A Grey Life [WIP]

You control someone who currently lives with an inept husband, who’s a painter spiraling because of his art block. One day at work, your boss suddenly assigns you a mentee and threatens your career if you don’t train her. You find that your mentee is a bright and quirky girl and, depending on your choices, attracted to you. You can choose to break up with your husband, have an affair with your mentee, do both, or do neither.

Though you wonder: is your husband taking advantage of you? Is there a secret behind your mentee’s cheerful facade?

All the while, your character’s Sanity continues to lower. Stress or neglecting to take antipsychotics will cause it to dwindle faster. The lower your character’s Sanity, the less that their actions make sense. But maybe that’s what you need instead.

Welcome to A Grey Life.

Vaguer description

You live with your husband. You take an anti-psychotic every morning. You work a nine to five desk job. Your boss suddenly assigns you a mentee. Your hallucinations haunt you.

You don’t think your husband will ever get out of his art block. You’re not sure if your boss will fire you. You think your mentee is in love with you. You don’t know what’s real. You don’t act the way you think. Who are you?

What do you do?

Author ramblings of absolutely nothing important

I came into this project deciding on writing something short, like a microgame. It’s kinda grown a bit though, guess that’s what happens when you just write nonsensical choices and run with them lmao

This entire project also came about because I thought up of a joke ending (which I haven’t written yet), and so I somehow centered this entire thing as a set up for that. How it became such a serious and sombre game, I have no idea lol

This is (currently) intended as a microgame, so even when it’s finished, it probably won’t end up as anything super long. At least, I try to tell myself that. I tend to overextend when I really shouldn’t, so that’s going to be my personal challenge for this project.

This game is loosely inspired by Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch and Lucid’s Paradox Factor. Whilst not with the same play style or setting, I’m hoping to capture the same vibe and atmosphere, of the surrealness, abstract, etc.

  • Play as male, female, or non-binary.
  • Two romance options: your inept husband or weirdly cheery female mentee.
  • Sanity meter, in lieu of any other personal stat.
  • A lot of options, some that go completely wild depending on the Sanity meter (and my sanity, for choosing to put in so many and then having to write them all up).
  • Replayability - a lot changes depending on your Sanity and a few other choices that you make, even so early on in the game.

Current version as of 30th June 2023:

Version notes / To do
  • Currently only written up to the third chapter
  • Potentially more choices in Chapter 1
  • More flavour text based on Sanity to be added in Chapter 2
  • More description to showcase mentee’s personality in Chapter 2
  • More talking instead of just lapsing into silence in Chapter 3 lol

Content warnings: depictions of mental breakdowns, drugs/medication, drug overdose, hallucinations, dissociation

Link to game: https://dashingdon.com/go/14030

Please let me know what you think or if you find any bugs. Hope you enjoy this, thanks for reading! :blush:

91 Likes

The premise is quite grabbing at first playthrough and i did enjoy the somewhat somber atmosphere it held.

5 Likes

Sounds interesting but the description was kinda vague. What will we be able to do in the game?

That’s fair, though honestly there’s not much else to the summary.

You control someone who currently lives with an inept husband, who’s a painter spiraling because of his art block. One day at work, your boss suddenly assigns you a mentee and threatens your career if you don’t train her. You find that your mentee is a bright and quirky girl and, depending on your choices, attracted to you. You can choose to break up with your husband, have an affair with your mentee, do both, or do neither.

Though you wonder: is your husband taking advantage of you? Is there a secret behind your mentee’s cheerful facade?

All the while, your character’s Sanity continues to lower. Stress or neglecting to take antipsychotics will cause it to dwindle faster. The lower your character’s Sanity, the less that their actions make sense. But maybe that’s what you need instead.

Hopefully that’s enough, again I didn’t intend this to be a huge game so there isn’t that much there, currently. I’ll update the description too, so that it makes more sense haha

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Do you have any plans to give us the option of renaming the character we play in the future? Your game has a great concept, good grammar, and is an interesting read but customization goes a long way!

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Hey, yeah for sure, I only added in predetermined names when I first wrote this so I could ignore having to deal with it in the moment, but definitely going to be adding it in the next update.

Thank you for playing! I’m really glad you liked it :blush:

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Sounds lovely! I wish you the best with this project and eagerly wait for more. :smile:

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I think this is actually sweet.

