For me it depends on whether the age impacts the story. If the age matters then I’d prefer to choose it, but if its not going to come up then I’d prefer it being vague. But honestly I don’t have a super strong opinion on the matter. I just thought I’d explain my vote.
What does “older” mean in this context? I’m starting to wonder that if someone celebrating their 30th birthday is considered “old” then maybe I’ve already aged out of any CYOS demographic.
This doesn’t have to be the MC’s age but, personally, I’d like to see more Judy Dench and Maggie Smith-aged characters in stories. Specifically, late middle-aged (60+) and elderly women (70+) generally being badass like their male counterparts typically get to be. I think movies are getting better with this but these kinds of characters are mostly missing from video games and interactive media. That I’ve noticed, anyway.
I noticed MTG being mentioned in this thread which reminded me of one of my favorite characters. I love her because she presents as a kick-ass elderly woman:
When I was playing around with ChoiceScript story ideas a couple years ago, if I was going to introduce romance, my plan was to have the RO’s age range be selectable upon meeting (20’s–60’s), much like being able to select gender upon meeting.
My middle-aged MCs would not be interested in romancing ROs in their 20’s but probably would be open to romancing an RO in their 60’s. Conversely, some players may appreciate the opposite, being able to romance characters who are younger than their MC rather than older. As long as every romanceable character is a consenting adult it could be fun and interesting to play around with age ranges in this way.
Well, “older” is the comparative form of “old”. Notably, it is not the same word, because “older” derives meaning from context. If I wanted to imply that 30 (an age younger than myself) is old, I would have used the word “old”. But I didn’t. I used the comparative word. What’s more, I posted an entire second poll specifically to address the question of “what counts as older”. But if you’re determined to put words in my mouth, there’s nothing I can do about that.
The problem with this is just that it is an absolutely ridiculous amount of extra work. Accounting for that much extra life experience basically means they basically become multiple characters with all the workload that entails. And it’s not just behaviors and experiences, it’s things like assets acquired and relationships made and progression in their career and all sorts of things. Trying to do a 20/40/60 year old versions of the RO basically turns each RO into three different ROs. And if you don’t do that, then, well, what’s the point? There’s no way to one-size-fits-all that kind of age discrepancy and have it work out well, imo.
It just seems incredibly impractical to me. I’m sure it could be done well, but I’m equally sure that the wordcount would be absolutely ruinous.
I wonder how people would feel about a game with only one or two ROs - but they’re age-variable - instead of the more typical four or five.
This is true, though it is up for the writer to determine if the extra effort is worth it there are some authors on here who manage long and complex very well.
Of course it is easier to have older mc’s in some settings than others I headcanon my People’s House mc to be 53 at the time of inauguration a fairly unspectacular age for a US president.
For the “A specific in between approach, please comment” thing;
The draw of an IF (or any choice game) for me, is always the story, and horror and mystery being my favorite genres (and the lack of IFs that I actually enjoy within that) I’m always slightly disappointed when I find a choice game that’s just a simple “whodunnit” easy cleanup test-your-brain sorta thing.
THAT BEING SAID… I do really love puzzles and clues and finding things that would allow the reader to solve the mystery by themselves. I always like the story to be prioritized, but for the feel of a mystery, I do think there needs to be leads and clues. A lot of IFs i’ve seen advertised as “detective” games, are usually just. Supernatural and/or spy games, with no actual compelling detective work, or mysteries that are interesting. One of the biggest draws of mystery stories are, well… the mystery. And I don’t enjoy a mystery with an ending I couldn’t have seen coming and/or that doesn’t leave me going “Dang! I can’t believe I didn’t think of that!”
Basically, I prefer it when the story is prioritized and the puzzles are used to further the story, to build tension for the final reveal(s), but when it works with the medium, puzzles for the player to solve are always very very fun (I enjoy The Professor Layton games a lot, as crazy as the plot twists are.)
I’m surprised at the lack of people like me that enjoy randomizing the genders . I always get a little stressed when the only other option for varied genders is picking them as you go, because no matter what I choose it feels like the “wrong” choice. Most of my characters aren’t exclusively gay or straight, and I don’t self insert, so the biggest draw of an RO is the character themself + how interesting their dynamic would be with my MC, and not any other factors.
It’s just weird in my mind to be picking the gender of other characters, not to mention immersion-breaking. Kind of like you said, the biggest draw for any character (RO or not) is how they interact with the MC and what they’re like as a character. I feel like that’s strongest when the story’s characters are the author’s alone, and not chosen in any way by the player.
The mature content poll results warm my heart. Good job, forumites.
I apologize. I was not trying to put words in your mouth I was just trying to ask a question but it does seem to me that most MC’s I’ve run into are in their 20’s. So it makes me wonder if modern-day CYOS/A are something I’ve aged out of and should maybe redirect my attention elsewhere if 20-29 is the main demographic for most of these stories. Because that’s not the demographic I belong to anymore, either.
