Collection of sub 150k stories, or standalones

Hi all, just out of curiosity, from an author who chronically tends to write a lot of games that are on the shorter side, would turning them into game that’s the equivalent of a book that compiles multiple stories of the same themee but not related otherwise (so say not all set in the same world necessarily) be something that would be a positive, negative or a neutral.

Just as a random example of games I’ve already released elsewhere or late WIPs here to get an idea of what I mean (wouldn’t necessarily use these they’re just examples of games with common themes of different lengths) of say a collection of “dark folklore/mythology inspired shorter stories.”

Phantasmagoria (~150k) (Making your way through a Greek inspired underworld before your candle flame goes out forever.)
Raishall (~70-80k) (Pulling a dangerous spirit over from the otherworld to do a task for you.)
Each-Uisge (~20k) (A game involving a trapped water horse.)
Lost ones (few thousand) (A game about being enchanted by a rusalka (kinda like freshwater siren/mermaids.))

I’m inclined to probably plan to continue to release games that end up being sub 150k word as individuals for reasons including:

  • Less delays on publishing. (I’m already slow to get things finished- only wait for one game to be finished rather than 2-5 games).
  • Each game can be picked up separately or not depending on if you think the premise interests you.
  • Possibly release some as ad support or with a free story and lower cost optional extra related stories/games or content. (Pending if this is something that would be ok with HG. Maybe more people would read them if low cost/ad supported rather than as a normally paid app for most longer games?)
  • Shorter games usually just go up immediately on itch as little hobby projects or jam entries for funsies and as unlikely to be of much interest to most HG readers anyway often being a different style?

But the main positive would be it would bump the total word count up into a range where people might consider it. In saying that, although the total would be up there (possibly making it more cost effective to buy if not just ad supported), it wont change that the length of the game themselves will still be shorter so I circle back around to it’s probably better to do individual releases unless the games are micro games that you wouldn’t release separately because they’re <30k.

Anyway just thinking aloud here. It’s been something I’ve been tossing around with as to a possiblity/not for ages and just curious on what other’s thoughts are.

Short multiple games or single releases?

  • Yes, themed smaller game releases sound like more fun than stand alone games.
  • Yes, I like the idea of having an app with a longer total word count to keep me busy for longer in one place
  • I don’t really mind either way.
  • No, if the games are <150k I’m not interested regardless.
  • No, I’d prefer to pick and choose.
  • No, I’d prefer more regular game releases.
0 voters

If you think a compiled list of games is a good idea, where would be your threshold for when it’d be better as a standalone. (Edit- sorry that should have been 30k, not <30k which is below the minimum length for an HG).

  • <30k
  • 30-50k
  • 50-100k
  • <150k
0 voters

Related question, which best describes what you’d prefer to see

  • I’d prefer all games to be similar/minimum length
  • I’m happy with a random assortment
  • I’d only be interested as an add on game if it was attached to a full length HG
  • I’m not interested in shorter games at all.
0 voters
1 Like

I’d rather see games that meet the 30K minimum published individually, but I really like the idea of an anthology of smaller pieces, themed or otherwise.


I think a collection would be a fun idea - the equivalent of reading a short story collection from a single author. It would need to be communicated very carefully/clearly though, because I could see this:

… potentially resulting in “this says it’s 300,000 words in total! But it’s six 50,000-word stories and now I’m furious!” comments.


True. I have a feeling a lot of too short complaints are due to the playthrough length, but I thought that might get offset by multiple playthroughs adding up to a longer total to have a “better value” download but that wouldn’t be for everyone. You’re right though, that could backfire big time if people got the wrong idea what it was. I’d try to be very clear it’s a collection of games if I went there.


There was a sci-fi writer named Eric Flynn (he passed away last year) who opened up his alternative universe storyworld to authors who wanted to write short stories, and he collected them all into what he called: The Grantville Gazette

Here is the gateway for this amazing set-up:

My point here is that I feel you will need to build a similar structure and support system for such works to both be accepted and embraced fully within the Choicescript IF community.

Maybe, but the majority of the community is barely aware of this, so their dissatisfaction is almost always focused on “reasons” they identify and know.

So, to summarize my thoughts on this: I feel to succeed in writing, marketing and selling the stories you want here, you will need to build up and establish the proper framework for you to succeed. A “Jacic’s Gazette” if you will.

I also see this as a long-term effort with lots of work and foundational building to do.


Oh, he died? Didn’t know that.

I think the collection will sell better than them individually. But I admit it may be a tough road regardless.


