Merry Crisis (WIP) - Updated: 3 Apr '24 [220k words]

Head back home for Christmas. cue: immediate disaster

Slice of life, Romance, Family/Home, Non Euro-centric
Current wordcount: 152k words (4 chapters)

Demo | Main post | Cast of ROs | Ko-fi

Will the week at home truly be a good ‘change of scenery’ for you, after your recent break-up? Will you find new love, or perhaps rekindle an old flame? Will you survive the week at home with all your brain cells intact and get closer to your family?*

At the dawn of a new year, which relationships will you be able to salvage (or deepen)?

  • Play as female, male, or non-binary - straight, or queer.
  • Patch things up with a (very recent) ex - who also happens to be your flatmate (not sketchy at all).
  • Run into your first-love / soulmate, who’s doing ridiculously, absurdly, well - at least on the outside.
  • Have a whirlwind romance with the sexy neighbour (that your mom despises, mostly because they have tattoos and leave muddy mountain bike tracks on the common corridor).
  • Spend the holidays back home in Singapore with your family, survive the drama at the Christmas family dinner, and perhaps even find solace in their company.
  • Bail out early and head back to New York for New Year’s Eve, or watch the fireworks with family or… a new flame.

Author’s note: I’m back home for the holidays, and felt like writing a light-hearted slice-of-life game about where I’m from.

The game touches on being in one’s late 20s, feeling torn between a place you’re born in vs. a place you’ve chosen to build your life in, the tension between familiarity and adventure, duty and freedom, and what it truly means to be ‘home’. If desired, it can also be very, very queer.

Other links: Devt blog | Author’s Tumblr | Main WIP - College Tennis


The soulmate/ex/best friend.
Your ex. Your parents never approved of them, but you suppose it doesn’t matter anymore. Despite the breakup, you’re still friends, and worse still - you still live with them in a tiny shoebox apartment. New York rent, man—it’s hard to say no even though you know you should be moving on, and moving out.

The estranged first love / soulmates.
Your first-love (or platonic soulmate), from junior college. You’d not kept in touch, and now, they’re ridiculously successful. But, according to your intel, still…single.

The charismatic stranger.
Your neighbour (Auntie Pearl)'s new tenant. Sexy, confident, and unabashedly unconventional. Your mother definitely does not approve, but you might not be able to resist their roguish charms.

Update Log/Chapters

Chapter One (24/12/21): The Departure
16k words

  • Rush home to grab your things and head to JFK airport (why exactly are you so late for your flight?)
  • Bump into Nat, who offers to give you a ride to the airport, because they’re… just that kind of ride-or-die (literally) friend…?
  • Charm, beg, or name-drop your way into getting on that plane despite your horrifying tardiness. Or: miss your flight despite your best efforts (or maybe you weren’t trying that hard?) - and spend one more night in New York.

Chapter Two (10/06/22): The Arrival
+33k words

  • Have your lift hijacked by Shay, your neighbour’s new tenant
  • Eat your favorite Singaporean food
  • Participate in your family’s unique Christmas tradition [Paint some ugly santa figurines, or bake and karaoke to your heart’s content or play mahjong]
  • Call your old friend Joony, and get lost in memories of your junior-college* days… Qiu (no surprise here) features heavily in those memories.
  • Have a ‘midnight heart-to-heart’ with your brother. (or not!)

Chapter Three (28/01/23): It’s Christmas
+48k words

  • Attend Christmas dinner with the extended fam. Chat with your icy/frigid cousin or your brother, engage in some hijinks with your 6-year old twin cousins, and get embroiled in some true soap opera-style drama.
  • Ride off from the family dinner with Shay on their motorbike (to your mother’s horror), to a live music venue. Meet their bandmates, dance with Shay—a kiss is also in the cards—or perform on stage with the band if you dip out of dinner early!
  • Head to Labrador Park (a nearby coastal park with a strip of beach/forest) after dinner, and call Nat. You recall some of the good times spent on the beach with Nat on their first trip to Singapore to visit you, and just might just get a chance to fight for the relationship (or let it go for good).
  • Choose to spend some alone time at the park, and (possibly) reminisce about your 18th birthday, when you spent the afternoon there with Qiu after class.
  • End Christmas with a bang… (If you play your cards right, you might even be invited back to Shay’s apartment.)

