after though.

    Then there was Gil. I honestly didnt know what to do here, becausein his audio diaries he had asked for death. And if he had gone to that trouble i thought he must be desperate and so in the end i killed him.

    After reading the original post here though i wish i had let them all go.

  24. #24
    I have never harvested a single little sister in all the bioshock games. I always save them.
    I let Grace live and I killed the other two bastards.

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    Why did you kill them, Pitalla? =) I'd really love to know your reasoning.

    If you feel so strongly about the sisters, what made you want to kill Poole and Alexander?

    I harvested one Little Sister in BS1 after I'd finished the game. I went back just to see what the scene is like when you do it - ugh!

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    All three were difficult choices,i definitely stopped and though for several minutes on each situation.


    Grace- Throughout Pauper's Drop i did come to hate Grace.The fact that without question or knowledge of what happened beyond her sphere of influence she ordered me dead and threw everything my way in an attempt to exact revenge on me.But as i listened to her audio diaries i realized she knew not of what really happened she just loved Eleanor like any other mother or caretaker would.When i confronted Grace i spared her life because she was misguided and i just couldn't kill someone that innocent.

    Stanley- Stanley was a pathetic mess.I was angry of what he did,how he gave us away just so he could benefit and indulge in his earthly pleasures.When i finally saved the sisters and Lamb unlocked the door i did consider killing him,even with eleanor nudging me forward i left him to his hell that he created.I figured that he was just too pathetic,he weaseled his way through life and was very much like a chicken;why kill him,what good would it do me,would i get a sense of accomplishment killing him? No.Although he did do some very nasty things his actions were only one part of the equation and killing him would give me no satisfaction.I left him to wallow in the limbo he created,weather the splicers got him or or the place was re-flooded,it didn't matter to me,i'd just let fate decide his end.

    Gil-Gil by far was the hardest choice.I really wanted to leave him because personally i had mercy on all sisters and NPCs thus far,but he and his request to die conflicted with my beliefs.Although the Gil of the diaries had died long ago his "vessel" still existed,even though deformed and twisted it still existed.I felt such great agony for him,he knew he was going to become a monster he had to be there for every agonizing change as 'Alexander the Great' took over.In the end i killed gil not only because he requested it,but because i also feared that if i let him live he would try even harder to kill me because as much a he pleaded me to let him live i know that when on the brink of death even some of the most vile people can feign lamentation.


    I applaud Jordan and the team,i really enjoyed BS2 and still have yet to explore other paths.This is no doubt my favorite game of 2010,and this game will definitely keep me busy for quite a while.

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    Should have included "spoilers" in the title, now this thread is just a bunch of black blocks made to scare away people who haven't finished the game yet.

    Stanley Poole harmed Delta's little girl. What kind of father wouldn't wish hell on anyone who would do that? Of course he'd shoot him in the face with a sawed-off shotgun!

    As for G. Alexander, for me the choice was the most simple one. His fate was sealed as soon as Lamb betrayed him. His last recordings are, in fact, his dying words; his last dying wish. Would you deny a man that? If so, then kill him simply because an abomination like that has no place in the world, no place even in Utopia.

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    it wasn't even a moral choice, but I found it hardest to kill Sinclair, being a member of the Sinclair Family and all, atleast in his death I can hold my head high and say I wasn't just another doubter who thought when would betray us!


    R.I.P Augustus Sinclair

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    My experience of these moral choices was pretty much the same as Lady Splicer's, except for the last one.


    When you are about to confront Grace, you find this hidden switch behind a portrait of Lamb. I found that remarkable; why would Grace hide, after threatening you for such a long time? Sinclair was saying that she was mistaking the whole time, too. By that time, I was getting an idea what might happen up ahead. Then, Delta wipes the dust off the window and you finally see Grace - a poor old woman, I thought. My decision was made before she even started talking about finishing her.

    Then, there was Stanley. On this, my experience was exactly the same as Lady Splicer's. I had a very brief moment of doubt, then gunbutted him with my Rivet Gun. He died instantly from that, so there wasn't really a way back. Maybe if he would have been withering on the ground in pain after that, I could have had second thoughts.

