Disliked Elements, Mechanics, and Tropes

Mine is when the author injects themselves as a cool and wacky narrator that never shuts up, seen it in couple of wips and it breaks my immersion


some do it well, it just…most often it come off as ‘‘Oh no, you can’t play an mc all alone! Gasp Are you nuts? That wouldn’t work! you need Bonnie and Clyde as buffer in the background’’

would it be that terrible to play an mc that doesn’t have friends, and make them as the story move along if they wished to?


That’s a worldbuilding problem, I think. Some authors just don’t pursue that line of thread much in fantasy genres.


Especially when the options are “go left”, “go right” and “go straight”, with two of them leading to death endings. This is a problem in visual novels especially.

Doesn’t feel rewarding to get them right either as it’s pure chance.

  • A missing overarching plot. Just a collection of scenes with no storyline to tie them together or a plot that takes ages to get moving. An MC without agency that just goes from place to place, talking to this person, that person …
  • Over-the-top gimmicky reactions that don’t feel natural and turn the MC into a parody of themselves.This goes for NPCs as well, but is especially jarring when it comes from the character you’re supposed to relate to.
  • When the MC takes things a little too easy. What’s the point in going for the “normal guy thrown into a supernatural world” trope if they adapt in the matter of minutes.
  • This has been mentioned a lot, but: Sacrificing character voice for a stat focused game play. Though I can see that this is something that comes down to individual taste.

Maybe because most of the descriptions there work as an info-dump of sorts. Info-dumps are always uninteresting to read.

The Dragoon Saga, on the other hand, spreads that info-dump over the course of its story. A bit here, a bit there. It doesn’t feel overwhelming and it doesn’t feel useless either, since the info’s within context somehow.


No save/load system in published book.

I think this one is on CoG? I just don’t get it. I guess they are trying to avoid readers from abusing this system in order to get the “best” result, instead of following their own instinct maybe? But then again, just because we have the option to do it, doesn’t means we all gonna do it. And even if we are gonna do it, so what? We pay for the game, just let us play it in our ways.

Without save/load system just make exploring a book 100x harder. A lot of time it wasn’t even about getting the best outcome, but just me wanted to see how the author handle a different response that reflecting a MC with different personalities, mindsets, objectives whatsoever, or hell, I just wanted to read that wacky option and have a good laugh. It is ridiculous and impractical to redo a book over and over for some minor options or fake choices, and I have no choice (reasonable one at least) but to dig into the codes. Which is upsetting, cause reading the codes definitely ruin the book for me more than simply let me use save/load to save time, especially books that have sequels.


I’ve been reading this topic for a few days and thinking about my least favorite thing. After some deliberation, I think I have to go with…

An uninteresting first choice/ game setup.

The beginning of a game is some of the most critical in terms of quality. It has to do so much of the heavy lifting of the project, introduce your world, tone, and premise, and filter for incompatible players. So why do so many games essentially have a first choice with no more meaning than, what kind of drink do you want? Coffee. Tea. Soda. or Water. Really? This is such a huge waste of an opportunity to get readers invested in the world and their character early on, and keep them hooked. This is story 101, and its all the more important in a game. It is your first opportunity to establish player and character synchronicity and begin building the motivations and framework that the rest of the plot will hang on. If you can take your first choice out of your game’s description, I contend there’s a good argument for changing it.

One exception to this that I recognize is the character appearance scene, because that already does start that process of character/player imprinting and gives them a visual avatar to put in the plot. But I’d really almost rather do that before gameplay, in settings where your appearance doesn’t depend on some aspect of the story, before the game actually starts, so as to avoid that meaningless first choice syndrome.


This might have been an issue in earlier titles such as “The Heroes Rise” or “The Lost Heir” but in modern titles it’s almost impossible to “fail” so an in game load/save is unnecessary as you can usually achieve the objectives you desire in one go


It’s not about getting the best result (in my case), but a quick way to read different choices without skim through the entire book multiple times.

There are always a lot of fake choices in a book here and there to allow readers to shape characters or other things in a way they desired, but in general, those choices don’t have an impact to the plot/stats or give much replay values solely because of it. I still want to read those options, to read the differences between them. However, I just couldn’t brought myself to restart a book over and over, even if just to skim through it, to try out all those dozens or hundreds of minor/fake choices. A save/load system will be a much, much easier way out of this situation that I encountered in literally every published book I have read.

