I’m paraphrasing this from something I wrote a few months ago. Since it’s a frankensteined response to a specific question it might not all make sense. If not ask for clarification.
I think the use of fake choices is one of the huge differences between the official Choice of Games, and the Hosted games. Choice of Games tend to rely on them far more.
I’ve a few theories as to why that is. I know that one of the authors I asked about their use of fake choices said that they were on a deadline. Whereas those who write Hosted games have far more of a luxury of time.
I suspect that the writers who make their living from their writing, who have deadlines to hit, (be those imposed by Choice of Games or just themselves) have to be more economical in their writing. Fake choices let them push the story onwards and give the illusion of choice.
I generally dislike fake choices, especially if they’re obviously fake. They’re usually one of the things I pounce on while beta-testing. I would rather have those choices have a single line of response to differentiate it from the other responses than just lead to the same section of text as the others.
Most people won’t even look at the code. They won’t know which choices are fake. In that way fake choices do have an impact on the player. They let you fix in your mind what sort of person your character is, it’s part of the journey, part of the story, part of the whole experience. They let you set your style. By being there they do actually help the story, since the story exists not just in what’s actually written down, but the interaction between the reader and the writing.
I think the trick with fake choices is to use them for flavour, for things that don’t matter, to break up text and let the player interact and to perhaps let them have some insight into their own characters. They can serve a purpose there, they can add something to the story.
I think that fake choices do add value, however they’re a tool that it’s very easy to overuse and they become more obvious on each replay and lose their value.
I believe that you could write an entire story based on fake choices, where those choices completely change the meaning of that story. I think doing so would be an interesting thought-exercise.
Does the story exist just in the text written down on the screen, or is the story instead the interaction between the reader and the text. Fake choices may not change what is written down, but they can change the player perception.
Two people can read the same story and have an entirely different interpretation of it. They can watch the same movie and take something completely different away. I think fake choices are a tool of that to a certain extent.