Most hated element/mechanic in choice games (and other games)

Mine is being told how I feel about a character before I get to know them.


Totally agree, I role play so I create a real character with goals ambitions etc … Then suddenly out nowhere game says you are in love first sight X since years . And you choose all options against them . One epic fail moment was in first Heroes rise game before updates you automatically had sexy moment crush with Black Magic even if like me you had a 1% of rapport with him.

And about rest I love stats probably because I came from a table rpg background you can’t role playing without them because is the result of your choices a effective way to track your style , emotions etc during game allowing you to create unique characters. I think many people issues against them is they only want win, not create a character, and watch the branches and enjoy the travel. So they only concern is what stat I need to have the best outcome possible? This is not what I wanted, the best plays I ever had could end in a supposedly bad ending but felt so real and accurate for that character that is the cannon ending for me and far more satisfying than the typical ponies and rainbow ending.


My number one thing is linear CoG/HoG, they offer no replay value and that is the major reason I choose to play these gamebooks. Each playthough I want to see other parts of the game. I know that’s a lot of coding and writing but I have a lot of appreciation for those who have the time for a huge effort like that.

I don’t appreciate being “steam roled” into having a certain relationship with MC’s support characters. Unless it’s an enemy that’s there for the story arc.

I also really frown on small stat increases when the cost of succeeding at a certain choice is too high (near impossible). Eg. I have 20 strength, I didn’t make all previous choices to accommodate building just strength so now at the fighting scene, I fail miserably. No chance whatsoever.

I really REALLY hate frequent misspelled words. I’m not talking about one or two spelling mistakes every once in a while. I mean those games where there are about 5+ spelling errors on - Every. Single. Page. T_T" Please reread your own work.

I actually like that toilet scene idea lol. Was thinking about that myself, but then I haven’t played all of the CoG/HoG to know that there isn’t a single one.

I would definitely play a sequel to a game that places you as the antagonist MC as opposed to your protagonist MC in the first game. So that you see their own point of view of the world. Essentially a similar game to the first one. For instance: I would love to play prodigal from heroes rise trilogy. Maybe come to a slightly different story line as she makes different choices.


I don’t necessarily hate it but I always end disappointed when there’s no deviation from the main storyline of a game.

Oh and romance, a game has got to have some sort of romance in it… provided that at least a decent amount of thought went into it.


“Hate” is a really strong term.

I do wish there were some more customization options for the screen layout. I’ve heard a few people say the bright white background was difficult to look at for long.

I also wish there was a way to skip certain sections quickly, maybe in a flowchart way (like in Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward), because sometimes I just want to see how ONE choice would change things! So I’m seconding the “back” option mentioned above. :smile:

I feel there are so many kinds of Choice games out there, it’s difficult for me to say if I “hate” certain story telling methods over others. There are times I feel too much customization is overwhelming and I would prefer pursuing a tighter story. There are also times I wish I could customize more. I guess in the end it boils down to whether or not I trust being in the hands of the writer. I firmly believe anything can be done well, if the right person takes the idea on. Some ideas are just harder to sell than others!



I agree.

That would be nice to have the flowchart or something. I know when playing visual novels I use the speed up feature for subsequent playthroughs so it zooms through all the text I’ve already seen and then stops at the new stuff.

It’s one of the reasons why I’ll read the code of choice games once I’ve finished a few playthroughs, so I can see what would have happened without having to play through a zillion times.


I don’t like being bombarded with meaningless choices and no story to break up the choices. I don’t like many pages of text without choices either ; I understand that the need to break up the story and make it interactive and meaningful can be hard to do without making many branches or ten stories in one game,but interactive fiction needs a balance between choice and story. An example of this is over custimization- I want to choose my name abd gender even if it doesn’t impact the story, but asking me what my eye,skin, hair color and length right after each other makes the game seem like a boring quiz and those choices usually have no impact .