Chapter Four (24/06/23): Boxing Day
+55k words

  • “Morning after” scene with Shay if you chose to stay over :sun_with_face:
  • Mountain bike ride with Shay if you chose to go on it :bike: :evergreen_tree:
  • Flashback of The Incident with Qiu :eyes:
  • Reunion dinner with your classmates, and meeting Qiu again for the first time
  • Alternate scene with Qiu if you chose not to go for the reunion dinner

Future updates—Chapter Five: Free and Easy

  • After the hectic Christmas schedule, spend time unwinding and exploring the city
  • Hang out with Shay, Qiu, or your family
  • Surprise visitor makes an appearance

[7-8 total chapters planned, roughly corresponding to each of the days MC will spend at home.]


Ah good, a story about the stress of having to deal with family and friends being assholes on the holidays, now it feels like Christmas!

I kid, I kid. My own family situation is… uh, bad, IRL (Got kicked out of the house and disowned at eighteen, woohoo), so this story intrigues me purely on the level of escapism, which is a hell of a thing to say about something people probably experience yearly, themselves.


Hahaha, we get each other! What’s a festive season without a bit of… friendly (???) ass-holery, eh? That said, my own experience with my family has always been… both really amazing and really… kinda sketch (I guess on the grounds of being queer in a still-largely conservative society), so I wanted to capture that paradoxical “so good-and-also-kinda-bad-sometimes-but-still-family??” vibe.

And man, I’m really sorry to hear that. I hope you’re doing good. Take care, and sending you some love. <3


oh my god. my worst nightmare has become a wip, oh no! but seriously though, that’s such a nice idea. i already love it without even trying it out. lets just hope i survive this when i cant even survive the real deal! being an introvert makes it even worse


HAHA omg, that’s true, well - wrote this 'cause I couldn’t sleep, so I guess I’m passing on the curse to other people. All the best with your own holiday ordeals :stuck_out_tongue:


Oh, what happened to me is years in the past, my roommate and I do alright for ourselves.

Anyhow, I’ma stop talking about it now before I start dragging moods down XD

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I really like this! The concept is not something I particularly relate to, but the writing is very posished and I love the characters so far.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to read beyond a certain point because it sent me back to the beginning of the chapter, for some reason?
I was running to my gate, at which point I decided to check my stats (because it occurred to me that my choice to be athletic might play a role in my success in reaching the gate, and I was curious if there was a stat for that…). Unfortunately, when I clicked “next” from the stat screen, it took me back to the beginning of the story. Not sure what happened (or did I reach the end without realizing it?)

One other minor thing:
I chose female pronouns, but the second choice here has male pronouns

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@llim ah! Thanks so much for the comment!

Hmm, I think this could be me updating the chapter to fix something, sorry! Let me know if you get the error again, though I’ve also just updated again to fix the pronoun-mistake that you pointed out (in which case folks might’ve been bumped back to the front again.) Apologies!

Oops- I hit enter too quickly.
@Zyrios I’m so glad to hear that you’re doing good :slight_smile: either way, I’m always here for a chat if anything.

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Ooh a Christmas inspired IF (my favorite) The premise is so interesting and fun sounding.

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just finished it and that was so good! its nice and just a very relaxing (maybe not so much if you finally meet your family) start. just a suggestion though, if you’d be able to add flirt/romance indicators to choices that would raise someones romance cause i was not intending to romance nat and i was surprised to see that the romance was going up for them, unless of course, that was the point. i was kinda going for qui cause idk man, qui sounds like the typical rich anime dudes and i live for those. they do sound like they would end up like a dick so crossing my fingers they arent the mean cold type cause as much as i want that, it’s very draining to constantly give affection and just watch them not react at all or just throw an insult to your face. its like fuckin flirting with a rock. its even especially hard when you choose to be the shy about it. i can take it if they’re cold but mean too? might have to go for shay instead. (bad boy type?) nat still a precious beanie tho

anyways that’s enough of me blabbering (kinda?) about my slightly hated kinds of ros and on with the typos!

choosing for nat to have they/them pronouns kinda messes up the grammar

the paragraph is on the same line with the date

missing word

same problem with the pronouns ruining the grammar

nat had they/them pronouns on my playthrough

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Thanks for the comment, and I loved the blabbering (definitely not blabbering, though haha). And haha relaxing is good! It’s the holidays, after all, so I’m going for 80% light-hearted :stuck_out_tongue:

Ah, good shout. I will consider adding some romance indicators and review the options that’ll give the romance stat a boost, although it’s also based on the premise that there’s history between you and Nat. After being with someone for so long (plus having a pretty amiable breakup), some ‘friendly’-ish options might be throwbacks to fond memories etc.

