The little things you'd like to see in more games

I was thinking through the CoG/HG games I’ve played and the ones I really liked recently, trying to pick out what seemed to me (in my limited experience) unique or less common elements that I had really enjoyed and would like to see more of.

For example, in Heart of the House, I really liked how the stats page described each of my relationships as short, changing paragraphs rather than a percentage bar. It helped me understand the relationship dynamics better and I loved seeing how the text changed as I grew closer to and more distant from different characters.

What are yours? What are some of the ‘little things’ a game has done that you really liked? What made you like them?

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As silly as this sounds. I like it when the games that let you choose your appearance actually matter and like the characters comment on it or something. And I like that little relationship description in the stats page too.

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I like how Tin Star describes all your stats like that. 30% Sharpshooting means ‘barns are safe from your bullets’, etc

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I really like “word description” for the stats. That´s one of the reasons why I like Apex Patrol and Tin Star so much ad as much as I hate Heart of the House it is cool that they brought this thing into the official games too.

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Speaking of Tin Star, I like how being good at certain stats don’t really limit you too much but rather just make certain things easier

And when you fail a stat check, unless it was an obviously absurd choice then you only get injured rather than dying and starting over somewhere prior( hell, sometimes I deliberately make ridiculous choices just to see what the author had in mind)

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I like it when choices do matter in a game. Choices that reveal more than just the scenes the game as you progress grows but rather unveils the variety of personalities of characters simply because of the options we choose. It makes the game feel more of an adventure you really get to experience.

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Like others have mentioned, the word descriptions for character relationships and skills instead of stat bars

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To be fair, for some people who are obsessed with min-max-ing their stats (eg. me), stats bars and/or numbers are just much more comprehensive albeit less immersive

And it requires less effort on the authors’ part, so win-win

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I really like call backs to appearance as well. It makes me feel closer to the character I’m playing.

Another thing, unrelated, that I like is when a game includes a polyship. I especially liked how Tally Ho! handled its.

I know all of these things take extra time, but I really appreciate how they enrich my reading experience.

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I wish our options weren’t so stereotypical or cliche. For example, in high-fantasy settings, there is always a handful of choices related to magic, sneaking, fighting or using your bow. If the plot is about a war or happens to have a few fighting scenes, you know a portion of the story will be dedicated to what fighting style you lean towards. I find that boring and somewhat lazy, specially when it happens in almost every game of genre.

A solution to this would be to pick whatever style we want from the begining and build the rest of the game upon it - don’t ask me what I want to use (magic/sword/bow), ask me what section of the battlefield I want to be on as well as what role and then use my preferences to do the rest - those are more pretinent IMO. If I ain’t a thief then blank out the options related to that class, if I ain’t a ranger then I can’t use nature-related skills, etc.

This could be off-set with hybrids classes, wich allow you to use both abilities but at a higher cost or with weaker results. I find that this also promotes more replayability.


Another thing, as people have previously mentioned, is a more detailed character creation. Being able to choose how our character looks provides a tremendous help in bonding with them. I know IF is mostly about using our imagination and that some choices are too complicated to be implemented, plus you can’t please everyone, but nobody is going to complain if you throw us a bone.

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That’s an interesting idea! It is nice when choices aren’t predictable.

Is there a game you like that is doing something like what you hope to see?

Definitely. For example, I liked how, in Heart of the House, I was able to choose which outfit my character wore the first day at the inn and then the innkeeper reacted to it.

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@liszante
Hmm… I can’t think of any from the top of my head.

The con of using “unpredictable” choices is that it would be a pain in the butt for those who like to min-max their statuses. It could also lead to situations where you get screwed over due to your (potentially inconstant) choices not amounting to X value, which is necessary to pass a status check for example. You could circuvent that by making so even in failure there’s always something interesting going on.

I believe choices that aren’t always obvious make for better RP experiences, but you could also do that by hidding/not viewing your stats on your first run. It sucks when I’m faced with a bunch of cliche choices because then my brain goes like: “Ok, if I’m going with this stereotype then I better make similar choices, else I’m going to fail my status checks later on.” When I just want to RP. It’s hard to resist. And some games do punish failure.

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I just looked into Tin Star again after not playing it for years and one thing that wasnt mentioned yet was that you can get scars in parts of the game. Right now I only have a unusual bullet scar, but I think that there are different things like that too, right?

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I like it when you can save at certain checkpoints in the game. Like in Mecha Ace before every interlude.

Not only that, but there’s a button to ‘return to your last checkpoint’ right there in the Stats page in case you feel like you’ve messed something up, and it’s not just something that pushes you back there if you die.

I don’t know if anyone else likes these, but if you’re anything like me, after you first read a story, you’ll want to go back right away to min-max stats and try new things, and checkpoints certainly make it easier to do that, especially when the story is a long one.

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What I want to see in all stories really: know when to be silly, when to be stone faced, when to be emotional, and stuff like that.

If you want something more specific I would like to see big monstrous goofs.

Make stat impacts of our choices more obvious? You can keep the story consequences secret all you want but having my intended character derailed by a choice that turned out not to be what it sounded like is kind of annoying.

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I had been pondering doing my relationship stats as short sentences rather than numbers for a few months; thanks in part to this thread I have gone ahead and implemented those in my WIP, Nuclear Powered Toaster. Good to get an idea that I wasn’t the only one who thought this was a fun feature. Relationships are a hard thing to quantify anyhow.

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I like seeing seemingly insignificant choices matter in late-game scenarios or be referred to after a long time, when even I have almost forgotten that I’ve made that choice. For example, Choice of Robots refers to your choice of training location for your robot in the ending chapters. Little callbacks like that help feel like your choices matter, especially if the choices don’t adjust anything visible on the stats screen.

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I like hidden benefits to certain Choices that don’t seem advantageous at first. Be a Sage Demon Summoner in Lost Heir for example. You get no combat skills with the class but you can translate all your Demon Stones for free in Ludd and then there’s a secret Sage only I Win Button for the final boss if you can survive long enough to pick it.

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I wish that some of the stories were a little bigger in seriousness. I don’t know why but I can get comedy from books so every time I see a “humor” choice or host I just cringe at the idea.

Also wish people would throw bigger scopes into their games. I just wish my stories would effect more people then a single town. Like at least make it a whole state or country.

…Welp. Guess what I’ll be doing when I play Tin Star…scar collecting. I do like things like this, especially if they come with some flavor text on the stats screen.

Oh, I love the checkpoints. While I think I only ever used one twice in all my XoR runs, I liked having the option. I felt more confident taking chances because I knew, if it didn’t work out, I wouldn’t have to replay everything. I would love to see this in more games. I’ve not seen one yet with the reset on the Stats page; that is an interesting idea though!

I agree 100%. In the game I’ve played that I disliked the most, my primary complaint was that I had no idea how stats and actions mapped together and had trouble predicting possible outcomes from my choices. I repeatedly made decisions that I followed up with “That’s not what I meant!” Having a clearer connection definitely makes a game more enjoyable for me.

Even more reason to move Choice of Robots up my “to play” list.

Yes! Because then every path or set of choices makes you feel like you’ve actually accomplished something; it’s very validating. I’ll make sure to check out Lost Heir; I’ve not played that yet.

Are there any games that you think are doing this? I would love to see how choice games can handle epic stories. I do feel like XoR had a fairly large scope, though, and it seems to be building up to an even greater scale.

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