Choice of script games usually don’t have changing images of the MC so there is no point in over customization. I don’t like racism,sexism, discrimination or other depressing themes in games, so there is no point in over customization. But, If the custimization was relevant and not negative, I would accept it. For example, a small MV looking for supplies in the zombie apocalypse could enter a house through a doggy door while a large MC could break the door down. Fantasy games may need mote custimiztion so the MC understands their character. Like are elves small or tall? Is your dragon a small lizard ( Mulan’s Mushu) or a giant town crushing monster?

I don’t like having unanswered questions or cliffhangers(except for horror games because its scarier when a monster is still out there to get you.) Sometimes I just want to ask npcs why they think/do some things. In an apocalypse or similar setting, I feel like @nukeboom123. How do you use the bathroom in a world without toliet paper? I need to have awkward conversations with my travelling companions about the important issues in life! For horror settings, I can’t go alone where the killer can attach me; I need to see the npc’s reaction to me asking them to go with me. Toliets have limitless character development opportunities. I was trapped with a character in a small shack for a couple weeks and there was food and water in a visual novel I played and the game seriously overestimated my bladder skills.

I don’t like it when a game tells my character how to feel or if I am given a choice and the game rejects my choice and forces me on a certain path. I would understand if it was done reasonably - I could want my group to stay together doing a horror game but I’m outvoted/the monster shows up and everyone else scatters. I don’t like when the game witholds information that my character would have known until after I have made a choice that I wouldn’t have made otherwise. Fallen Hero wip does this; this MC is heavily predefined but I dont know who/what/why about the MC and I have to make choices. I think the first draft of Community College Hero also did this- I had an option of not revealing my lack of powers. But everyone already knows I dont have powers and this was even said in a press conference I understand that some choices have unintended consequences, but I should be aware of things my character would already know when appropriate.

I don’t like it when a game has no romance or has over designed niche characters. I don’t want to have to change my self or pick the one right choice to win the npc’s favor. The game should be about choices that lead to different paths not one true path. Some things about characters should be left up to the player to define. The romance should have depth and give you the option of forgetting or not forgetting your interest’s birthday or something and see how that plays out.

For my first play through, I pick choices that I would really choose if I was that character. I don’t like unexplained bad ends or bad ends in general. There should be ends that could be interpreted as good or bad by different people but not unanimously bad ends. I don’t like overpowerly bad endings that overshadow good endings.

I used to think that I didn’t like mostly linear games, but The Shadow Horror game was so jarringly short that it made me realuze that I prefer games that are long even if they are linear because my first playthrough can be satisfying and it makes me want to replay the game and I do notice those small changes in different play throughs and I can appreciate the work the arthur put into a game. I will not readily replay a game that takes less than 5 minutes to end and I am dissatisfied with. I am use to playing otome games with a lot of very different branches that each take hours to play through, but I’d rather have a long linear story that is satisfying at first than a dissatissfying branching story. The branching in a story should be logical; choosing to wear red shoes or blue shoes should not branch the story.

I don’t like it when the narrator forces the character to make certain choices or we are in an unwinnable situation. I don’t like not having any choices that I would not choose. For example, I wouldn’t like only having a choice to not kick a puppy because you want orphans to starve or to kick the puppy becwuse you love free popcorn. I usually don’t agree with tje why/because part of a choice.

I don’t like having to google answers to in game quizzes. I don’t like games that rely too heavily on skills or games that block choices for no reason. I like it when the npc notices that we did something uncharacteristic and when my character has depth and is warned of the pros and cons of a choice before I make a decision.

I don’t like achievements. They break my immersion if they popup in the middle of the game and often contain spoilers.

I don’t like it when the narrator uses arbitrary non gender specific ways to determine the MC’s gender. I dont wear make up/skirts/dresses/heels most of the time. I don’t like it when the game says I like things that I dont like such as chocolate.

I think we need more mary sue characters. I like it when everyone loves me and is nice to me.

I dont like not being able to skip pages of background information for the second playthroughs.

As a disclaimer, most of my points are based on a depressing visual novel I played.


