On another thread discussing CoG design, I once again began thinking about some of the philosophical elements of both writing and playing Interactive Fiction, so I started this new thread rather than bumping up one that’s seven years old
For starters, I want to make it absolutely clear that I have nothing but respect for CoG and the brand that they have built over the past 10+ years. In no way, shape, or form am I suggesting that they should alter that winning brand formula even one iota.
When people see CoG or download a CoG game, they know what they are going to get, and this includes:
- no blind choices (where you have no idea what you’ll get when you select an option)
- a customized world that embraces diversity
- a safe space where hate, discrimination, and violence are either absent or well-advertised in advance for those who want to avoid it
- a story world where you’ll always get to a “successful” ending (defined as at least 75% completion of the narrative)
Fun, engaging, and the reason why we’re all here.
But while it’s called Choice of Games, a CoG story really isn’t a game, is it?
Yes, there are challenges to overcome such as achieving a specific goal (romancing a character/stealing a gem/etc) or arriving at a certain ending, but entertaining and enjoyable is not what makes something a game or not.
In my mind, CoG more like the “sandbox” version of a video game as compared to the “arcade” version. The sandbox version can be a whole lot of fun and a great way to pass the time, but there’s a reason why some people choose the arcade version.
To put it even more bluntly, if you can’t lose, it’s not really a game. And please, yes, I understand that some “successful endings” in a CoG game might include the death of the MC or superficially look like a “loss” of some kind, etc.
I’m using “lose” to mean that you don’t get to any ending at all, other than “game over - play again Y/N.”
My question to all of you, as big fans of traditional CoG “sandbox” story format, which again, I am not suggesting be changed at all, would you enjoy playing a ChoiceScript (text-only choice) game where you can lose?
Yes, it’d have to be done well, and of course, nobody wants blind choices (except for as satire, perhaps) or tedious mini-games with no purpose.
But would it be fun for you to play a game where it is truly hard to get to an ending? One that challenged you in a different way, to think long and hard before making a choice, precisely because you might “for realzies” lose?
Or, to use the positive affirmation, how excited would you be to win a CS game that was hard to beat?
For the third time, just to be super crystal clear, I am not calling on CoG or HG or anyone with a WIP to change their design or format.
I am inquiring as to whether an additional offering would be of interest to people who already enjoy the standard “sandbox” style story and would also like some “arcade” CS text choice games to play as well.