How do you like your Intros?

As a reader, when you start a game/story, do you generally prefer it to start In Media Res (just jumping into the action) or do you prefer to have a scene where you’re introduced to the MC and some supporting characters and learn about them through conversation?

Personally, I like the idea of jumping into an IF’s action straight away and teaching the game about my character via my choices. But, I’m curious if maybe others think that’s too confusing? Or maybe someone has a preference/reasoning I didn’t think of?


I like a bit of build up, I mean not like a 30 page history but some kind of short prologue before the MC comes into it just to give us a bit of context and premise and maybe some cryptic foreshadowing.


This is not normal If… It is NOT your character is Mine. It is not a character about I am reading about, it is my character inside your world. That doesn’t mean you can’t start with action is a good thing to do build hype. But if you start thinking it is a preset story to split over people without choice for player you aren’t in the correct public.


Players need time to learn the game before they can do anything challenging. An intro that tries to be exciting will usually feel like filler before the real game starts. There’s no dramatic tension in a tutorial level.

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I like a nice intro for world building and story creation.

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I have developed a deep hathred for in media res, these last few years. Mostly it is because it is everywhere these days (not just in cogs, but in litterature), and most don’t do it well.

Mostly, I think that most cogs are all right, but I still like some kind of introduction to the world and mechanics before taking me to the action. I do think a lot of in media res prolouge ends, also in cogs, end up being filler where you just start actiony because you have to and then we get + 10 choice of ordinary life/childhood (I might be exgarrating, but it happens).


Me: Ok. Let’s play the game
*clicked the game icon

Game: The dragon’s thrust itself towards you!!! What are you going to do?
Me: …
*close the game

Well, unless there’s a short intro like “You’re a mere normal human thrown into a dragon’s lair”, I guess I’ll keep playing it a little further.


Both can be good if done right.

I like to understand my character and/ or the NPCs’ character before I can make major decisions.

If the action is more of my MC taking in a scene and commenting their thoughts on that action, that’s fine.

If the scene is a fight and I have to choose to work for the king or the rebels and I don’t know either side’s beliefs or what they stand for, that’s bad. If I have to choose if I like a NPC I don’t know or care about some dead guy I don’t know, that’s bad. Sometimes the game makes me choose between options when my MC should have had prior knowledge about an event/ world - I once chose to call the police on guys who took me as a slave, but the MC would have probably known slavery was legal and that the police wouldn’t help, but that info wasn’t given in story, so I had to make a stupid choice. That’s fustrating and makes me want to restart.

It’s hard to screw up a non media red intro, unless you have endless customization choices with no story text in between. It’s like a tedious quiz to answer all that. Introduce facts as the MC interacts with the world.

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Absolutely agree with that, nothing puts me off a game faster than being thrown into a decision on things I know nothing about. The character is blank, the world is blank so there’s no basis for any choice. I’ve always thought In Media Res worked better in traditional linear novels and even then I’m not always a fan of it. If the reader is going to be asked to make choices they deserve a bit of background first. I have trouble making decisions at the best of times and it’s even worse with no context.


I am somewhat embarrassed that this is pretty much how my WIP starts…


Can’t please them all.

I prefer to start at the beginning so I have context and build up, but I want the intro to be as short and condensed as it can be while still giving me the information I need. I hate to admit it, but even though I write for a living and adore Choicegames, I’m not a fan of walls of text.

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There’s nothing wrong with a little “jump into the action” scene at the beginning. Yes, it will generally be “fluff” because the player/reader deserves context before making critical choices, but a short, fast-paced scene with a few choices that carry no huge consequence can very effectively set the tone of the story. Plus, I find it more exciting than “Cue exposition!”

Like the Star Trek movie (was it the second one, released around 2014) that had the crew on a planet trying to extinguish the volcano…or any action movie that starts with “the crew” in the middle of some mission that is not vitally important to the story but introduces/reintroduces the characters to the audience in a more organic way…I lean towards those types of beginnings, especially in sequels, but they aren’t right for every story, nor will everyone agree or disagree either way.


I can change the dragon part into… IDK. A beluga perhaps so it won’t match your WIP?

Yea, I agree. This one jump-into-action intro definitely works.

But, how to say it… at least give the reader info about where they’re, or when is the time, or something so they can settle in to the action smoothly

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“It is my character inside your world.”

I think this single sentence is an excellent guide that should always be considered when writing a choice rpg. I think the player should always have a concept of who they are before making any choice. Otherwise, I would just read a book.


personally i feel that if i’m playing/reading a setting where the rules of the world aren’t as easily to define (fe fantasy/sci-fi with ‘space magic’) the choice heavy intros are bad no matter what.

like someone else jokingly said, if these are the first words i’m going to read
“The dragon’s thrust itself towards you!!! What are you going to do?”
i’m going to be hung up on what a dragon is in this setting for half an hour before deciding to just close the game. are dragons intelligent/capable of speech, does the color of their scales determine how good/evil they are for some reason, are we talking asian dragon or european or skyrim’s ‘not really dragons’ or shadowruns’ corporate suit wearing dragons. territorial/predatory/vegetarian dragons?


I’m a bit surprised how much immediate rancor there has been towards ‘in media res,’ considering how popular some of the CoG and HG books that start that way can be…(Mecha Ace and Choice of Dragon both come to mind…) That is definitely something to keep in mind, though.

Also, obviously a well-written intro beats a poorly written intro either way, and starting with a choice rather than an explanation of the choice is poor writing, whether it’s ‘in media res’ or ‘start at the beginning.’

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Honestly, this has been a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot this week.

For me, media res is often jarring. It can be done well, but is so replete in novels/visual media, that if an author does it I’m normally turned off.

There are also other variables I consider, as readers are more willing to accept a premise they are already familiar with, rather than take a chance on new terms and a new world.

I enjoy a healthy amount of world building before the action starts. Otherwise, at least to me, it’s hard for me to get immersed in the world.

Like Zombie Exodus I could jump right into, given that I knew the tropes or at least the basic premise. I was more willing to give the long customization a chance since I knew the outcome would be satisfying.

On the other hand, many science fiction ,fiction, or fantasy stories have long intros or due to attempting to set up a world. People may be less willing to give a longer intro/customization a chance, due to not having any expectation of how the rest of the story will unfold.

Long story short - it depends on who your audience is and what type of story you want to tell.

I weave long sagas, and have a long attention span. A few paragraphs and then action jolts me. A decent intro, some moral choices, and I can get hooked.


I thought Choice of Dragons was pulp trash, written on a third grade level. If I had not read Choice of Robots, creatures such as we or Zombie Exodus I’d be back playing my MUD, where I have role played a good aligned dragon for 15 years.

I love Choice of Dragons, abrupt intro and all. I thought the rather sudden introduction was very much in character for a dragon’s story, given how concerned the narrator always seems about wasting a big, toothy, powerful dragon’s time. And, conversely, the abrupt introduction sets the tone for the character and game to some degree.

For anyone who might be writing with an eye (or all the eyes) toward the Choice of Games contest, I noticed they have some comments about the first chapter on page six of their outline document.