Length of game influences buying?

Theme is more important, though I think anything else than certainty 30,000 is gonna lack extensive choice…


I won’t have too much of an issue wity short story games. As long as its advertises as such, and the story is tightly written and concise.

It’s great for when you just want to spend and hour or two reading something to pass time.
There should always be a place for those games anyways. Its only fair and keeps up the variety.
Heck short story games still leaves so much to be explored. Its great for more low level/low stakes games, or perhaps even a brief romp into a philosophical topic made to be more accessible!

We don’t always have the free time to play through an entire epic! (As much as I want it to be so)


I won’t buy anything under 30k words. In my experience, those are generally too linear to be worth anything.

It’s very unlikely that I download game below 100k words in length. I more or less familiar with choicescript coding, so I understand that such game would be either quite linear or ve~ery short(and I like to have a time to get more familiar with game’s world and characters).
To be honest, even word count below 150k makes me unsure, but that’s because I was spoiled by massive titles like Tin Star, Choice of Rebels,Choice of Magic…

I would be more willing to buy short but choice-heavy game if it’s part of the series, and sequel already was released. That was the case with Way Walkers.


Hey buddy… i think i may understand some of your question regarding why some Titles are considered long while some are considered short… l believe this is due to the general feeling of a single playthrough, for a game which is well written and got the readers hook up, they might forget that perhaps they had fewer choice or customisation within the game… this type of game manage to lure readers into a single journey that expose them to a wide fantasy with many climax , in the end of the story… they feel that they had experience a long read…

You can say that such game may have fewer branching point in the middle such as appearance customisation , or fake choices but the few important choice still lead them into multiple endings that matter…

I took the example of Doomsday on Demand 2 and your Highway wars… Doomsday on Demand 2 is advertised as 133k words but none of the comments in playstore ever criticised it as short, although the complaints was in other department, and i can really experience that the single playthrough experience really feel much longer that the advertised word counts, i was truly surprised that 133k words could had such long journey…
Highway wars is 199k words, but there were at least one or 2 comments who mentioned it was short , that i think was because the single playthrough experience was shorter , especially with regards to the story of interaction between MC and other characters , like how the MC really feel or understand them … which DoD2 did a great job on Ivan and some other chatacters .

I remember in zombie exodus safe haven 1 thread , there were also complaints from regular posters on how they feel it was too short even though it has much more overall word counts , these posters mention they don’t intend to replay a game many times, what they want was a one playthrough of long experience , not long word counts based on multiple branches or choice…

So it really depend on the type of readers you want to please , hope it can help you for your future works :slight_smile:


Exactly my own personal option. Less than 100,000 means I wouldn’t role-playing effectively as game will have no deep or no length. And if i want linear stories well i don’t go for a Choice of games even though if I know author or is cheap I will buy it.


It should be noted that in my experience, later chapters tend to be longer than earlier ones, and sequels tend to be longer than their predecessors for the same reason: because the story is now handling a wider range of consequences as the number of prior player-made decisions add up. For example, Sabres of Infinity is about 180k words long, but the last chapter (out of 12) and epilogue make up maybe a quarter of those words. Guns of Infinity is more than 400k words long, but its play length isn’t appreciably longer than that of Sabres, and its two possible final chapters are almost as large as Sabres itself.

Personally, I expect Lords of Infinity to top the 500k word mark easily, and the systems I tested in Foraker were mostly designed to make keeping all the relevant plots, subplots, and side-activities organised humanly possible without a full-time dedicated continuity editor.


I voted for 100k mostly due to the fact all of the choice games I have enjoyed, and have replayed, have been around or above that word count. In reality, after coming back to life after a few months I can appreciate the lower word count games. It’s a struggle to make a chapter more than say, 20,000 words without code.
20k means to reach 100k you have to have 5 consecutive, meaningful, and deep chapters.

It doesn’t seem like a lot written out, but it feels like it in the process.

Bottom line, 100-200k word works generally are made with passion. It takes a lot of investment and time to make them, so the author generally likes what they are doing and wants it to be good. 30k is like, a hobby.

More words has generally meant more quality, just based on the time spent. That’s my opinion anyways.