I have been thinking of doing something like this as well. :thinking: I love the idea of it but the issue will be getting readers to be okay with the fact that they do not get to make a single character, unless these are different stories of a single character. I was hoping to test something like this way in the future, but if you go for it, I’ll gladly sit back and see what happens.

1 Like

Something like Phantasmagoria has so much room for expansion that I think it might do better as a standalone with DLC releases and/or add ons (that wouldn’t necessarily need to be a continuation on the same story, just within the same theme,) and maybe Lost ones could do well like that also. But Raishall and Each-Uisge sound similar enough in theme to do well as parts of a collection (and if you wanted to include other stories of enchantments like Tam Lin, Lost Ones could fit as a part of a collection as well.) I guess what I’m saying is I think both ideas have merit as ways to showcase shorter tales/games, but you may want to take into consideration how you choose to group them. Thematically, I don’t see this grouping of all four of the stories being successful, but other groupings could work well. You could even set the collection of stories within a framing story if you want, to further connect them as one “whole” game for the player.

1 Like

Hmm, I guess what prompted this poll was I’m finishing up with Raishall. I’d planned to release it as a standalone, but was just thinking about options. Alternatively I’d need to sit on it until I had enough other other games of a similar nature finished to add in. (I am trying hard to not add to my WIP list, but I do have a tendency to write random short games from time to time that usually just go to itch). If not now, it’s quite possible I’ll do one at some point in the future though.

Probably not what I’d be looking at, but I think I’d actually like a single character multiple stories. Could be like episodes of a TV show but in choice format :slight_smile: . Another group project I was involved with kinda did that (Starship adventures). It was not popular, but that wasn’t necessarily the episodic nature, and more it was satire and sci-fi. I could actually see this working with the right topic and bridge to bring the “episodes” together into a whole game.

Phantasmagoria is already over 110k so I tend to agree. In saying that, it’s interesting that over half of people responding to the poll agreed that anything under 150k would belong in a multi-story game rather than a stand alone, so maybe in the right combination of games together… I’ll see what I have available when that one’s finished up. It’s not one I would plan DLC/add ons or the like for, unless a lot of people really wanted to see more of that particular world which is not particularly likely given the type of game it is. You could have extra routes added in, but there’s already two major different routes that branch out rather than doing the branch and return thing, which was also a silly decision on my part due to lowering the playthrough length at expense of replayabilty. The alternative would be some added mini stories for different MCs in the same world but that circles back to the short story issue. Probably works better for games where you could write side stories involving major characters in the original game I’d imagine.

I guess the story list above was just examples of things I have already written to get an idea of lengths, if I were to plan something out rather than my usual “hey I feel like writing something about this” randomness, it would be better to plan out the games to fit together better. I do like the idea of a book of folklore stories by the way.

Thank you, I had not seen this before.

I honestly don’t think that’s possible through HG. I’ve seen a trend over the years for CSGs to be a lot narrower in what content will or will not be considered a good read, and shorter games are definitely not on that list. (When I first started writing here 100k was considered a good game length, now anything under 200k is considered short and often not worth looking at. So the acceptibility trend on length is definitely headed in the opposite direction!)

That’s fine and all, everyone gets to have their choice on what they want to read. Even in normal books, short stories are a bit of a niche area. I guess my thoughts were if I am going to continue to write some shorter stories anyway knowing they will probably be unpopular regardless, what might be the best way to present them on the app? Or is it worth them going there at all depending on their length. (It’s interesting that about 30% of people responding said they wouldn’t look at a game that was less than 150k, I actually thought it would be a lot higher.)

The prompt for this was thinking about how to release Raishall, but on top of that I was also kind of interested if there was any interest at all for really short games at all (sub 50k ones) in a collection in the future. I’ll have a think about it and see how the poll settles out. Maybe I’ll put together a group of short games at some point and just see what happens. Otherwise they can just continue to go to itch when I write them. There are options :grin:

Anyway thank you to everyone who responded and voted for indulging my curiosity. It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a while :slight_smile:


as someone who has been writing short stories nonstop, they don’t care and they won’t buy it or read it even the beta. Sadly, this is not the environment for anything not romanced and not the size of nine complete encyclopedias.

It is a very bitter pill to swallow for me, but it is like it is.

1 Like

I actually don’t mind short stories. Maybe I’m in the minority. But I remember when a lot of game were around 50k so it’s no big deal to me. I think this is a great idea honestly. I would mind short stories all of the same themes I think it’s something you should look into.