Oh, yes. I wonder… Perhaps the stat menu could have an option to view an ascii chart? Or an uploaded image, whichever, with keys that allow options to skip to certain areas (To skip to Scene AB, click here). Would be a lot of work but this could be possible! Maybe?

On topic: ummm, I dislike being indecisive and agonizing over choices that then in the end don’t mean things. Don’t play with my heart that way! (I’m looking at you, Fire Emblem: Awakening. You know very well what scene. :angry: )


Lol. How would that even work?

A Mary Sue by their very nature never loses, is better at everything than anyone else and everyone likes them. In CYOAs, even in the most benign ones where you can’t suffer a horrible death, there is still always the chance for failure and there is usually some sort of antagonist.

And if the writer actually does manage it, I can’t imagine the story actually being any good since success without any conflict gets pretty boring, unless it’s poking fun at the trope or something.


I hate that no one has made a Choice game where you are stuck inside a hellishly bad fanfiction.

Because that would be hilarious


I hate having too many stats, because inevitably they rarely get used. Choice of the Vampire, for example, gives me about fifteen stats to choose from but only lets me use five. When has anyone used Technology? Pumping it is meaningless because I never use it and I’m robbed of another stat I could have used.

I also hate having super-hard checks for stats. My one qualm with the Lost Heir is that you can’t be a jack of all trades–if you aren’t specced for something, you are going to fail at everything. You can’t be adaptable to all situations, because eventually everything requires to have at least 40-60 in it.

Linearity is fine, railroading is not. If all my decisions lead back to the same point, there’s no point in making the decisions. I get that the story needs to be resolved at point Z, but let me be able to try paths A, B, C, and D to get there, instead of having all my choices lead to path A.

Flat characters. When I devote my time to a book/movie/game, I want to be entertained, and part of that is making me care about the characters. Making them flat cardboard cut-outs is one of the fastest ways to make me drop something. The only faster one is…

Bad. Spelling. A few mistakes I can handle. One in ten words being misspelled, I cannot. If I can’t read it, I’m not going to play it.


I think it’d be really difficult to implement in Choicescript, it’d also be a lot of extra work for the author. So I think, generally it’s just a nice thought, but one that’s unlikely to happen.

I’ll admit that I’m disappointed when too when I agonise over a choice, only to find out that it’s a fake_choice with absolutely no text after it. But, even if the choice you make ends up being a fake choice with absolutely no impact on the game, it still matters. Because to your character, for however long it was it took you to choose, that decision was important.

But yeah, it’s still frustrating when the game doesn’t acknowledge the importance of such choices.


I prefer slice of life or sandbox games and games that focus on character interaction, so having a mary sue character would work for those games.

I am not suggesting a game that focuses heavily on military/fighting/strategy automatically make you win each fight. That would make each choice meaningless because the choices wouldn’t impact the story or add new content and the game would be linear and boring.

What I am suggesting is that the choices do matter and result in different endings not simply a good and bad end; this works well in more character focused games and games without a main plot such as sandbox games.

An example of a choice that might be good for a mary sue character is choosing between going to college or running away to join the circus. The MC Could be succesful at whatever they choose, but each choice would lead to a very different experience and that is why the choices matter and neither of the options are unanimously bad.

Also, character interaction/romance is sometimes cheapened by not having a mary sue main character. I want to view the characters in a game as three dimensional and realistic and when I have to go through difficult challenges to win their affection, they are reduced to no more than trophies. I enjoyed the sand box quality of the original Sims game (not really a narative game but still kind of relevant) , but when I was playing the new Sims and my character’s marriage proposal was rejected because my sim used an inexpensive ring, it made the other sim seem like it just wanted money and had a bad character. It would have been better if the other sim accepted, but had a practical talk about how my sim was going to raise a family with no money.

