Polls about COG, HG, and IF games (More Polls #16)

I should clarify that “OTT to me” was not intended as a slight on (the many, obviously) completionist players who enjoy delving down every rabbit hole in a gameworld to understand it better, maximize enjoyment, etc. Apologies to anyone who felt slighted or shut down! Neither poll option reflects my preferences, which was the thought behind my comment.

I do plenty of things that others would describe as OTT, as XoR bears witness. I’m unoffended by anyone who describes it in those terms, which leads me perhaps to be too blase in using that language.

And I just found the Dark B quests to be tediously grim, and thus unfun. YMMV, of course.

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This is a topic that’s been on my mind for a considerable time now. There are some discussions that almost breach it, but none of them really address what I consider the spirit of the matter. So: how important is character depth and character development to you in interactive fiction?

The title might seem like I’m demanding more character depth because of a perceived lack, but no, I’m referring to supply and demand. Specifically, is there a demand for games that heavily emphasise character depth/development/interaction in ChoiceScript games? I know inclusive romance options are essentially the major attractant for players (if I’m mistaken, please, do correct me!), but is their presence nevertheless secondary to the plot of the game? I’d love to get to spend more time with them in games, but what’s more important is how many of you share that view.

I would love to hear everyone’s input on this! I’ll mostly be listening, since my goal here is to learn from the discussion rather than to participate in it myself. Here’s a poll for posterity!


On a scale of one to five, how much would you like to see more games that emphasise character interaction and development?

  • 5 — I’d love to see more games like this!
  • 4 — I’d like to see more games like this!
  • 3 — It would be good to see more games like this, but I’m impartial myself.
  • 2 — I don’t particularly care whether I see more games like this.
  • 1 — I’m not interested in seeing more games like this.

0 voters


PS: I realised it might be useful to have some sort of control poll to gauge interest in character depth/development/interaction vs plot, so here’s a poll for that too! (Feel free to make suggestions below if you think the options are too limiting. I used a rating system again purely for uniformity.) Just note that the poll assumes good writing for all aspects of the story.


On a scale of one to five, how much more important do you consider characterisation than the plot of a game?

  • 5 — Characterisation is more important than plot.
  • 4 — Characterisation and plot are equally important, but I personally enjoy the characterisation more.
  • 3 — Characterisation and plot are equally important.
  • 2 — Characterisation and plot are equally important, but I personally enjoy the plot more.
  • 1 — Plot is more important than characterisation.

0 voters

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Is anyone really going to vote that they don’t want character development?

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The problem with that question is that you shouldn’t be able to separate plot and characterisation. The plot helps reveal character - what do these people do when faced with X circumstance - and characters cause and drive the plot. How would you even have one without the other?

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I take it you mean the question of the second poll? I believe you’re confusing the actual purpose of the question with a personal view you hold. While I agree that characters should ideally help drive the plot and that the plot should ideally develop the characters, neither of these are necessary. The two aspects aren’t as integrated as you’re suggesting, since they are, after all, distinct components of writing.

I don’t want to spend too much time going into this, but it’s very easy to separate characters and plot in most stories. Choice of Dragons is beloved, yet the COG staff itself admits characterisation didn’t play a significant role. There you go! There’s your answer: the characters aren’t as important in terms of individuals with identity as they are in terms of devices for advancing the plot. Psy High, another beloved game, have characters that are greatly affected by the plot, but the interaction with them is honestly minimal, and they don’t contribute much to advancing it either, as it’s the player alone who determines the outcome.

The purpose of my comment and the two polls isn’t to ask whether people like well-developed characters or whether plot and characterisation is important. The answers to these respective questions would be “everyone does” and “it depends”, neither of which are helpful; that’s because the answers are rather obvious. No, what I asked is whether people want to see more games that emphasise characterisation — that is to say, the plot isn’t as important in terms of providing a thrilling narrative as it is in terms of developing the characters.

I hope this helps to clarify things.

PS: This post was originally a topic that was then merged into this one, so if my post seems confusing with me referring to a “title” and such, that would be why.

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