(Poll) What is the first thing you look for in a game or WIP?

Posted because I am on a train and bored. Before buying a game–or clicking on a WIP’s demo link–what is the FIRST thing you look for? (Put another way, what does a game or WIP MUST have for you to click or be interested? Or what is the first thing that turns you off?) And why?

  • What the game’s genre is
  • The romance options
  • If the summary is unique and engaging
  • If the writing/grammar/style seems solid
  • If the MC is as customizable as I want them to be
  • Something else (write below)

0 voters

As for me, I always check the quality of the writing first. I’ll usually read anything (in any genre, gender-locked or not, etc.) if the writing seems good to exceptional. In WIP threads, if I see typos in the summary or click on the demo to find writing errors, I usually won’t continue. In official CoG/HGs, I’ll gauge the writing from the splash page or the demo.

The second thing I look for is ROs. :sweat_smile: If you’ve got both, you’ve got me interested! What about everyone else? :slight_smile:


the Gender and Orientation . If a story won’t let me play as my gender and my orientation , I just pass them .

Also , I can pass a story (even if it give me the above) for others reasons like : Too scary :stuck_out_tongue: a setting I don’t like , if the story doesn’t attract me after playing the demo .


First I look if there is gender choice. Without, I usually don’t even look the rest, I see if there is something else.

Than I look at ROs and genre. I don’t stay to read usually if there aren’t guys to romance.


I will generally look for an interesting summary first… :thinking: although ROs (specifically likable gay or bi male ROs) are quite often a close second… :sweat_smile:


I clicked the “customizable” option, but I echo what a few have already noted: gender choice (or my own). I won’t even read a story’s description without first scanning for my gender or a choice. I am sure I miss many good stories, but as I understand IF, it’s supposed to be about me right? :star_struck:


Another vote for gender choice. Everything else I kind of assess simultaneously as I read the summary. Is it well written? Does it have romance? Do the characters sound interesting? And so on.

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Personally, I always see if the summary is engaging enough for me (it doesn’t even necessarily have to be unique). Writing/grammar/ROs can all be revised and altered if problems arise, but the plot being the very foundation for it all, it’s hard for me to get into a story with a bad synopsis. I do feel somewhat uncomfortable if the game is genderlocked to the opposite gender, but I would still buy and play it if it ticks the other boxes.


Fascinating–so it seems gender-locked WIPs/HGs are at an immediate disadvantage! :thinking: But if all CoGs are required to be gender-choice, then it seems that people look at summary/genre/ROs next?

Edit: Can’t fix it now but what I meant by “customizable MC” was gender-choice and sexuality/orientation! :slight_smile:


My four benchmarks are usually:

  1. Interesting Summary
  2. Writing style and grammar
  3. Gender Choice and Orientation
  4. Romance Options

I actually get put out very quickly if the writing doesn’t flow really well. If its a challenge to read then I quickly lose interest. Following that is probably good ROs, and I do like having a fair bit of MC customization, but if the writing and story are solid I also don’t mind MCs who are a bit more well-defined like in Samurai of Hyuga or Fallen Hero, as long as I get to pick the gender at least. I would say that genre is important but Slammed is one of my favorite games ever and I know nothing about Wrestling and never cared for it before so… I think a good story and characters can make any genre work, at least for me.


:face_with_monocle: “Ooh, this will interesting. Let’s see how my WIP page will fare, according to the poll.”

*clicks topic


Speaking of WIP, I usually read the synopsis or the premise first. I like unique stuff, so it’s lovely to be able to read an awesome piece, first.

And the next thing is the writing/grammar. Don’t mean to discourage ppl to start writing, but when I see some obvious errors, repeated throughout the demo, they’ll start to get on my nerves. Especially things like punctuations, your you’re yours, and wordy sentences.
Yes, you can improve by simply write down what you have in mind and take note of the error, but your early demo tells me the information that either you’re “there’s some typo. No big deal,” or “you need to learn grammar first.”

Or maybe it’s just me ranting.
Yeh, move along. :raised_hand_with_fingers_splayed:t4:

And then, this isn’t really what I’m looking for when reading a WIP, but it’s that thing “once you see it, it can’t be unseen.” It’s about how the character creation went in the story (if any), and how the stats are presented.

I loathe when you’re asked “What is your name?” by the narrator, and something similar. They feel robotic, yet trying to be looking human (unless the narrator has an active voice, commenting and snarking you here and there). I’d rather have a “write down your name” instead if the story can’t come up with a natural character creation section.


I mean, they are text games. If the writing is not up to par, which can usually be ascertained within a few pages, then what’s the point of continuing? So yes I voted for writing/grammar.