I’m hoping that there is an option for like, couples counselling or something when they realize there are issues. I actually really enjoy the idea of a story that is on a surface level… normal? Like, just an office worker living their life with their husband being a goober.

Being an artist myself whom goes through art block… It can kind of hurt a little to see a reflection of myself, albeit an indirect or murky one, in a character.

It’s a little too short for me to make anything more summative though, I’m a little sad there was not an option to propose having hamburgers or something instead of just saying you have to do pizza because the meat wasn’t in the snow cooker. (A way to find compromise for them both, if you don’t want pizza and you want to make up.)

Showing that both sides are having issues with understanding one another could serve as an interesting basis for how their relationship might develop. (Also curious if there will be acknowledgement of differing identity in the relationship if there is an expansion on how Axel and the MC met, and if they are not a straight couple.)

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Thank you!

Yeah, in terms of couples counselling, I’m planning on making that an option for sure. If you go through one of the more chaotic routes, you’ll find that the MC is already seeing a counsellor of their own anyway, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility. And as I’m writing this, turns out I’m putting in anything that’s within the realm of possibility that my mind can think of, so :joy:

That’s fair with the shortness; I think it just feels short, like each playthrough is short, but there are a lot of routes. The total number of words (excluding code) in that demo is 9.5k, and that’s only within three chapters, so I’m expecting the word count to balloon with each chapter (even though I was trying my hardest not to lol), just because of the options I’m putting in.

You raise a good point, I’ll add in an option where the MC suggests compromising on making dinner together, but if you go down another route, there is actually a reason why he can’t cook and he does say why if you push him. Still, being understand and bringing up a compromise will at least make your husband more amiable towards you.

I’m for sure adding (or will try my best to) discussions and developments of the relationship between the MC and the husband, as time goes on. A bit of a spoiler, but the husband will start to deteriorate more and more as time goes on because of the art block, and you can choose whether or not to support him, and how. Of course, this will also be hindered (or helped) based on your Sanity.

I am adding in an explanation on how MC and Axel met further on, but I wasn’t really planning on adding a comment on their sexuality. I just deferred it to both Axel and Sierra to being pansexual and the community around them being supportive of LGTBQ+, since the player can choose the MC’s gender, so that it isn’t really a big deal.

Thank you again for playing and for your thoughts, I really appreciate it and I’m happy you enjoyed it :blush:

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Can the husband be a wife?

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If this was any other game, I would give players this option.

The reason why I genderlocked Axel (and Sierra) is because the point of this game is that you, the player, shows up and starts controlling the MC out of nowhere. Before you came along, the MC already had their own life, their own choices, and you interrupted the MC; that was how I conceived this game.

I know this isn’t a popular choice and I totally understand if this turns you off the game. If it makes it any better, you are absolutely able to break up with your husband and go for your mentee instead. Sorry, I know this probably isn’t what you wanted to hear, but I appreciate you looking into my game anyway!

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Ohh I wonder if the MC will become increasingly aware of the fact that their life is being ‘meddled with,’ or if Axel will become increasingly aware of this on the basis of things changing. Could even take an almost psychological horror bend :thinking:

For me personally I think even adding one or two lines, that do address their sexuality would do a lot for adding a weight to it. Like Axel maybe mentioning how he “didn’t realize at the time there could be other people like me,” if you are both young men when you meet or saying how you “being unafraid to break convention” or something was a draw to him toward you before you began dating. Just an idea though not pushing for it or anything. (It can be really small, but I think that kind of minor address can add make a big difference for queer readers.)

Also I’m curious, if you are ‘interferring with their life’ does that mean they could interpret it a number of ways? Now I am thinking of an insane MC believing they are being possessed by demons while a more sane one continues rationalizing the difference in their choices as just being ‘because I want to make steps forward’ without fully recognizing why.

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MC will become aware that control is lost, I’ve tried hinting at it early on and dependent on Sanity. I’m still not 100% sure on how it would be achieved or if the character will interpret it in different ways, but experimenting on how to showcase that loss of control at the moment :slight_smile:

I’ll think about the LGBTQ+ side, to be completely honest, I was just going to leave it as not noted on as most (if not all) CoG leaves it as if being queer is the norm anyway. I wasn’t really going to focus on this either.

Also I haven’t dropped this! I know this isn’t the most popular WIP but I do love the idea, I’ve mainly just been busy. Hopefully I get to add in chapter 4 (‘normal’ Sanity route) in soon!

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