The poll which I based my question on says that most people feel that 30+ is considered “older”. So can we conclude that most people feel that 20-29 are the perfect ages to go on adventures but once someone hits 30 they are now older and less capable (or less interesting of a character?) of going on similar adventures? That’s why I was asking what “older” means. Is it a negative, a positive, a neutral? Is an “older” character someone people do want to read about or don’t want to read about?
Questions like these lead me to believe the demographic for most of these stories is a demographic I’ve aged out of. And that’s fine, I think it’s great that 20-year-olds get to have all these grand adventures in fiction because it’s certainly harder for them to do that in real life. Most interactive fiction stories I can head cannon my MC’s into their 30’s or older unless their age or situation, or the characters surrounding them are very specific.
I dunno about you, but my late 30’s knees are, in fact, way less capable of adventuring than my 20-something year old ones were.
That aside, I think a lot of the preference for younger MCs just comes down to history. The younger the MC is the less of it they have and the easier it is to write it, or more importantly, the easier it is to not write it.
You get an MC up in the 50+ year range and you’d expect them to have a lifetime’s worth of things. Friends and acquaintances and possessions and resources and experience. Probably expect them to have some kind of career advancement. They’ve got significant history and unless you want to write a fixed character, you’ve probably got to allow for some flexibility in that history. And if they don’t have any of that? You’ve got to account for why they don’t. That’s a lot of work that you can easily avoid with a younger MC.
It seems to me that you’re the one projecting the idea that “older” means “less capable of going on adventures.” I’d assume it has to do with what readers of a certain age feel they can relate to in terms of life experience, what sort of age-specific experiences people want to read about. You’re on an adventure that requires you to meet someone in a bar: are you more worried that you’ll be caught with a fake ID, that if you’re up late drinking you won’t be in top shape in the meeting with your boss tomorrow morning, or that perching on one of those little barstools will be agony on your bad back? What is an “adventure,” anyway? Does Social Services of the Doomed, which takes place mostly in an office building and includes a “Paperwork” stat as well as one measuring your approval rating among snake people, count as an adventure? Does Miss Marple go on adventures? Does it matter that Indiana Jones was in his mid-30s in Raiders of the Lost Ark? Some adventures, like spending a year backpacking in Europe, probably aren’t particularly accessible to older adults past their physical prime and with serious responsibilities. Some adventures, like groundbreaking archaeological or scientific field research, might not even be accessible until you’ve reached a level of education and accomplishment that’s seldom attained by anyone under 30. Who’s to say that “older” is even a bad thing? The poll certainly doesn’t. It doesn’t ask “how old is too old” or anything like that, and one of the options is “I won’t be satisfied until I can play a character over 60.” My assumption would be that the poll creator had in mind readers who want to play “older” characters, in order to figure out what that means to them.
ahh if it was only a choice between 1 or 2… I’d choose 2 as long as there was a “no romance” option/path. if not i’d just pass on the game completely
People in their 20’s already have most fiction/tv/movies/ etc about them. It’s 2023…ppl are living well into their 90’s now…it used to be crazy when folks made it to 100 years old, but now its not totally uncommon. It’s sad that it seems the media thinks we only appreciate the 1st quarter of our lives. Our lives don’t end at 30, guys! Infact, it only gets MORE interesting when you finally know who you are/what you want. It saddens me that society forces the “younger = better/more fun!” narrative, as it’s simply not true. Older characters (aka older than 20s because 30s/40s are NOT old, guys! I wouldnt even consider 50s old. That’s still mid life!) are more complex. Maybe folks are just too lazy to dive into that? I don’t know, but it is sad to me.
*This isn’t directed at anyone, just my personal opinion/frustration. If you aren’t old enough to empathize, that’s ok. You will be. (If you have the privilege of growing older, and I hope that you do I think sometimes people forget that growing older is a privilege not everyone gets). I look back on my 20s fondly, knowing I NEVER have to go back.
The fact is when someone is between their 20s and their 30s, is both mature enough to be responsible and young enough to be daring. So if you want a story where your protagonist builds his/her own life, that’s the best period, because past the mid 30s a person usually seek more stability than adventures and at that age is harder change your views about life and world, I’m not saying they can’t, it’s just harder.
In conclusion: what you said about age it’s true, however the age between 20 and 30 is simply more versatile than the one between 30 and 40
I choose the ‘older = 30+’ option.
Not because I think 30 is old, or think MCs should be young, but because most MCs I see in games are below 30, so when I see the topic ‘older MCs’ being discussed, I think of that as ‘30 or older’.
And that’s what I thought the poll was about.
Not ‘30 is too old’ or ‘thirties is the oldest age group I will play as’ or any such thing.
I disagree. I don’t think I’ve known many responsible ppl in their 20s. I also don’t think I was more adventurous then, than I am now.
In conclusion, you’re entitled to your opinion. But it doesn’t make it fact. (And neither does mine) cheers.
Ok, I phrased it wrong. I wasn’t pretending it was a proved scientific fact, more a general observation