The Let's Play Archive

Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward

by Fedule

Part 64: The Prisoner's Dilemma

VLR OST: [Placidity]

What's up?

Listen in: [English/Japanese]

Nothing's up.
We left our room, headed left...

And ended up here.

So, this all proceeds identically to the other two branches, with names and locations substituted appropriately. Phi proceeds to flawlessly merge the three separated dialogue paths into one by cutting the information-swapping session short and making us head downstairs.


So anyway, everyone notices the doors and discusses the supplementary rules and heads back downstairs.

As before, for some reason, we go back via the room Sigma explored.

Listen in: [English/Japanese]

Just as the note said... We had no trouble getting in here.

That means we can go to the infirmary, or the lounge...

Yeah. We can check out any of them.

They've got a poster of a lady in here! It looks like the ones you've got back home.

Hmmm. This one's pretty hot.
I think we're talking at least 14, maybe 15 EU.


I sure would like to take it home with me...
Unfortunately, I don't think this is really the time for that.
Let's keep moving.

At this point Sigma, as before, pauses to note that Quark and Tenmyouji, as well as Alice and Clover, seem to know eachother.

Listen in: [English/Japanese]

I can't wait to get out of here and back to my, uh, grandpa videos.

You mean the ones you keep in the locked cabinet?

Shhh! You're being too loud, Quark!
You have to say these things quietly...


We return to Warehouse A, where we receive the exact same lecture about the AB Game.

It's all very interesting.

VLR OST: [Eeriness]

Think we should head in, too?

Listen in: [English/Japanese]

Okay, okay...

Forty-five minutes remain until Ambidex Game polling closes.


Something wrong?

No, nothing, I just... There's no one here...

What are you talking about?
Of course there isn't anyone here.

Well, yeah... I know, I just...

Let's get inside.

Y-Yeah. Right.

Well, there's one thing that's different.

That screen?

Yeah. Looks like there's something on it.

VLR OST: [Eeriness]

Listen in: [English/Japanese]

What? I just pressed the start button.

Did you even read what it said?!
Once you press that button, it locks the door for 40 minutes!
Now thanks to your stupid ass, we're stuck in here for almost an hour.

Oh... Really?



AB Gate?

That's the door to the AB Room, silly! You're in the AB Room right now!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll be continuing my earlier explanation...

And so he does.

VLR OST: [Ambidexterity]

Listen in: [English/Japanese]

Weeell, actually there's a little bit more, but... That'll just have to wait, I guess.

What? Why does it have to wait?!

Hush now, it'll be okay.

No it won't!

[Music fades out]

Anyway, I've gotta hop along now.

Buh-bye now! Have a nice trust!

About the AB Game?

Yeah... Should we choose "ally"? Or "betray"?

Yeah, it's a tough call.


What's that?

You've never heard of it?
It's a thought experiment that uses game theory to examine why people do or don't cooperate.

VLR OST: [Clarification]

Listen in (recommended, believe it or not): [English/Japanese]

Let's say Apple and Banana have committed a serious crime.

Apple and... Banana?

I just gave them the first names I thought of. They don't mean anything.


Anyway. Apple and Banana are caught by the police, and sent off to separate cells far away from one another.
In other words, there's no way for them to contact each other.
And they're not, like, telepaths or something. So that's the setup.
You following me?

Yeah, keep going.

So a detective shows up.
He visits each cell, and tells them both exactly the same thing.
It goes something like this...

You can both clam up, if that's what you want.
We've got enough to put you both in the slammer for two years if you do.
Now, if you flip your pal over there and tell me everything...
I can get your sentence reduced to one year.
That means your buddy'll serve fifteen, but that ain't your problem, right?
'Course, if he decides to spill the beans, it goes the other way.
He gets one year... and you get to spend fifteen years eating government cheese.
You're probably wondering if both of you confess.
Well, I can shave off a little time for saving me trouble, but you'll still both do ten years.
So, punk, what's it gonna be? You gonna give me what I want? Or are you gonna keep that trap shut?
'Course, I told your partner the same thing I just told you.
I wonder if you can trust him to keep the cat in the bag...?
No rush. I'll give you plenty of time to think about it.


What would you do?
Say you were in Apple or Banana's shoes?

Well... Hmm...

