Rent-a-Vice — What doesn’t kill you…kills someone else

choice-of-games
adult-fiction
nonbinary-inclusive
gender-choice
science-fiction

#1

We’re proud to announce that Rent-a-Vice, the latest in our popular “Choice of Games” line of multiple-choice interactive-fiction games, is now available for Steam, iOS, and Android. It’s 25% off until May 31st!

What doesn’t kill you…kills someone else, and leads you down an ethical rabbit hole. In the near future, paying users can rent the “virtual experiences” of other people. These “feeders” sublet their own bodies, at the risk of their own lives, so that customers can safely enjoy extreme, potentially self-destructive vices, like binge eating, cliff diving, or worse.

Rent-a-Vice is a 150,000-word interactive cyberpunk-noir mystery novel by Natalia Theodoridou, where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

You’re a private investigator with a bad habit, an ex, and mountains of debt–troubles so deep that you stand to lose custody of your kid. When a mysterious client asks for your help finding their missing lover in the seamy world of virtual experience, it’s up to you to gather evidence, experience the technology for yourself, and solve the case.

Delve into the darkest corners of the clandestine Rent-a-Vice industry. If you believe the etho-politicians, VE compromises the well-being of society, and normalizes vice and disorder. But what are users after? Is it entertainment, or something deeper? And is there anything in it for the feeders, other than profit?

As for you, will you resist your own vices, or go all in?

• Play as male, female, or non-binary; gay, straight, or bisexual.
• Fight or embrace your personal demons, struggle against the machinery of power, and find friendship in unlikely places.
• Save those in trouble or extort them for your silence, or go rogue and burn the entire industry to the ground.
• Expose corruption or exploit it for your gain.
• Test your skills as a PI while you share other people’s experiences of life and death.
• Trade favors to retain custody of your child; reunite with your ex, or find romance with someone new.
• Become a champion for the marginalized, usher in a new ethical standard, or step on corpses to climb to the top.

We hope you enjoy playing Rent-a-Vice. We encourage you to tell your friends about it, and recommend the game on StumbleUpon, Facebook, Twitter, and other sites. Don’t forget: our initial download rate determines our ranking on the App Store. The more times you download in the first week, the better our games will rank.


Is Rent-a-Vice worth it?
#2

This game hit waaaay too close to home and I love that. The author managed to describe exactly how that dark pit felt in a way even I didn’t know how to. So yes, fantastic game I’m buying for my best buddies even.


#3

Great its finally released, I really cant wait to get that paycheck and buy this game.


#4

What DOESN’T kill you, KILLS someone else. Marvelous!


#5

The game sounds very interesting! I haven’t played it yet, but I certainly will. However, I read the description and something bothers me. Is there any reason why we must have an ex and a child? Why couldn’t the game be played without them? Why not give the player the option to choose whether they want to have a child or an ex? As it is, this makes it impossible for us to play as asexual and/or aromantic.


#8

I’d say it’s central to the story. It helps calibrate the player’s moral compass, as it gives them a major life goal to strive for (or not) and ‘anchors’ the plot in a way that allows the player to decide their values, and I think the game revolves quite heavily around the concept of values and choices.

You can play as aromantic or asexual character and having an ex and a child could still work logically. If your character is aromantic and asexual, maybe think of it like some very bad choices you made for the hell of it when you were young, dumb, and reckless?


#9

I… Didn’t like this game. It felt like I wasn’t making my own character but more using a template with some options. I checked the code for a bit and the moral stats didn’t seem to have a big impact.

The characters are… Weird. I felt as if everyone was black or grayish, or at least meant to be grayish. I was playing a anti-VR dude yet the game guilt tripped into choosing to side with the activists by making the anti-VR a corrupt politician. Moreover, after a quick check, I don’t really feel like the relationships matter beside the RO’s for the endings.

The story itself is very Anvilicious about its themes. But it’s clearly advertised as such. Is this good or bad? Your choice.

The game, unlike Hero Rise, does not condemn you for your choices (rather impressive considering my previous point). It does however, indirectly punish neutrality. By making Mike die if you cared about your family or giving one of the worst endings if you didn’t pick a side.

Small complain about the endings: as far as I checked, there’s no way to denounce Eugenie AND pass the law. If there isn’t, that’s just a false dichotomy created to hammer the “there is no winning” in the player’s head.

VERDICT: 8/20
BONUS: +2 for the neutrality with which the story is handled. No judgement on the player’s actions or punishment.

FINAL 10/20


#10

That seems right to me. In particular, whether you’re going to make it your goal to fight for custody or reunite with your ex.

Someone below argued that it wasn’t a game in which you get to “make your own character,” but I actually appreciated that about it. It is more of a… you’re this person, in this world, and in this situation, how are you going to react and deal. I think there are excellent parallels in science fiction/speculative/noir fiction, and the game is doing something quite different and interesting with the form. Also, for me, knockout writing and prose.


#11

well I’m loving the game so far, very well written and it has an intriguing concept.

One major gripe though…when it asks for your poison there are two options for coffee, then you come to tea and the only option is to put milk in first…what sort of barbarism is this? :stuck_out_tongue:


#12

This game is great but I’m so frustrated right now. Anyone knows how reunite withe the ex ? I did pretty much everything I could, the game said we had a very god relationship but I still ended up alone.


#13

Did you pay child support? Also have a high Parent stat.


