Choice Paralysis


Hey everyone, it’s Wednesday again my dudes. Today we’re going to talk briefly about Choice Paralysis.

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Choice Paralysis?

Yea.

So basically, choice paralysis is when a person is given too many options and so struggles to make a choice.

However, I think what we need to understand is that “too many” is different for different people and even for different situations.

For example, for me, in general I can handle between 5-7 choices before they start to overwhelm me. This is highlighted when it comes to making a choice about where and what to eat. I can rotate through multiple different options in my head and decide what I want. Then, while in the restaurant I can look at a menu as expensive Cheesecake Factory’s and still decide on what I want.

However, for my wife and my daughter, more than 3 options on where and what to eat and they struggle to make a choice — even if they’re all good choices. As I’ve said before, my wife loves ice cream. However, if you give her a choice of more than 3 types of ice cream from the same place, it’ll take her awhile to make her decision.

I see… so why does this matter?

Choice paralysis is different for everyone and is probably dependent on both the situation and/or context as well as how you are feeling/doing at the time of the decision. I’m only bringing this up because I think it’s important to be aware of it.

The easiest way to prevent this kind of problem is to simply give yourself less options. For example, in general, I can handle up to 5-7 choices and still make a pretty quick decision. However, anything more than 7 and I slow way down. Then, anything more than 10 and basically just forget it — I’m basically in full paralysis.

So then, let’s analyze a real world example. I still play video games and computer games, it’s a part of who I am. Over the years I’ve accumulated a lot of Steam games on sale. Usually these are really good games that are on sale for 75-80% off or something ridiculous like that. It’s really hard for me to pass up a “crazy deal” on a “great game” that I plan to play someday.

However, being a dad to two little monkeys these last 7+ years or so hasn’t really given me all the much extra time to devote to games. As such, my backlog of Steam games is pretty extensive. Actually, it’s so extensive, that it’s way past the 5-7 choices my little brain can handle.

As such, I’ve been stuck in a cycle of choice paralysis for awhile now.

So… what now then?

Well, the simple solution is that I just stop playing games. Which, of course, for many people is just fine. I understand that people can “outgrow” games. However, I am not one of those people. I would still love to play some of these games. So recently I’ve done what I outlined above — I cut down my choices.

Actually, it was my son who kind of forced my to make a choice. He’s all about Transformers recently so the game I had to play next (with him) was:

Transformers Battlegrounds

First of all, this game is most certainly not worth the MSRP of $39.99. However, if you can get it on sale for $20 or so, that’s still kind of expensive for what it is, but probably ok. My son and I played through the game together and beat it in about 10 hours. More importantly, he loved the game and that’s what really matters. By the end, he started to say stuff like “Dad, don’t forget to overwatch,” and “Dad, he’s out in the open!” This told me he was beginning to understand the strategy aspect of the game. Overall, I really liked this game, I just wish there was more content and story. If they would add some DLC for like $5-10 of extra story and more Transformers I’d probably buy it for my son.

Then what?

After that happened, I had an epiphany. Instead of going through my list of Steam games and looking for “what should I play” and being stuck in choice paralysis. I narrowed it down to a genre and two games in that genre and told myself, “Choose between these two”.

As such, I’m happy to announce I managed to make a decision and recently played (and completed even!) a game called Wargroove. It’s a fun little Indie strategy RPG and it’s actually quite well made. I’m a sucker for strategy RPGs with Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre being some of my favorite games of all time. I managed to beat Wargroove in 22 hours over the course of the last 2 weeks or so and it was enjoyable experience.

So then, your choice paralysis ended…

Yup!

Now I can move forward with another game on my list, and so on. The next one I have my eye on is:

Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark

Supposedly it’s a spiritual successor to Final Fantasy Tactics. I’m looking forward to playing it over the next few weeks or month or so. Since my son liked Transformers Battleground, he may want to play this with me too. However, it’s much slower with a lot more text/story so he may not be able to keep his attention on it. Also, another SRPG that I just heard about was:

Project Triangle Strategy

It’s another Strategy RPG that is being made by the people who made Octopath Traveler. It’s a Switch exclusive though and supposedly coming about 2022, so we have some time. Maybe by that time the Switch Pro will be a reality and my kids will be able to play with me.

Anything else?

Yea.

This is just my particular real life example of choice paralysis. I think it occurs a lot more often than we think. In fact, you are probably stuck in choice paralysis right now on something you want to make a decision on but aren’t able to. Try your best to simplify the choice by narrowing down your options.

Also, be aware of what your choice paralysis threshold is and I think you’ll find that you’ll make choices faster and more efficiently.

Bonus:

My daughter has taken an interest in games recently, but she isn’t terribly interested in Minecraft, so we never bought it. One of my friends recommended a game called:

Bloons TD 6

It was on sale for cheap on Steam recently for only $1.99, so I said why not. (It normally retails for $9.99.)

These kinds of tower defense games have been around for a long time. However, Bloons TD 6 is the 6th iteration of their game and it’s significantly refined and polished like a diamond. At its core, it’s a tower defense game where you command monkeys that pop balloons. Your monkeys have to prevent the balloons from getting to the end to get to the next level. Of course there are power-ups, gadgets, better monkeys, monkey heroes, and other unlockable things. Additionally, the balloons become more durable and gain different immunities as you progress and every map is different.

My daughter took right to it and she said she made her tired from thinking so much. I think games like this are good to teach her strategy and planning. You really need to think about what balloons are coming and where to position your monkeys (and monkey types) to maximize their efficiency. She was saying stuff like “I need to put the glue guys here to slow them” and things like that.

I see… that’s good….

As much as people talk about games being worthless… I really disagree with that sentiment. It really depends on what game you’re playing and what you’re trying to get out of it. Also, all things in moderation. She didn’t play for too long before I told her to take a break.

Also, I think there is an iPad/iPhone version of this game. It costs $4.99 normally but is on sale sometimes for $0.99 from what I can tell. Also, you can pay to unlock stuff instead of unlocking it normally. That said, I wouldn’t recommend doing that if you can help it.

The iOS/Androids versions may be easier for those who prefer touch controls. However, I wanted the Steam version because I wanted her to become more facile with the mouse.

TL;DR

Choice Paralysis is a real thing, but it’s different for everyone.

Be aware of your threshold and narrow down your choices to make yourself more efficient.

I think Bloons TD 6 is a good (cheap!) game for kids to learn about strategy and planning wrapped in a cute package.

Three Variations of Bunny Sensei

-Sensei

Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.

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