Our unnamed Detective friend here is - I think - voiced by the same voice actor as G-OLM. His Japanese voice is definitely Shinobu Matsumoto, so I'm assuming this holds in English too.

Perhaps this new set of data is enough to ID our mystery actor? The bounty is still live, by the way. If you know who he is, and have the slightest shred of proof, I've got a forums upgrade for you.

If my erstwhile criminal associate Banana is going to keep his mouth shut...
Then the best choice for me is to spill the beans.
That way I only serve one year.
But... What if he confesses too?
Then the smart thing would be for me to do the same.
After all, if he cuts a deal and I don't then I'll spend fifteen years in prison.
If I confess, I can shave five years off of that.
Then it seems like the best choice is always going to be to confess...

Listen in: [English/Japanese]

But you're forgetting something important.

Which is?

That Banana will be thinking the same thing.
So you'll both confess, and you'll both end up serving ten years.
Do you get it?


If you'd both trusted each other, then neither of you would have served more than two years.
But because you both made the decision based on your own self interest...
You're going to spend eight more years in prison.
In other words, the logical decision leads not only to a less desirable outcome on the group level...
...But also a pretty shitty situation on the personal level too.
You see now? The AB Game... is the prisoner's dilemma.

Yeah... They are pretty much the same thing.

But if we don't trust eachother...
In the long run it won't benefit either of us.


Let's say for a moment all nine of us are on one team.

Who would we be playing against?

Zero, of course.

So we can assume the nine of us are fighting Zero in the AB Game.

If you look at it that way...
What would we want to do to beat him?


Just look at the point totals.

Uh, well, 2 times 9 is 18, so... 18 points.

Okay, now let's say one of the pairs chooses "betray".

The pair who picked "betray" will get 3 points each, so in total they'll have 6 points.
But the solo they betrayed will have 2 points subtracted, so...
The total gain for that game would only be 4 points.
The other two groups would choose "ally" for that round, right?


So for the other teams you'll get 6 each, which will give you... 2 times 6 is 12...
...Plus 4... 16 points total.

If we consider all nine of us to be on the same team...
We need to all always choose "ally" to get the most points.
If even one person chooses "betray" the total points we get goes down.

In this game, if each individual acts for the benefit of the whole group, everyone benefits.
But if everyone starts looking out for themselves, it'll impact the group negatively...
And eventually it'll impact them negatively too.
If all of us choose "betray" then the group gets 0 points.

Ultimately, nobody benefits. Not even the individual.
In other words, selfish but logical decisions hurt everyone, and they hurt you.

[Music fades out]



What you're saying is that I should pick "ally".

No. I mean the opposite.

VLR OST: [Sinisterness]


If you're going to make the most logical choice here, the only option is "betray".

What?! Why?!
You just explained why that was a terrible idea!

No, I didn't.

Even though there's an outcome where everybody's happy, the choice you'd have to make for that outcome isn't the rational one.

You want to pick it, but you can't.
A dilemma.


All three of us would get 2 points.
That would be ideal, obviously. And it would help everybody.

But what if Alice chooses "betray"?

Our BP will go down to 1.

And if that happens, we're screwed. So--

Unfortunately, we don't have any way to know that for certain.
That means we have to make the rational choice.

It would be great to make the right choice... but we can't.


If you don't mind telling me... What did you mean by that?


I'm guessing something happens if our BP hits 0, right?


I mean, the way you said it sure makes it seem like something's going to happen...


Do you know something?


You do know something. What are you hiding?


Yeah, you know, there's been something weird about you from the moment we met.
I mean, for starters, how'd you know my name?

Listen in: [English/Japanese]

I don't care if it's getting ancient!
This is important!

I don't know you!
But you seem to know me somehow!
The only explanation I can think of that makes any kind of sense is that you're working with Zero!

What about you?


Are you working with Zero?

Me? Why would you think that?

You're too calm.
You wake up trapped in some kind of twisted game and it doesn't even faze you? That hardly seems normal.

Oh come on, I could ask you the same thing!

Don't change the subject. We're talking about you.
Maybe you actually do know me.

What?! Where the hell did that come from?!
Look, I already told you, I've never seen you...



[Music fades out]


Just let it go...


Our time's up. This is it.

I wanted to tell you thanks.
You know we're about to die, but you still stuck with me.