    Then there was Gil. By that time, I was expecting a plot twist to pop up. That was a bad thing, I think it ruined my playthrough a little. Anyway, I was obeying every order like a dog. Sinclair was behaving like Atlas, the old Gil was instructing me to kill him, saying he was dead already. I never figured out the moral choice here.

    And by the end, I was a badass. Eleanor was harvesting all the LS around, though I rescued all but one of them. I was kind of dissapointed by that. Eleanor did doubt her own way of dealing with the LS at the very end, though.

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    As I mentioned prior, one way of looking at it is that everyone got what they deserved if you just leave them alone.

    Grace is alone.

    Poole is going to drown while in constant fear that the splicers will get him.

    Alexander has lost all control, something he valued so highly to even attempt to ensure his own death when he could have easily done it himself. You break his toys and leave him utterly powerless and a thrall to himself. Where he once created monsters, now he himself is a monster.
    Last edited by Grimhound; 02-10-2010 at 08:13 PM.

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    Thanks, osyka. It's clearly stated in the original post that there are spoilers in this thread. I also think it's appopriate to spoiler block your posts even if you do signpost them in the title. It's polite when the game is so new.

    Re Stanley Poole: not a terrible lot of moral reasoning going on there, but I understand the sentiment. Still, you're not setting a terribly good example for your daughter.

    Re Gil Alexander: I don't think Lamb ever betrayed him. The strange thing about his case is that he volunteered for the experiment, while simultaneously leaving the audio diaries concerning how to kill him. And yes, I would deny a dead man his dying wish - the choices no longer affect him, so I see no reason why he has any say in the matter (there aren't even deontological reasons because there is no one with whom there is any contractual or rights-based relationship left post-mortem). I don't think him being an 'abomination' is a great excuse, either. What's an abomination except something that someone thinks doesn't fit in? I don't wield that sort of judgement. Alex the Great is a living, thinking, feeling being, and by sparing him you give him the opportunity to redeem himself. I'd pick that moral choice any day. The only morally relevant distinction between him and Grace is his taped requests to be killed, and I think I've mounted a fairly good case to show that it's not an applicable distinction.

    laikalappie: I didn't kill Stanley Poole. I spared him. So great to see how you thought about each situation, though! The Alexander one was really tricky, and I know how you felt - I was spending a lot of energy trying to ignore Sinclair's or Eleanor's suggestions in any of the moral choices. After all, a man chooses; a slave obeys.

    Judgeofwings: fair points. I think leaving Alexander alive was a big risk - he could have turned on Delta at any stage. It turned out that he didn't turn on me when I spared him, which validated the choice for me, but yeah, definitely a big concern! I know his "vessel" still existed, but I don't think it was anything even remotely related to the original Alexander - not in mind or body.


    Agreed, Grimhound. I quoted you in a previous post. Great point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Splicer View Post
    Thanks, osyka. It's clearly stated in the original post that there are spoilers in this thread. I also think it's appopriate to spoiler block your posts even if you do signpost them in the title. It's polite when the game is so new.

    Re Stanley Poole: not a terrible lot of moral reasoning going on there, but I understand the sentiment. Still, you're not setting a terribly good example for your daughter.

    Re Gil Alexander: I don't think Lamb ever betrayed him. The strange thing about his case is that he volunteered for the experiment, while simultaneously leaving the audio diaries concerning how to kill him. And yes, I would deny a dead man his dying wish - the choices no longer affect him, so I see no reason why he has any say in the matter (there aren't even deontological reasons because there is no one with whom there is any contractual or rights-based relationship left post-mortem). I don't think him being an 'abomination' is a great excuse, either. What's an abomination except something that someone thinks doesn't fit in? I don't wield that sort of judgement. Alex the Great is a living, thinking, feeling being, and by sparing him you give him the opportunity to redeem himself. I'd pick that moral choice any day. The only morally relevant distinction between him and Grace is his taped requests to be killed, and I think I've mounted a fairly good case to show that it's not an applicable distinction.