But either way, regardless of the romance bar, you will always have the call as to who you’re actually interested in going for :slight_smile: The relationship bar also indicates how Nat sees you, after all!

As for Qiu, hahah, well, they’re named after autumn (秋), so… I’d say: somewhat chilly with some warmth tucked away somewhere :stuck_out_tongue: Won’t give any spoilers, though. Nat’s definitely a precious beanie, though you won’t be seeing much of them until you return.

Nat’s pronouns and grammar- AH! Thanks for pointing that out! I will fix this when I get up tomorrow morning.


Not the kind of thing I’d usually read, but it puts a smile on my face to see something set in Singapore.

I just saw the “Why are guys two years older” and I’m smiling even more widely now. Although, I will point out that some males are allowed to not serve National Service for a variety of reasons (which itself could be an interesting minor plot point if you allowed for that, as such reasons often have at least a little stigma attached).


As a queer Singaporean looking to eventually move to another country, this is just a little bit tooo real. Hahaha, fun read though, can’t wait for more! :wink:


I must have somehow taken a path that doesn’t currently involve any of the characters besides Nat? I’ve played through the entire demo and have not even met Shay, Qiu, or Joony, but apparently other players have.

Also, it was not difficult to notice that we have absolutely no idea what Nat looks like besides skin color.

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I liked the story a lot, even or maybe because it shows the differences between my own family and the one the MC has.

Found two Pages with gender swapping of Nat in the page ( Nat was male in my playthrough)

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I don’t think those characters are in the demo yet, people are just talking about the information on them found in the first post.

Not sure if this is an actual issue, @burninglights (since maybe you are still working on it and planning to open it up later), but looking at the code I think the whole “Flight” chapter is currently being skipped because the prologue is still coded to go straight to last_scene.txt.

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I don’t usually like slice of life stories, but this was lovely, and though we haven’t encountered many of the characters yet, Nat seems grounded and like a real person. And as someone who is not Singaporean, it’s always nice to have a small slice of a culture I’m not entirely familiar with. Can’t wait for the next installment:)


Is this written for the game jam @poison_mara set up???

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@FabricSeat and @lexie1k HAHA ooh, have I found fellow Singaporeans?! :star_struck: so happy y’all liked it!

@lexie1k Hahha, yeah man. It’s… tough being a queer Singaporean. I’ve always felt like there isn’t really a place for us outside the private home ("everything’s A-OK as long as you don’t “flaunt your sexuality in public”), and that’s ironic because by home, I think the state means, your parents’ home (so tough to get a place of one’s own if you’re not a well-to-do queer person thanks to housing policies.) But thanks for reading! :slight_smile:

@FabricSeat good point on not serving NS! I shall consider that, and possibly add that in as a nugget / bonus later on (have someone comment on it at the dinner perhaps). But I’ll shelve possible extra flavour till I get further along I think!

@geldar Yep, as FabricSeat mentioned, the other characters are Singaporean and will appear once you land! Also - noted and will try to slice more descriptors in for Nat, I was sorta blazing my way through and focusing on their inner worlds / interactions / histories for now. Thanks for the comment!

@kaelyn Awesome, I’m so glad that it was a good read even though the context and backstory is something quite different from what you’re used to! As for Nat’s pronouns, got it! Thanks all for pointing them out, I’ll be scrubbing through and fixing them by the next update.

@fool Haha, yay!! This comment was so nice to read, and yeah, I’ve always loved choice games/interactive fiction because it gives a glimpse into a different life, and am glad you’re enjoying your little foray into this particular world (and that you like Nat hehe).

@roselilymarigold Haha yes!! I saw @poison_mara’s winter solstice game jam and thought it’d be really cool to write something short for the holidays - though I haven’t yet posted it there because it doesn’t exactly fit the theme (children’s stories!). @poison_mara - Let me know if I should!


BTW, I notice there’s an achievement for arriving on time. Is it possible to not get that achievement, by somehow failing to arrive?