Here is another situation that is good for a mary sue MC: In a slice of life game that takes place in a school, the MC could choose which club to join. The game wouldn’t be about competing to join the team, but it could show the different interactions between characters and the MC would meet different people if they choose the chess club over the basket ball team. The game would let the MC pursue the popular yet jerky kid, but it would not feel like a failure if the MC decided not to pursue them. The MC could experience going to the prom with different people or could choose to stay home and watch horror movies in their pajamas with their friends. Yes, “Success” would always be guaranteed but the game is not about winning or loosing ; it’s about living life and the choices do change the story.

In summary, mary sue characters are best for games that focus more on character interaction and don’t have a single overarching plot and they make romance options seem like more than just trophies. However, they are not good when they make choices meaningless and don’t add variety to the story.


While there is absolutely a ton of potential there, I’m not sure it can be done without collapsing under its own metaness. Then again, The Adventures of John Q. Deadmeat, Wearer of the Red Shirt, in which our hero saves the crew of the USS Generic Aircraft Carrier Name #7 from the mind-controlling machinations of a megalomaniacal thirteen year-old with perfect pitch, does have a nice ring to it.


Well I can certainly see a story where you technically can’t “lose” at all since I’ve written at least one story like that, but you can still do that without Mary Sueing the main character.

Even in your example it sounds less like a Mary Sue and more like a “normal person” that just happens to be having a good day (or week) and the story just avoids hints of negativity for not picking a particular choice.

Mary Sues tend to be more over the top in that they just excel at everything to an absurd degree and everyone likes them to an even absurder degree.

I dunno, I’m just not convinced that Mary Sues are ever good characters to have regardless of the setting since they tend to be really face palm inducing.


Painfully awkward gender flipping. I hate painfully awkward gender flipping in choice games.

Hate it, I says!

I first encountered PAGF in Choice of Broadsides, which is still my favorite COG. Choice of Broadsides is a story about early 19th-century manly men boarding their manly ships and doing 19th-century manly things, according to 19th century notions of manhood (bravery, honor, integrity, ambition, being allowed to vote, and so on). On my second playthrough, I realized there was the option to play as a woman. “Oh,” I thought, “This should be interesting! How does a woman get into the thick of the Napoleonic wars?”

Except it wasn’t interesting. I was still doing manly things on manly ships with my fellow manly men, but now we were women for some reason. I was disappointed, and wound up restarting because I could not get into it like I could the first time around.

For me, the most egregious offender was the original Choice of Romance (also a very good game), in which I picked a male character because I had not fully realized what kind of story it was, or what kind of character I wanted to play.

Suddenly I was trying to seduce the powerful and manly queen (according to courtly notions of manhood) and become the hidden power behind the throne. As a member of the fairer sex at a time when people of my gender had little autonomy, I had to rely on my grace, wit, and feminine wiles to exert my social influence. Except all my pronouns were masculine for some reason. It made more sense when I went back and selected a female character, because then I got to experience the story as it was meant to be played.

I’m sure this kind of gender flipping is neither painful nor awkward for some players, and I see the appeal of choosing your MC’s gender in some stories. But when gender norms are heavily embedded in the game’s setting, the gender option always feels like a false choice to me.

Someone needs to remedy this immediately. You could call it Choice of the Teen-age Half-Vulcan Lieutenant Who Saves the Enterprise, Wins the Federation Citation of Honor, and Helps Captain Kirk and Mister Spock Explore Their Latent Bisexuality (working title).


For me, it has to be the lack of a gender choice in some choice games. “Hate” is a strong word for my opinion of a gender-locked MC, but I do dislike it. Being a woman myself, I personally find it harder to get into a story where the only option is to play as a male (especially in stories that use the MC as a sort of avatar for wish fulfillment). It’s probably why I gravitate towards games with character creation and customization, such as western rpgs and the like. And when the video game industry is so saturated with male protagonists as it is, I guess I would just hope that choice games would grace me with a female option by default.

I do understand that adding in multiple genders can make the story longer and take more effort to implement, but for me it’s important. It doesn’t mean I won’t play a game if it doesn’t include an option to play as a woman, especially if there’s a reason, but a lack of that choice almost instantly kills my interest.