    laikalappie: I didn't kill Stanley Poole. I spared him. So great to see how you thought about each situation, though! The Alexander one was really tricky, and I know how you felt - I was spending a lot of energy trying to ignore Sinclair's or Eleanor's suggestions in any of the moral choices. After all, a man chooses; a slave obeys.
    @Lady Splicer I don't think there is (or should be, in my opinion) much moral reasoning going on in the head of a father when he learns that the person standing in front of him intentionally harmed his child and inflicted permanent psychological trauma in the process. Now, in the real world, and thank God I'm speaking from feeling and not experience, I would wish to inflict as much pain as possible without killing that person. In art, events and words are intentionally dramatized, hence the closest thing to a world of pain you can inflict on someone is death; murder, in fact, but murder justified like none other.

    As for G. Alexander, one thing that stood out for me in your post was his "redemption". Either that's an ending I missed, or you're speculating. If it's the latter, then consider that he is insane when you encounter him. Indeed, he is pretty much bat**** crazy. You have to really hate him to leave him living like that.

  33. #33
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    I don't see why moral reasoning isn't appropriate in that situation. Morality for some situations and not for others? That's fine. It's just not morality, in that case.

    Revenge is not a moral code, despite your emotional appeals. And as stated, your actions would set a bad example for your daughter, and potentially psychological trauma itself (this is so in the game, and not so implausible in real life).

    An eye for an eye leaves everybody blind.

    If you reread my post, you'll note that I said, "by sparing him you give him the opportunity to redeem himself". I never said anything about certain redemption. Mercy is an act of faith in everyone's potential redemption. Mercy guarantees nothing. I am well aware of that. No point quoting my post if you misrepresent it. I am not speculating about anything.

    Based on that, my point is really about wielding death. Who gives us the right to decide Gil's fate? The bumbling audio diaries of his former (now totally evaporated) self? I hardly think so. I also do not think he was completley crazy. A bit out of his mind, sure. But still perfectly capable of pleading for mercy, feeling pain, organising troops against you, etc. He also seemed perfectly happy living like that.

    So long as he doesn't go on killing and torturing people, I see no reason to kill him (I acknowledge that that is a risk of keeping him alive, but I am willing to take that risk). If Delta has to kill in self-defence, that's one thing. Killing in cold blood as something begs for life - that's a whole other deal.


    Also, does your argument entail euthanising people who are seriously mentally ill? That doesn't seem like such a great idea.

    Contrary to your assertion, my choice has nothing to do with hate. In fact, it has everything to do with loving things enough to give them a chance, and recognising that I am not one to deliver another's death (if I can avoid it).

  34. #34
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    @Lady Splicer If you use the word "morality" to describe virtuous behavior as opposed to simply the moral quality of a person then you have all your explaining ahead of you. Who sets the rules? You, or the Bible, or moral conditioning imposed upon you by your parents?

    It seems to me you're trying to justify sparing these people from the perspective that "spare" sounds like a more moral term than "kill". I believe this kind of thinking to be utterly fallacious.

    The moral quality of a person is defined by much more than simply his or her capacity for mercy. A classic example of this is the ticking bomb. Six terrorists are tied up and sitting in front of you. You have a gun and a limited amount of time to find out where the bomb is or a lot of civilians will die. You can either show mercy to the terrorists and hope one of them begins to have doubts and "redeems" himself, or you can kill five of them and get the answer from the sixth one.

    Also, "mercy" is a term used to describe the act of killing a fellow soldier when he has been mortally wounded, to spare him the pain before his death.

    If you've ever played an RPG game, they have this concept of "three dialog options" - basically, there is a good, neutral and evil dialog option for every question posed to the protagonist and you gain points towards the respective alignments each time you pick one. Hence a character like the Paladin, who is supposedly the epitome of good, should always pick the "good" dialog options, because not only do his abilities get stronger as his "goodness meter" grows, but he risks losing them altogether if he strays from the righteous path. Now, not only does this make for a pretty dull character, but it also shows us how a fundamentalist approach to anything (be it "good", "neutral" or "evil") relieves a person of responsibility and promotes moral decay.

