Many decisions made in the process of creating a game will be between two equally valid, but irreconcilable, viewpoints. It's interesting watching ebb and flow of those types of opinions in the industry at large. Or quite simply, a whole lot has changed since 1992 and 2010.
Quinns over at RPS wrote a pseudo-retrospective on KGB, an adventure game from '92. I haven't played KGB (although after reading this post, I want to track it down), but what stands out most in Quinn's piece is how content the game is to mislead you or at least provide you with very incomplete information. Back in '92, you could still fail at an adventure game and apparently, you can fail quite often in KGB. Except it might be twenty or thirty minutes before you're fully aware you've failed.
This is something that you'd never see in a contemporary game. An unrecoverable fail state that doesn't resolve for twenty to thirty minutes? Most would criticize that as poor design, and there's some truth to that. But at the same time, Quinns describes what has become an utterly alien sensation in games- not knowing the outcome of your decisions.
The reason we moved away from consequences like this is pretty obvious. It's very frustrating to make a decision, damn yourself and not realize it for half an hour. And it can feel very unfair if a game offers you a choice, but something completely unexpected happens that makes the decision feel meaningless. Even though we're making decisions through an avatar, the decisions still feel personal. If a character in a novel or film makes a decision with incomplete information only to realize the full consequences later, it's less likely to feel frustrating. Or even if the audience has information the character doesn't, it still doesn't feel unusual. But if a game does the same, I think many would feel slighted, like the game was withholding information that should have been provided, regardless of fictional context.
Even inside of a single game series we can see this change in thinking. I've been playing quite a bit of Fallout: New Vegas recently and while I'm definitely liking it, I can't help but notice how explicit all of the decisions are. Many of the decisions are still compelling, but you're seemingly always fully informed of the consequences (almost to a fourth wall breaking degree at times). Whatever the NPCs say will play out almost always will. You know if you choose A, you'll receive X and this group will be mad at you, but if you choose B, you'll get Y and a different group will be mad at you. The outcomes of your decisions are all very well telegraphed.
On the one hand, you never feel like you would have made a different decision in hindsight (because since you can reload and make a different choice, this will encourage probing same & reload behaviour which really diminishes the emotional impact of any particular decision). But you're never really surprised either. Now Fallout: NV does a good job of providing surprises in other ways, so it's not exactly a deficit, but it's certainly not how making decisions in real life works. Decisions in real life are agonizing because you rarely have complete information about the possible outcomes.
This stands in stark contrast to the first Fallout game, where it was possible to lose the game completely. Not in the "I ran out of HP, died and had to reload" sense, but in the complete and utter "you can do nothing to change this, this is The End" sense. And there were actually two different ways this could happen. I guess some spoilers follow, but come on, Fallout came out 13 years ago. You should have played it by now.
One you're aware of at the beginning of the game and is totally explicit. Your Vault has 150 days of water left and if that counter goes to 0, you lose the game. But even after you fix the water chip, another invisible counter will begin later. After a certain number of days, Super Mutants will find your Vault and kill everyone inside. I have no idea if the timeline is always fixed or if other things can influence it, but once its course is set, it cannot be altered. And the game does not tell you when this is going to occur or what it will even occur at all.
I actually had one game of Fallout (not my first playthrough, thankfully) become completely unwinnable. I had two save slots that I'd alternate between and had made some expedition to The Glow. One save was made going in, the other was coming out. Maybe one or two days travel out from The Glow, I hit the game-ending date. Even reloading my original save, I couldn't get back to civilization in time to change anything. Without any other save slots, the only thing I could do is start the entire game over again.
Imagine a game shipping with such a feature today. It would be lambasted! The thinking of both creators and player is that players should be provided with nearly or fully complete information and allowed to make a well informed decision. And while I'm amenable to this thinking and believe it's good for players to have more agency, I can't help but read Quinn's piece on KGB and think that "I'd love to make a decision and be surprised by the outcome." I'm not exactly sure how one could adopt that sensibility into a modern game, but I think it could be done. It wouldn't be through failing half an hour after the decision was made, of course. But the feeling of tension and suspense in making those kinds of decisions can be very satisfying. We just need to figure out how to remove some of the frustration without removing the unknown. Do that and I think one would have something very compelling.