There are also some things that other people have mentioned that are pet peeves of mine as well such as the illusion of choice and character inconsistency. Elaborating on those would basically just mean parroting what y’all have already said though.


Ugh, yes, I hate being forced into playing as a male character (Being a female as well), it feels really odd, especially when romance gets involved (another thing I hate is when games force you to get involved with the romantic interests), and quite often that can make me stop a game, I doubt it would be that hard to at least one more gender option…


@Nukeboom123, same here. It kind of feels like the characters aren’t “real”.

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I still like mary sue’s for otome games. I personally don’t focus on my skills during otome games because most of the chaeacters that are around me are semi-skilled and do all of the work for me, but I wouldn’t mind if the MC was given the choice to one up the other characters because narrative games are about choices.

I enjoyed the Quizilla wwyff/wwffy otome games from a few years ago (more or less than 5 years ago) where the MC was typically some long lost princess or part of some prophesy and the good guys had to kidnap her to save her from the bad guy and all of the characters fall in love with her even the bad guy and they all fight each other for her love and affection. The whole series mostly involved the MC being kidnapped by the bad guy and rescued by the good guys repeatedly. I enjoyed the attention from both groups, so I probably wouldn’t have tried to escape even if I had the skills to. I also enjoyed the scenes where it was very obvious I did something wrong ( like pranking everyone by spraying silly string over everyone’s car, house, and horse) and they didn’t suspect me because they thought I was too virtuous and they loved me too much. In most games, I like to choose an interesting/crazy option if it’s given to me because I want to see what happens. If I am punished for picking an intetrsting but not necessary practical option it makes me feel like there is less replayability and I need to limit my choices. I like funny scenes in games.

In the games when I was a princess/ royality type character, it wasn’t depressing like most historicalish games on this site that make women seem worthless. The woman mary sue MC wouldn’t be seen as less than a man and people would actively care if the MC was wronged and would try to prevent an unjust forced marriage. It confuses me where in some games (like the Genevieve and Arthur game relationship)where the npc says they love the MC, but does nothing to actively show this when given a chance or does something unloving for no reason.

However, I understand that some not like the same things as me. People need the choice as to how they play their character and it would be nice if one of those choices was to be a mary sue. Even if a character(s) automatically love the MC , the MC shouldn’t be harassed by another character if they don’t want to be, so the characters could still secretly love the MC, but not be stalkers.

But then again, a slasher game could be made ( because I love slasher games) where someone “loves” the MC so much that they break into the MC’s house to kill the MC for refusing to go to the prom together because if he/she can’t have the MC then no one can or something like that. The MC is powerful and could easily kill the attacker, but they are friends and the attacker could be possosed so the MC might not want to. Of course the MC is invulnerable and can’t be killed, but who will protect the MC’s friends who all love MC and sacrifice themselves to protect the MC whenever the MC, a friend, and the attacker are in the same room and the friends won’t listen to the MC’s request to stop being dumb and leave. The MC will always live, but at what cost? The game would have the player build up a relationship with each player involved, but I don’t know if this is parodyish since its different from a traditional otome.

Maybe Choice of Romance could have been better with a mary sue MC,but honestly all of the characters were unlikeable and the arthur tried too hard to give them flaws. Loving the MC could have given the characters one redeeming quality.

I enjoy the escapism that mary sue games have. Every game doesn’t need an overpowered/overloved MC , but there is a greater chance that I would like that game. Whenever I am having a bad day or someone has insulted me, it’s nice to be complimented by someone with no ulterior motives. I like having good romance characters in a game, but there should also be neutral non romantic scenes because I don’t think most people would try to force themselves on someone else just because they like the other person if the feelings not mutual. Basicly, mary sue games are good for a self esteem boost when you’re having a bad day and make you feel not worthless because everyone loves you.A game should at least have the option to play as a mary sue.