That being said, something can be well written but still dull, confusing, or otherwise not engaging, so “engaging premise” is right there behind writing.


things i look for is in rough order
1: Words
2: Choices
3: Good story
4: choices that actually affect story
5: Well written Ro’s
6: Passable grammar
a distant 7: Lack of ideology and beliefs being forced upon me the player

Sorry, can I ask what you mean by “words”? Do you mean how the story is written, vocab, style, tone? Since grammar is 6 for you, I was just wondering! :grin:

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the first two were half jokes half serios.
for the joke part
A choice game without words isn’t a game same with choices.

for the serious part
i prefer my games to be somewhat long (longer the better)
and i like choices. I really love them while game effecting choices are good small choices that effect the little things are better as they add life to a game

Edit: its always good to ask for clarification when your not sure no sorry needed.

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Genre. There are a lot of things I look at. I certainly won’t buy a game if I don’t like the characters. I will not finish a demo if the prose style doesn’t grab me. I will probably become disenchanted if I feel like there aren’t enough good female characters (although I find that to be more a problem with prose novels than here on COG).

But as for actually clicking the thing in the first place? Genre. I mean, jeeze! These things are like 500K a piece. I have limited time and money and these days, I really only want to read things that are really my thing. And the fastest way to weed things out is by genre. I almost never enjoy horror. I have limited patience for superheroes. I like some historical stuff, but on the whole, historically inspired secondary world fantasy is my happy place.

Customizable gender is important to me, but I have never really been the “self-insert” type anyway. As for romance… I’m probably the only one who would literally play a game with zero romance in it, so long as the story and characters were engaging. Might even prefer it. Not exactly holding my breath tho, I’m extremely picky on other fronts.

  1. Plot. Basically the genre and the summary.
  2. Characters. The first ones I meet in the game, not the RO list.
  3. Sufficiently meaningful and in character (to myself) choices.

Gender-locks are not a problem for me.
Sexuality choice only matters if there is romance.

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I have to second that.

The best way to know how much I’m going to like something is by being aware of what kind of game it is. For me, If it’s Steampunk or Superhero than I’m probably not going to have my heart into it and I’m going to pass. It doesn’t make them bad genres, but I know personally I won’t really like it all that much so I just don’t play it.

Personally, it just makes more sense to me to be aware of what KIND of game I’m playing before thinking about what I want to complain about.

AFTER, I know it’s something I will actually be interested in, then all that other stuff follows.

Except summary isn’t something I give lots of consideration to because all COG and Hosted games basically emphasize the same selling points anyway to the point in my head I think “Oh my god, I don’t care.” whenever I see the words "Play male,female, gay, straight,…

Before everyone jumps down my throat about that, I would like to point that the only reason I think that is because I already EXPECT it to be an option and see no point in including it when they could tell me about the game more or what sets it apart from others ones.


Generally, I think the first thing I look at is the game’s rating on the app store. Basically, if a game has a high rating, I assume that it’s going to be very well written, which means I will probably enjoy it regardless of genre.

(Of course, ratings can be very deceiving, particularly when it comes to Play to Win games with a free demo, where the comments section is always flooded with 1 star reviews complaining that the game isn’t free.) :yum:

I’m surprised genre is ranking so low on most people’s lists.
While the first thing I’ll look at is the plot summary, followed closely by if the grammar is half decent (doesn’t have to be perfect by any means, but I can’t get through ones with several spelling mistakes in every paragraph) and in a style I find enjoyable to read. (I’m guessing I’m in a minority with that, I just find some author’s writing styles far more interesting than others. It’s not that some are better written than others, it’s just the author’s personal writing style).

But I’ll also look at the genre when checking out the plot summary, so it’s probably second on my list. While I’m generally pretty open to be convinced a choice game is worth reading, there’s a few things that just have zero interest for me. They can be fantastically written with 5* reviews, but if they’re about a sport I have no interest in (like baseball or wrestling) or the old west, chances are I’ll probably never read them.

The other one that’s there is probably price. If it’s something I really want to read I’ll get it sooner or later, but if I’m not sure if I’ll like it or not, I’m more likely to buy a short cheap game, than a long more expensive one.

Highly customisable MC’s and RO’s would be after all of the above. If the game looks interesting but doesn’t have these, I’ll still consider reading it.

@rinari- there was a whole thread about this somewhere not that long ago (few months ago?) that came to that conclusion.

No there’s a few (probably not many but a few) people myself included who will happily play game that doesn’t contain RO’s due to a storyline that I think makes it play better that way.