How Much of an IF Game do you Actually Play?

Typically, if I enjoy a game, I will play most, if not all, routes and paths available to me. My only limitation here is gender and sometimes flavor-text-only choices (depending on the quality of flavor text the author provides). My first run of a game is typically self-insert adjacent, which seems pretty common based on the polls section, but then afterward I will create different characters to explore the rest of the story.

While being on the forum, it has come to my attention that other people don’t do this, and I was just kind of curious how much of a game on average, assuming you like the game, do you play? Do you just play until you get your ‘canon-playthrough’ locked down? Do you explore as many branches as possible? Are there branches you never ever bother with?


I’ve still only played a few complete games all the way through, and most of them are relatively old. I think Choice of The Deathless is the only game I’d say I’ve truly done 100% of, and even that’s probably not completely true.

I’d say in a general sense I will usually replay to follow RO paths that I didn’t in the main game (but don’t bother with characters I didn’t care about in the first place), and if there are different builds, like charisma vs. strength vs. stealth or whatever, I’ll usually try a couple of characters that way.

I sometimes play evil/antihero/renegade/whatever paths in conventional video games, but rarely do so in IF for whatever reason, so if that’s an option I usually won’t bother. And if there are significant variations on how the endgame turns out (like Choice of Robots) then I’ll usually try to get at least one run for each, assuming that I enjoy the path leading up to them enough - I may end up burning out if the path is too far off from my normal play.

…Also once I’m done checking other paths out I almost always go back and replay my favorite playstyle and RO route just to cement it as my headcanon because I’m sentimental that way. :slight_smile:

-edit: It also depends on the length and amount of branches. I’m probably going to burn out looking for every possible path of a longer game with more variables before I completely explore everything.


Since I typically have a lot of games and other distractions on ‘the list’ to do, even in lockdown, I usually play a game just once with a ‘what would I do’ mentality. Certainly it’s rare for me to start a second run immediately with a different character or RO focus. I don’t tend to go down the Chara route (or whatever the pure evil version of the Undertale girl is called) since it’s not me. And I am definitely not a completist unless it’s straight forward to be in a game (anything Telltale or Detroit Become Human). The two games I have probably toyed with most are Choice of Robots and Weyhaven as they are either quite open ended or have engaging gameplay and characters. Same with anything by Lucid or Guenivere.

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It definitely would depend on the route and the RO, if I’m lucky I can get a less than ideal ending first time round so I can replay the game and make some different choices. As I’ve seen a few other people make the case for in another thread, I do tend to stick with a favorite RO or a certain way of playing the MC as my canon route. I can’t really bring myself to try another option all the time, though some exceptions to my rule do exist. I don’t like doing it really but at the same time I tell myself that that certain route or character was written perfectly, just as a way of justifying me playing it again only to make the same or very similar decisions.

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I play almost every published game fully (minus some of the shorter, undeveloped ones posted on HG) once as a self-insert. If the game seems like it offers different paths (be that an evil playthrough or a different romantic interest if any more of the ro’s catch my eye) then I’ll play the story again. That’s rare, though. If a game is somewhat noteworthy, I’ll normally play through as a self insert again every couple months, but that’s because I’m addicted to CoGs and have a problem.

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If I like it, I will often try to unlock every achievement if the game has them and play at least all available romance options except for male/male only routes.


I play/explore until I find the route that I like most and then will usually replay that route over and over because that’s most enjoyable to me. Unless there’s a wildly differing branching route that I find I enjoy, I don’t play through the game down those routes because I don’t enjoy them as much as my canon route.

Like in Fallen Hero Retribution, I like being a Thief. It’s just really fun to steal stuff and it fits my Sidestep because she’s just sorta aimless/lazy and can’t be bothered to be a mob boss or anarchist or hero killer. I will take a peak at the code for the other routes if I really want to know what happens, but otherwise I stick to my Thief play through.


@derekmetaltron The main character of Undertale isn’t female. They/them pronouns are used for them throughout the game, though their gender is never outright stated.

As for the actual question, I usually play two routes, typically the only difference being romance or (pretty rarely, since I just restart for a fair number of bad choices) changing things up for a better ending (making my character suspicious of someone who will betray them, etc.) It’s a rare game that makes me want to try more than maybe two routes. They do exist, though. Wayhaven Chronicles is one. For that one I did eight routes, two for each RO using the different methods of flirting. Although I can’t remember if I ever finished Mason’s since I grew to hate the character, so maybe around six or seven complete routes.

Hmm, and the ones I’ll never try? Well, for me there are always exceptions, but I almost never replay for different skills or an evil path. In the case of evil paths, it’s because for the most part I hate playing evil characters. And different skills don’t tend to change the narrative. To me it just seems like different flavor text and I’d rather continue playing my usual archetype, because I know I’ll be able to tell what choices test those skills, and I don’t want to play something entirely new since I’ll mess up.


I’m poor, so I always just play until the paywall shows up. Sometimes I can even play it in its entirety.


