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

I don’t know if hated, but I probably dislike the personality indicators the most. Because in most games like 9/10, they do basically nothing and have no influence on the game. So I feel like they are pointless, either weave them into the game or put a tracker for something more useful there.

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Anymore, I’ve stopped trusting the brief descriptive blurbs about characters you interact with on the advertisements for these games. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen something to the effect of, “romance a heroic Paladin!” only to then discover that said heroic Paladin is a complete shitwad in the game and my interest in them turns out to be less than zero.

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Yeah like, these games don’t have saves, I need to remove the doubt from the equation, or I’ll be here for hours because I had to reset 90 times.

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I really hate when games have something extremely trivial or that’s done in every other game in their tag line / advertisement.

Like that new teahouse of the gods game, one of it’s big points is ‘Eat vegetarian, kosher, halal, or try everything’, how empty must the game be for THAT to be one of the selling point?

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I’ve never understood what the point of dietary clarifications in these games even is, since it practically never comes up outside of some text flavoring here and there. Does the plot depend on me being vegetarian in order to counteract some villainous plot to poison all the beef in the land?

That’s only half a joke, by the way, a plot where being vegetarian to defeat a meat-poisoning supervillain would actually be hysterical.

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I think it’s character customization the same way eye color is?

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Probably but even eye color show up more, especially in romantic scenes with cheesy lines about them.

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True, but my comment was about “does the plot depend on this”, not “how often does this get mentioned”.

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I mean, I’m of the opinion that only story-relevant customization really matters; that includes things like eye color, hair color, favorite food, etc. If it’s not going to be mentioned at all, or mentioned once (like at creation), then I’d rather it not be included. Just my opinion, though.

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Idk, I think it’s quite neat that you can eat kosher and halal since that’s about more than simply food preference. And I can’t remember ever playing a game that offered all these options.

I could also imagine that beta testers reacted positively to these options and that’s why the game was advertised as such. Not because the game is “empty” but because these options were recognized as appealing (= marketable) to a larger group of readers.

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I can understand small customisation details being neat but there’s a world of difference between having it as a neat thing and pointing it out as one of your game’s selling points.

Like there’s a reason not a single game has ‘Choose your eye color!’ in their bullet points.

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Yeah, when a game offers some choice, you think that matters, but it usually turns out that is just some flavor text at the best.

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Re: the food options, I think it’s a way of telling the reader what the story is about, whether implicitly or explicitly. It makes sense that it’s mentioned in the blurb since the game is (partly) about working at a teahouse.

Personally, if the points mentioned in a blurb don’t interest me, in most cases it just means I’m not the target audience. Different stories have different things they care about and prioritise.

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I actually think that bullet point does some heavy lifting marketing wise. Food isn’t something that’s usually highlighted in these descriptions so it drew my attention. It’s last on the list amongst other more heavy bullet points (“discover the secrets of your past life”) so as a more light hearted element it intrigued me and made me wonder how it all meshes together. It also shows consideration of inclusivity.

I’m not super familiar with the game, but I’m not sure it’s fair to assume that that customisation is automatically going to be the equivalent of setting your eye colour in Chapter 1 and never mentioning it again. After all it’s a game about working in hospitality (albeit supernatural). It would make sense that food is a big part of things.

It’s not my “most hated element” particuarly but on the topic of customisation, I do sometimes find very granular MC appearance customisation difficult to visualise. If there are too many elements I can end up picturing my MC as a bit of a Picasso painting! It’s a balance I think about when writing and go back and forth on a lot.

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Yeah, definitely. I remember my days of hating writing character descriptions because I hadn’t learned how to give the broad strokes of how they looked and insisted on describing every single piece of clothing they wore.

Thankfully, I’ve gotten better at it - I can now explain that a character is of medium height with tan skin, dark hair and grey eyes, has a light scar on his cheek and several more all over his body, and his only fashion sense is varying degrees of military fatigues because he’s spent the better part of his adult life as a soldier of some stripe or another.

(And yes, this is an actual character of mine. His name is Stefan Orian, he’s a high-ranking officer in his homeland’s Imperial Guard, and he’s one of the edgiest characters I’ve made to date, parents-murdered-by-assassins included. He would’ve been a bartender after getting out of the army, but then the Imperial Guard wanted to recruit him, so he decided to go back to being a soldier because apparently he just can’t get enough of almost dying in combat, oh boy! (The actual reason is because he’s indebted to the imperial throne for safeguarding him from the assassins who killed his parents, and joining the Guard was his opportunity to pay back the protection he was afforded with interest, but him being a fightaholic is funnier.))

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Ok but the game is about food, isn’t it? I can see why a game about food would advertise that since most ones don’t account for these things.

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I wouldn’t know about that specific game, it didn’t interest me so I didn’t play it. My statement was an in-general sort of thing.

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I guess I thought of something else, I think this is mostly for other games though.

I dislike the player seeing/knowing something that the protagonist doesn’t, be it switching pov or a very obvious thing is about to happen but you can’t act on it.

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Interesting. I’m not a fan of that either. It makes me feel powerless, which is good if that’s intended I suppose. What is your opinion on the inverse-the protagonist aware of events that the player isn’t? Say, a tragic backstory revealed agonizingly slowly over the course of the story? Do you find that this creates a disconnect?

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Both points are tricky to work around, too.

For the former, you want to keep your reader informed, and let them know that the protagonist is not likewise informed, but it’s a balancing act to keep it interesting without the reader getting fed up that their meta knowledge can’t be transferred to the protagonist, so they just get to watch as the protagonist stumbles into a solution they’ve known from the start.

For the latter, while slowly revealing the big drama of a character’s backstory has been well-established as a good storytelling technique, there are times where I feel like what I know of a character immediately falls to shambles thanks to a sudden new (old?) development, and instead of seeing this familiar face with fresh eyes, I’ve looped all the way back around to looking at a complete stranger again.

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