Yeah, it’s kinda sad in a way that IF is such a niche area. You get popular genres and prerequs that need to be included to get any attention. I try not to get bitter about it and just accept that’s the way it is and go into it writing those sorts of games as something I like to play so it keeps me happy at least :slight_smile:

As a side note, other areas of IF tend to be much less rigid in terms of needing particular things that are common in CSGs like long games, blank slate MCs and romances. It’s one of the reasons why I love some of the comps and jams you see promoted over at intfiction as it can be a place to hang out and post games that wouldn’t suit here. (I recently wrote a poetry CSG of all things lol. Totally random and unsuitable for HG and I didn’t even link it on the hobby projects section, but I wanted to and enjoyed writing it so yeah.)

If you just feel like writing something for funsies that won’t suit HG, I’d look into it. I like ectocomp in particular as you frequently get authors leaving feedback or reviews on the games of others they read. IFComp is great for that and not restrained by needing to write to a particular topic, but also a more serious competition. I haven’t entered spring thing before but it sounds like it is less competitive than IFComp and another option. (And then there are heaps of other random ones like Introcomp, Seedcomp, Barebones jam etc).

Thanks for the feedback @koda. I guess there are some of us around who like them. I actually found Zoo-pocalyse which was a recent short story kind of a refreshing change. Nice to have variety.

I must admit I’ve kinda wondered if putting more stories together might counteract some of the “I played it, it was short, it’s done, I’m disappointed there isn’t more” negative feeling associated with short games by those who aren’t a fan of them. I guess it would be a try it and see what happens prospect. It’s great to hear how everyone is feeling about short stories in general both positive and negative :slight_smile:


those are great jams and events I agree, I don’t join them due I have not the level for it and I don’t want to ridicule myself more than I have done already. Still, for most of the people are a great way to improve and meeting people in the know.


Oh I’m sure. But I feel like that’s the risk but hopefully having more game like it would help offset it. I did like the zoo game but I couldn’t bring myself to play all of it lol. Game like choice of drag are still popular despite being a smaller game. I actually still go back and play imprisoned sometimes. I like the episode idea honestly, kinda like unnatural style but how you described it earlier. Smaller games in the same universe or setting. *lol drag was supposed to be dragon but I also liked the drag one also the wrestler game was pretty lit too.

1 Like

Some of the smaller jams are pretty friendly. Actually all the comps and jams I’ve done have been pretty friendly. Including IFComp which is a serious comp with standards for places and where I got the most feedback, some of it critical but most very helpful none the less. Criticism can be given at times, but it tends to be constructive or phrased as an IMO type comment with the rarer exception of things being pointed out that are game breaking for the person reading it. Getting nasty about crit seems to be generally frowned upon. But yeah, downside is the games do get ranked in many of the comps and jams, so I can see why not everyone would want to enter them.

Seedcomp is an interesting one. They did give out “best in show” type awards for a few categories and listed the games voted for each one, but they didn’t rank all the entries from 1st to last overall. Instead they encouraged people to give out “stickers” for something they liked about the game. Either serious like “best characters” or a bit sillier and fun like “most suspicious pigeon award”. I didn’t find I got as much interaction in that comp as other ones like ifcomp and ectocomp, but it only started last year so it’s early days for it. Even as an idea for a comp, I liked the concept of awarding stickers rather than ranked places for a friendly jam, it’d be cool to see some more that do this. Anyways, I’m getting off topic :slight_smile:

It’s quite niche, but I can see it having an audience due to that niche-ness. I don’t think it did overly well on the stores from what I’ve heard, but it also proves that not everything needs to be a best seller for the audience it is intended for to enjoy it.

Yes I go back and play some of the older games too. Some of the older shorter ones are on my favs list. One of my fav short games (which incidentally is also a bit of an experimental one) would be Paradox factor.

1 Like

Paradox was great honestly. I a few that I enjoyed that are on the short end are choice of rock star, NOAL burning, choice of broadside both the original and the remake by Paul, planetary quarantine, so you’re possessed. Also I really liked neighborhood necromancer but that’s a bit above the limit lol. But I feel like all of those afford a enjoyable read.


Definitely do it, and include a throughline in each story that connects them together, like Stories Untold. People love trying to piece together a big conspiracy and drawing spurious connections.


I think that’s the idea that turns this into a real winner.


I would want the stories to be related somehow, I think.

Not directly connected as in loading saves to have a character continue over or whatever, but just generally. All in the same setting. All sci-fi stories about robots. All horror stories. Etc. In general I’m more likely to buy a short story collection if they’re all about something I’m in the mood for.