#14

I couldn’t finish the game. I don’t think I ever can. The story just hits so close to home on the tragedy of addiction and self-harm. The whole feeder and user connection is brutal. On the one hand the idea of using VE as a way to learn from others is interesting if used positively. But from what I have read in game it shows how easily people will do it to harm themselves and others for whatever dark pit is inside they are trying to fill up. Both feeder and user are abusers and abused.
I think the author hits on an interesting concept but I thought it was too painful to finish reading.
Maybe it has to be for the story to make it’s point.


#15

I think it is a very good game/story base on futuristic neo-noir genre, it has an intriguing futuristic background similar to that of Blade Runner … where the protagonist had been given a taste on how it feels like to live in such world and environment …

We got to make different and difficult decision …but the good thing about it is that there can be a happy ending , unlike Blade Runner 2049 … the epilogue actually make me feel great and hopeful for a better future with my love interest staying with me .

Although i hope the story could be longer with deeper interaction with our love interests… the love interests of the story have such unique and interesting background , it can only be fair if we have a chance to interact more with them :slight_smile:


#16

Well, I bought the game and played through it once. Not so sure I’ll be taking a second dive anytime soon. I got through it, got an acceptable ending, and I kinda have no desire to do my path differently.

Pros:

  • I actually liked that there was the whole family aspect. It gave me a good foundation for building my character.
  • I liked that they gave alotta customization options when it came to the names (ex. spouse, child, childs nickname)
  • I thought the world itself was interesting, and that the whole prospect of VE was a good setting leaping off point.

Cons:

  • It felt pretty short. Usually when I get a COG or a HG, I’m playing it for the whole day until I finish it once. This one took like…40 minutes? And that was after 3 restarts because I didn’t understand a stat based decision and chose the wrong thing.
  • I didn’t like how there were basically 3 branches to side with: Pro VE, Anti-VE (but not really, just anti so corruption could happen), or neutral which is basically you do everything wrong and apparently get the worst ending.
  • There was no choice to be like, “Yes. I think this VE stuff is wrong and dangerous. Addiction is dangerous. This is being used for bad things and people die.” without siding with the corrupt politician.
    The Pro VE side is clearly painted at the ‘good’ side, and there’s nothing you can really do about it.
  • You gave the character some preloaded backstory, but then never let us really find any of it out. What did the MC do that ended up with kids at school going so far as to breaking their child’s arm? Why do we go from “People at your child’s school think his mom is CRAZY” to a few pages later “Give this speech, people listen to what you have to say. You’re a voice of the people!”

#17

Mom: “get ure homework done!!!”
Me: “im reading!!!
This was my life before. Thank u freedom


#18

Couldn’t agree more. This game is too short to explain everything.


#19

I agree that it is definitely too short. It’s that frustrating mix of not enough info while also giving too much. I liked it but it could be so much more.


#20

I have played the game twice so far, got a (somewhat) happy ending the first time and possibly the worst ending the second time.

Here are a few things I liked about it:

  • The world was interesting. Very cyberpunk-ish and easy to get immersed in.
  • There were consequences for almost every choice. For every decision I took, even if it seemed or felt like the right thing to do, there were some negative repercussions. It does well in establishing a sense of realism.
  • The plot, and how it was presented. There was no clear ‘good’ or ‘bad’ sides, everything was equally good and bad; which, again, is a good mirroring of the real world (for the most part).

What I didn’t like about this game:

  • The whole thing felt extremely rushed. A lot of things happen in the story, and it seems like they all happen within a few days.
  • I would have liked some more character interactions. Even though that wasn’t the point of this game, a little more backstory would have been great. Why did I start drinking? Why did I become what I did that my wife had to leave me? There were very few interactions with the characters and the only person that could be considered the ‘antagonist’. I didn’t really get the chance to feel a certain way towards any character. I also didn’t really feel connected to the MC, and with everything the game implies, the past certainly played a huge part in our lives which I never got to know.
  • Continuing the point above, a lot of things were just there, just to be done without any justification as to why. Our ex for example, we don’t get any sense of how they really feel about us. If I’m nice to her, she eventually moves back in with me, if I’m an a-hole, she acts every bit of it as well. Did she hate me and I changed her heart? Did she always love me and I drove her away? Or did she want exactly that all the way? I’ll never know. Should I really care for her? If so, why? is what I found myself asking again and again, however, if I don’t, the endings get worse.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend it to someone who hasn’t played it, but I personally am not looking forward to too many replays. Even though the endings are varied, everything just happens too fast for my taste, without a real sense of how or why. The world and the concept, was very unique indeed and it does well to make the player question their choices and moral leanings.


#21

But I think we can agree that the game wasn’t made with the option to play as asexual and aromantic in mind. After all, the description of the game doesn’t even include the option to play as asexual. Sure, maybe in your head canon you can make being asexual and aromantic somehow work, but I don’t think that’s something the author of the game thought of.

However, I agree that it may add something to the story. Still, I don’t think that forcing something on a player is particularly a good idea. As I said, I didn’t completely play the game yet, and I’m not sure if I will, but I looked a bit at the demo. (Please correct me if I’m wrong:D) It seems that we are involved in the child’s life and we are not give much choice here either in the beginning. We can choose how we feel about our ex, so that’s good. Do we have the option in later parts of the game to reflect on what we did and regret having a child/being in a relationship? Can we completely give up our parental rights?


#22

Is there actually a way to end up back with your ex? I chose the options to try and be friendly with her and at the end, chose to try and mend things with her but got the ending where I’m alone, unemployed and basically wasting my life away.