I’ve noticed a discrepancy with the system where word count is utilized as a standard: greater length does not equate to more playable content. And it’s debatable but I believe one of the most important things in interactive fiction is choices.

Here’s the thing: sometimes authors will jam in incredibly lengthy sections with few, if any, choices. Whether these paragraphs serve any purpose is irrelevant, they are artificially driving up what is supposed to be a measurement of content without actually giving us more.

Even if you make some argument about those parts being necessary for some nuanced development, the fact remains that they don’t add any interaction to interactive fiction. If we just wanted a streamlined story, we would read a book instead.

I think something along the lines of a choice count would be more appropriate. How many choices can you make? I feel like that would be a better indicator of how much you’re getting


I saw someone online suggesting that gamebooks and the like should always have a choice for the reader, whether it’s a significant one or not, a maximum of every five paragraphs. It’s something I think works well at avoiding them going too wordy?


Impossible. Due most of choices could be fake or only flavor choices. That would only make people get a false idea. I could make 1,000,000 choices that bring no difference at all in content in fact there are already railroad tracks full games in the catalogue.


I wouldn’t buy any novel that has grammar so bad that it takes me out of the world that i try so desperately to immerse myself into. I have bad experiences with some novels that had grammar so bad i had to delete them from my collection to make space even though it hurt because those novels had really good story’s to them. These games usually have 50k words or less. (but a couple 100k+ novels have this problem too) because of this i never download games less than 50k words (unless it has good reviews and such.)

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30,000 is the min for HG’s these days, so only the older ones may be under. (It used to be 20,000 but got upped to 30,000 a while ago.)

I’m surprised no one’s brought up Dragon yet. I think it’s the shortest (23k words), but also the most downloaded game on the site, with a 4.6 rating in the google play store :slight_smile:


Anything but.

We can keep track of the save files and only increment the choices which alter the stats. If we wanted to go a step further, we could also cherry-pick certain important stats and only track those.

The only question here is whether COG is actually bothered enough to come up with a system that can do all that efficiently


I meant to type 50k lol
I thought it had 30k+ words? But that game is a gem nonetheless


For a large branching game, that’d be a huge job. You’d have to go through the game heaps of times, tracking all the different possible combinations of choices and decide where to draw the line between an “important” choice and one that’s providing flavour text or a stat change without extensive text. There’s a bit of a grey area there, I’d argue that having at least paragraph or two of text makes it a valid choice in many cases even if there’s no stat changes.

I think it is possible to get an idea of numbers of choices per playthrough using the random test and hand counting them for each seed. It won’t tell you much about the quality of the choice content though :slight_smile:


Nope, I remember Jason saying that it was only 23k. (It’ll probably turn up on a forum search from memory.) Some games are deceptive like that for their length and seem longer or shorter than they are :slight_smile:

Edit2: Here it is :slight_smile:

(How times have changed over a few years, ~100,000 words used to be considered a decent length for a choice game (The original Heroes rise is 110,000) :sweat_smile:)


I am a role-player I could care less if stats are up on down. That doesn’t mean absolutely nothing. I could make a billion of not content choices that add stats. Game is still same railroad tracks experience a example
#I fight with my sword
#I fight with my bow
#I use magic
*set fight +1
You win You keep walking and found a crossroad

Ohyou find an animal wht is it?
#A bear
#A elephant
#A cobra
*set run +1
You run scared to castle

I could make an entire game with no single change with millions of choices. That doesn’t change a coma text is totally linear. Choice amounts doesn’t matter IS THE QUALITY OF THEM


The term is [length of playthrough], in case you’re wondering.

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Here’s the issue: quality in these kinds of things are almost entirely subjective. You cannot put a quantitative measurement on it. We need something objective but also somewhat indicative of the product you’re getting.

Certainly, the choices available is a much better standard than the words put in.

As for the example you gave, it’s so laughably easy to tell that those stats are probably useless without even finishing a playthrough. If you’ve messed around with CScript game files enough, you would have a pretty good idea of what the important stats usually are

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It’s usually the ratio that gets me to buy or not.
Reviews can give a good idea if a 300k game is worth it more than a 150k one