I Need More Dialogue Trees

Posted on Jan 30, 2009

I have played quite a few video games made by Bioware. They are the makers of such fun games as: Mass Effect, Jade Empire, some Sonic the Hedgehog game I can’t remember the title of but is really fun and the original Knights of the Old Republic game. Their games always focus on the balance between good and evil and your actions directly effect how people perceive you in the world.

One of the best components of their games is the dialogue trees. They give you a lot of great options to choose from and, as in Mass Effect, the trees are very intuitive. What I am missing is having these trees in my life. I find that I automatically go the funny route almost 100% of the time whether it is appropriate or not. I wish that when I was in a conversation with someone I had two or three options that I could say, or if I could at least first read what I was going to say so that I could veto anything that is potentially offensive or inappropriate.

For instance take this typical conversation that I might have with a tenant.

T: I’m sorry I didn’t pay my rent. Can you waive my late fees?

M: I’m sorry I just hallucinated, it sounded like you wanted me to waive your late fees.

T: That is exactly what I want you to do.

M: Are you high or just stupid?

T: What!?! I want to talk to your Manager!

M: Good luck with that.

At each one of those junctions I could have said any number of things, that may not have made me laugh, but would have provided a better experience for the customer. Or take this one from when I went and ate at Wendy’s the other day.

W: Thank you for coming to Wendy’s, how can I take your order?

M: Probably with your computer.

W: Ha Ha… What do you want?

M: I would like an order of your spicy nuggets please.

W: I am sorry sir, we don’t have those anymore.

M: …

W: Sir? Are you still there?

M: Why don’t you have them.

W: We just don’t. What else can I get for you?

M: So you still have the spicy chicken sandwich?

W: Yep, would you like one of those?

M: Yes, but I don’t need a bun, lettuce, tomato or any of the other condiments. I would like you to cut it into nine equal pieces, place it in one of the nugget containers and put it in a bag with BBQ sauce.

W: I’m sorry sir but we don’t have the spicy chicken nuggets anymore.

M: Did I just ask for nuggets? I asked you to make my sandwich the way I want it. I’m sorry if you don’t want to do that for me.

W: FINE sir. I’ll get you your stupid nuggets.

M: No that’s ok I’ll just take a Baconator and a Fanta.

W: Fine.

I am not really sure that that really could have gone better, though I guess it could have gone quicker. I think most of that whole conversation could have been avoided if instead of saying “Probably with your computer” I would have said “I would like a Baconator please.”