I don’t know the actual reason for CoG to decide not to imply save/load in published books, and there might be a much more valid one than the one I presume. But all I can say, from a reader pov, is that I’m not a fan of this decision.


cose the author themself gotta code the damn save and load system. Alot of writer are 1st time coder (and writer) and are learning as they go along .

As for the Cog compagny themself, they only include a ‘Save’ feature (as in save game) when a sequel come out .

1 Like

A thousand times this. 90% of new games I seem to try begin with the same choices - every game is the same: gender, personal appearance, and sexual orientation. These don’t have to be the first choices, they can go anywhere in the beginning part of your story. Make that first choice something unique and interesting, and the second one. I do a mental groan when I read these same choices over and over stacked at the beginning often combined with a very high high text to choice ratio. Lots of long pages to scroll through and no interesting choices to make. Frankly I’d rather the first choice was what flavor soda I’m drinking at this point.


I do a mental groan when I read these same choices over and over stacked at the beginning often combined with a very high high text to choice ratio. Lots of long pages to scroll through and no interesting choices to make. Frankly I’d rather the first choice was what flavor soda I’m drinking at this point.

I actually don’t mind the text scroll, personally. Usually, that’s there to establish something more substantive about the game world, and usually I’m just happy there’s enough there that the author feels the need to get me invested in the world being different.

But I do dislike it when its in a world that is, to all appearance, similar to ours. And even when its used for worldbuilding, there are usually more immersive ways to get that information across, so maybe its the effect of those infodumps- more world development- rather than the text scrolls themselves that I enjoy.


Recent game reminded me of something I very much dislike. The bait and switch ‘YOU HAVE NO POWER HERE’ move.

In this generic case, being given a choice that hints at starting a romance and being turned down (this part is cool, no problem). My issue was the following almost taunting 4th wall break of “What? Do you think this is a story that you are the protagonist of? You don’t always get your way!”


The greatest thing that I think and interactive story game can commit is the illusion of choice. when the name of the game is quite literally a “choice game,” and the choices don’t matter at all and there really aren’t different branches there’s just one trunk. Sometimes the author gives you a handful of choices but all of them lead to the same basic conclusion. When there is only one ending to a sequence of events, are one outcome to a plot or a side plot, then what is the point of making choices? if the reader has zero power over the character then you might as well read a book.
I know this seems obvious, but it amazes me how many times there are stories like this posted and you gotta wonder what the author is thinking making a interactive story game when they clearly know nothing about branching pathways and just want to tell one story, one way.


yeah, the amount of work that actually goes into making a good game is an order of magnitude higher than writing a simple narrative - I posted in my own thread that I had probably spent a guess of 500 hours on my game, which works out at about 750 words an hour (which seems high), to bring it to a playable (but in need of work) three large basic chapters + some junk and char creation. Ive also read through my own prose far more than most novelist would, and I’ve learnt to code, and I need to juggle hundreds of variables - game creation is a task that’s herculean in magnitude.

Even with no graphics people forget that they are making a game and games usually have a production team, but our particular type of cyoa are most often solo efforts. The pay off is that you have a kickass game at the end of it but I do groan when I see a really nice forum post about a new game which claims to have 10 ROs, or 12 classes, that says is book 1 in a 3 part series, or something that you just know is going to require a colossal effort on the part of a sole author to bring to life. Better a small, self contained work that gets finished, than an initial sprawl that goes nowhere. Or better yet a modular approach with definitive break points that can be expanded on in chunks

edit: please dont let the above stop your from wanting to make a game :sweat_smile:


Lack of a save/checkpoint system.


Huh. While that’s always been an issue in the same way that any activity that requires great effort can be an issue, I also see issues arising from authors who have a great idea and then can’t stretch it into different paths from a literary perspective, either because they really only write one story branch well or because they simply run out of steam. For me, personally, I’m in the process of physically writing all of the differentiating plot points and character interactions for my soon-arriving WIP, because I’ve seen how it can go wrong when it’s not all marked out.

Of course, you also have people who just come up with ideas and then knock it out of the park and follow through. That’s not me or a good number of authors in existence, though.

1 Like

I wish it were more common to have writers working in teams on something. It would help with the workload. But it can be difficult to find people with a similar and shared vision. I personally did manage to rangle up a team, but its still too early to tell whether that will even work longterm.


Been there, done that. It’s a fun experience, but a logistical nightmare. For it to work well you’d need a group of people who are equally dedicated to the project, have about the same amount of time available, and have the same writing style. For as far as I’m aware the only author group Hosted Games that currently exist and have been published are Starship Adventures and Lost in the Pages. (Though I’ve been out of the loop for a while, so there might be more recent ones.)