First things first…I am acutely terrible at coming up with titles for my stories and games, so this title is subject to, and most likely will, change.
Now that that’s out of the way…I just wanted to say hi to everybody. I’ve played most every game on the choice of games website, and I love them. I also love visual novels, but since my drawing skills would probably (most definitely) detract from what I am trying to create, I stick to creating pictures with text.
Perils (I need to come up with an actual, exciting name) is set in my own custom world from which an eventual novel will come, and I have great ambitions for it. I do have a bit of the intro coded and its playable, but so short that I’m not sure its worth it yet to put it up for people to have a look at. I decided to make a discussion thread for the game here and garner some input from the lovely folks on the forum who are more experienced than I. And outside opinions (besides my husband, who is most likely certainly biased) are always welcome.
The game begins with the protagonist returning home in shame after being ignobly ousted from their chosen profession by circumstances out of their control, becoming embroiled in the troubles of your home town, finding unexpected romance along the way, and dodging the consequences of your unfortunate recent past. It is a high fantasy setting of my own design, though I am not sure how much texture of the world I’ll be able to throw in without blinding people with giant walls of text.
I don’t want to share too many details of the plot…I’d rather get the intro done and throw it up for everybody to try out and see what they think. That said, I did come here with a couple of questions.
Second person, that is, ‘you,’ is definitely not my favorite way to write. I’ve read other threads on the forums here speaking of immersion and I would probably tentatively agree that ‘you’ seems the best way to draw the reader in and have them feel like they are the star of the story and developing their own character. But since you are ‘you’ and not a specific character, I’ve been struggling with the thought that the more I try to leave it open, the less interesting it becomes. If I can assume nothing at all about the protagonist, it makes interactions with other characters seem less meaningful, or maybe even boring.
In other words, is there a way to have a happy medium? I think that writing with second person is something I can deal with, but one thing I was considering doing is making a more restrictive main character.
I guess I need to use an example to explain what the heck I’m talking about. Lets use Commander Shepherd in the Mass Effect series.
You had the opportunity to choose Shepherd’s gender, their background, and service history, and through choices in the game, the ‘renegade’ or ‘paragon’ choices to shape their character. My Commander Shepherd as I played it might not be the same as your Commander Shepherd, because of the choices I made, but that character is still not ‘you.’ The fact that they voiced the character definitely added to this division. In Dragon Age: Origins (yes I’m a bioware nut) your main character was much more open ended…there were a lot more options to develop them. There was no strict main character in that game, unlike the second one, where you were most definitely Hawke, no matter how you modified that character.
So here is my question. Which do you think is better for a choose your own adventure game?
Would you be turned off if a writer restricted your character, instead preferring to completely imagine your own, or placing what you consider to be yourself in the role? The lack of choices in the former might make for a more compelling narrative…but that could be the novel/fiction writer in me trying to force it. Am I better off going against this feeling and going with the latter?