It depends on the game, I normally do a first walkthrough where I romance the first character I like. If the game is getting on my nerves, with to much choices I do Not like, I stop it and promise myself, that I will playthrough another time(or never).
There are games on the other side, I have played dozens of times, just because I like them, like Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven or wayhaven or Creme der la Creme. I never Play evil and I do not make a playthrough for different stats,I might try different stats, If there are enough interesting ROs so that I want to Play again


There’s been threads on this before. A lot of players only play 1-2 times which is why a lot of CS games are now designed to be longer and fairly linear rather than shorter and widely branching for a particular number of total words.


Most of the time just one playthrough. Unless if I get a bad ending then small chance I’ll try again lol

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I try to get all the routes in an IF, then replay my favourite route multiple times.

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I never 100% these games - far from that.
And I also never self-insert or even identify with the MC - that’s why I favor the games that are written in first person - unfortunately, that’s uncommon. I’d rather know the thoughts of the MC from his perspective than be adressed to as if I was the MC. But well, obviously I had to get used to that. Still, that’s besides the point.

So, as for the actual question, I make my MC, then make it my goal to “help him achieve happiness” - so I basically try to get what I think is the best route, with the most suited romance for him in my opinion. And yes, I say him, because all my MC’s (and chosen ROs) are male.
I basically consider whatever route I’m doing as canon, so usually, when I replay (and I replay a lot!), I make the exact same choices, for the genuine pleasure and enjoyment of reading the story again and again, and without stressing out about the choices.

On veeeery rare occasions, I want to explore a different romance. Unless something in the game prevents me from doing it like I want, I’ll keep the changes in my new playthrough strictly to romance. That means every single choice I can do the same, besides romance, I’ll still do the same. But obviously if romance plays a big part in the game, that could change the entire story. For example, you won’t see me replaying Wayhaven Chronicles with a different RO from the first one I’ve chosen, because the game is truly romance driven. On another hand, I find myself trying various options in Samurai of Hyuga, because romance, while important, isn’t the focus. My MC is still exactly the same, aside from the romantic interest.

Now, if I happen to get a bad ending, or rather an ending I’m not satisfied with (sometimes a good ending is still not satisfying, and sometimes a bad ending actually is), then I’ll probably replay until I get an ending I like, changing small things here and there, as to keep my character true to himself, but still get another outcome.
But if I fail again and again I can give up. This mostly happen if the game relies too heavily on stats, and I can’t manage to obtain a good ending because I focus more on the story and RP.

Now, this is for text based games. When I play visual novels, usually I either do only one route, same as in text based, or I 100% the game.

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Depends on a) how much variation is offered and b) if I enjoy the game.

Some games I have played once, because it is pointless to play again and try to get another variant – or the fact that I really dislike endings dependent solely on your stats. That is a(n end-)game killer for me. :pensive:

Other games I play far too many times, games like Tin Star, Fallen Hero and Wayhaven, where paths and/or character/romance interests interactions can vary to a ridiculous amount. Far too many times… 100+ hours so far! :sweat_smile:

What I fail to do is play the ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ route in these games, because somehow I fail to be mean enough to do that even in a work of fiction. :crazy_face: :hugs:


i admit that in my personal phone, i replay until i have my “canon route” and i have another device to explore other paths.

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I actually do the same as @greendaisy — my first run is with a self-insert character, basically picking whatever I would do in real life if I were in that character’s situation (though I might “break character”, from time to time, if a choice feels just too good to pass up :laughing: ).

Then, for subsequent playthroughs I create different characters to see the other paths. In those cases, usually I already know which ending I’m going for so I tailor the character’s skills and personality to match.

That is not to say I’ve achieved 100% completion for every game I’ve played — or for any of them, really :sweat_smile: — but I sure intend to! I think it’s such a pity that’s there no easy way to know if you’ve seen every possible variation in a scene with these games, short of reading the code (I really want to see it all, I’m anal like that! :face_with_hand_over_mouth:).

Since I don’t code-dive, my goal is to get all achievements (again, I don’t believe I’ve done this even once, yet), as I suppose that they must cover most of the relevant branches anyway.


I usually play games at least two times, the first being a sort of character insert (but a bit idealized, probably, I mean, who wants to acknowledge their own mortal flaw in IF?) and then a second one to do the exact opposite of what I would’ve done.

If the characters and world interest me enough there’s a high chance I won’t be able to let the game go without having gone through all of the different dialogues and situations, so I’ll start messing around with different archetypes for my MC until I feel like I’ve thoroughly exhausted every option in the game.

I’ll probably peak at the code to see if I’ve missed any scenes, but I’ll want to play through it in the actual game or it doesn’t count to me.


I love playing IF games, and for me, the most important thing in the story is Romance. If Romance and passion in the story can create a connection with me, then that story is best for me, and honestly, many readers want the Romance plot to be great. If your story won’t have that spark in the Romance plot, then not many people going to it.

It depends on how much I like it.If I really like it (TWC) I’ll play as much as I can, others, I’ll play once or twice.