    From my perspective, the three people you have the option to kill in the game are lined up in exactly the same way. Killing the woman can be considered wrong because she attacks you out of a misunderstanding. Killing G. Alexander can be viewed as mercy because being a former scientist, his mind is now lost and all he does is revel in his madness - who is to say he isn't responsible for the deaths of many splicers? S. Poole is an insignificant little man who has been given a great deal of power (think Kim Jong Il and his nuclear weapons). Indeed, he is responsible for a lot of deaths as a result of the flood. His crime against Delta's daughter is just one more reason to take away his life.

    It is all anyone can hope to do - to do what they think is right. There is no God, no great philosopher to tell you how to act, in fact to do so would be like taking away your free will.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Splicer View Post
    laikalappie: I didn't kill Stanley Poole. I spared him. So great to see how you thought about each situation, though! The Alexander one was really tricky, and I know how you felt - I was spending a lot of energy trying to ignore Sinclair's or Eleanor's suggestions in any of the moral choices. After all, a man chooses; a slave obeys.
    Woops. Looks like I read through your summary a little too quickly ... that's what you get when doing other things than what you're supposed to do in college, I guess.

    You're definitely much of a good guy, then. Could anyone enlighten me how you either do or do not kill Gil? As I said before, I wasn't really realizing I was standing in front of another moral choice there, but rather obeying orders (like a slave!). I never recognized the point where you can choose ...

  36. #36
    i saved them all just for the achievement

  37. #37
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    I did find it emotional hard to kill Sinclair. Meltzer I didn't know and it struck me, all i do is murder video game characters. The other 3 I let them live. They are in Rapture, the ultimate madhouse of the decade. They won't survive another year.

  38. #38
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    I was really close to killing Stanley though, I felt pure hatred towards him. And yet, I spared him. Weired how Bioshock feels.

  39. #39
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    Aug 2007
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    8
    Sorry, OP, I just cannot agree with your philosophy. Justice is paramount, always, but it should be *tempered* with mercy. That does not mean the guilty always are spared.

    In order (and without spoiling anything) I:

    Spared the first moral choice. That person was clearly deluded by the UPE (Ultimate Personification of Evil). Justice in that case was clearly allowing the individual to see the light of truth. It worked out as I expected it would.

    Eliminted the second moral choice. This person clearly knew right from wrong and chose wrong and tried to hide this wrong to avoid retribution. Sometimes the instrument of justice is to remove the offender permamently.

    Eliminated the third moral choice. I did this because it was a "last request" of sorts. I believe we are all what we are until something takes our humanity from us. In that case, the wishes of the individual when he or she was last in their right mind has to be honored.

    I may play through again and reverse some of these choices to see how it plays out, but I am happy with the road I traveled.

  40. #40
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    Dec 2009
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    I can't really think of much to say that hasn't been said about the main three, other than that when I decided to kill Alex the Great, while he was dying and afterward, it really... disturbed me. I never really did get a very good look at him, and between his screaming and the blood pouring into the water, I just... felt really sick. Not physically. I mean, in a morbid way it was really cool, kinda like seeing gore threads on 4chan, but the fact that I did it... in such a horrible way... freaked me out. D:

    Also, on the topic of morality, those three people we obviously deliberated over, at least a little. Same with the little sisters. But, as mentioned in another thread, we made some morally wrong decisions without even considering them: I'm talking about Mark Meltzer. When I took down that big daddy, I didn't really feel sympathy... I remember the first game I felt a little bad, but it never stopped me. But when I saw his name, it was like a punch in the gut.

    It was like, I know who that is. I never met him. And I killed him. Who else did I kill?

    And that also leads to the splicers I killed. They were all people. Those two splicers, discussing how much it would cost to do "anything you'd like" (in the seedy Pink Pearl area), I just listened to them, then shot the man with a spear through the head, killing him instantly. I'm pretty sure I heard the girl say, "Not again, not again" as she started shooting at me... but were they really bad people? She was shooting at me because I killed her potential client, but also a fellow splicer...

    I feel funny. :P

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