Treating "MC" as someone else other than the player?

The reason why i wanted to play, no, experience text-based games likes this is to feel like the main character. To be my own main character.

But almost everyone in this forum is treating the “MC”
as someone else? I thought we were playing as ourselves since there is personality on stats screen.
Sure, i would like to play as a evil person. Why not?

I do think that people use the term “MC” because there is no specific character we play as. We can play as however we want right? İncluding ourselves right?


Main character or player character is a term predates video games and just mean the character not controlled by the game master or the computer. It only means that. If you role play or are a self-insert is a personal choice of the reader both equally valid.

I am personlly a role player that create several characters each with a motivation to choose his her they path. For me self insert is not funny, but i just a question of pure player’s preference.


Yes. We can definitely play however we want. Some people always want to play the main character as themselves, either as they are or as they would like to be. Some go out of their way to play a character as different from themselves as possible. Some have a go-to character build that they use in every game. Some create a different character for every game they play. I like to play different kinds of characters - different identities, different priorities, different personalities. Some are a lot like me, and some are very different. However you like to play is fine, as long as you respect that others have different preferences and there’s no “right” or “wrong” way.


There are a lot of ways people play. Some have their MC be an avatar of themselves, nothing more. Others give each MC a distinct personality, essentially roleplaying.

It’s a matter of preference, really. As long as it helps them enjoy a story, more power to them, whichever way they do.


Another component to this equation is the game design. This is less common in ChoiceScript games, but an author might create a locked character, or a character with many features already locked in, such as age, gender, ethnicity, background and even personality.

You shouldn’t take for granted that interactive fiction will always allow you to play as yourself. That is very much a playing style and not every one enjoys that. Even in games that allows for extreme customization, many will build a character different than themselves.

Personally, I would rather play as a locked character (even of different gender and whatnot) but that is well developed than a blank slate with generic action or dialogue options.


There are certain things I personally don’t like to be locked, such as both my first and last names, as well as my gender and orientation. When I find those things to be locked, I’m often so annoyed that, I literally minus one rating point for each of them. You see, I am fully aware of the fact that i’m still the one making choices for the character, despite them being potentially miles apart from me. So, at the end of the day, even if I’m not self inserting, i’m still making choices for the character regardless. It’s not like I can put the character on autopilot.

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For me it depends on the story. It’s fun to self-insert sometimes, and at other times some stories and themes just work really well for exploring certain types of characters. Seeing the journeys they go through, watching them evolve (or devolve…). But that tends to need a strongly responsive, character-driven approach, and not all stories are about that.

And sometimes the author includes choices that I would never normally pick, but are so interesting nonetheless that I’m willing to try. It’s like an acting exercise for me, a way to put myself in someone’s shoes and rationalise their decisions even when I disagree with them.

We all have different ways to approach roleplaying and get different things out of it; you do whatever you enjoy the most ^^


It’s one thing to enjoy customization and prefer to play only games that allow it, and it’s another thing to punish authors for not including the kind of customization you like. Especially if they never promised it in the first place. Like I said, you shouldn’t take it for granted.


They can write. I will rate.

Both are valid, in my opinion. As a mostly self-insert (as shameless as that can be to some people) when playing IFs, i mostly imagine playing as myself living in another world. Up to the MC appearance, and personality or name (unless the setting is historical or somethin’ )

And chose what i would do in certain situation --or close to what i would do anyway.

I am in agreement, authors have a lot on their plate already between writing, coding, editing and etc. the majority of; if not all authors on the forum are pretty transparent about the depth of their character creation. When I see a game that is gender locked, I move on. I won’t “punish” an author because they are not writing a story that resonates with my play style.

I need to remind myself of this often, but I feel like this is important to mention to any aspiring authors who may be reading this; you can’t please everyone.

Everyone has their own play styles, though, I am with you as I also play as a self insert based on my mood. :slight_smile:


I tend to be myself playing these games (choosing similar appearance and mindset). Of course, I like to create several characters to have fun with.

Yeah, you can play whoever you want. People just use MC to be clear that they’re talking about the character you play. If I say, “I liked that Ana could do this,” no one else is going to know who Ana is. So I say, “I liked that the main character could do this” instead of talking about a specific character who only exists in my version of the game.

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Sometimes those things are important for the story itself, maybe a fixed lastname means something important for the background of the character, or maybe a fixed gender makes the story make sense (for example, a woman who wants to be a warrior in medieval times and has to deal with sexism, etc). It’s okay if you don’t wanna read those stories, nobody should force you to, but rating them badly just for that is insulting to the person that’s creating that book. Please, have more empathy.


Personally here’s how I see it MC and protagonist are interchangeable. I personally don’t believe that the MC of a video game interactive fiction or otherwise has to be the main character or protagonist of the overarching worlds story however it is very important that if you were playing a specific character weather created, locked in, named or not they need to be the center of your content. They don’t have to be the hero that saves the world they could be the baker who serve them bread but their story has to be interesting and we need a reason to care about them if I’m sitting here and the story is telling me all the great things the hero has done while I’m sitting here carving wood that doesn’t make for a good character and I sit here wondering why I’m bothering to play a game like that.

A good example in my opinion is Wayhaven Chronicles. In that game you aren’t the “Hero“ Per se but you are the main character the story focuses on you but you’re not the overpowered vampire you’re the small-town detective trying to solve a mystery that would be a side character in any other story and yeah you do eventually get pulled in and become a bad ass but you’re still not the overpowered hero you’re still the same detective you just work with New tools and strategies to take on the new threat

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Sometimes I use COGs to see characters I’ve created in a different setting. I like CYOAs because they give me the fun of making a story without the responsibility of writing it.


I’ll be the odd one out, but I personally can’t understand how one can self insert in a game. The MC is treated as someone else by the author because they are someone else.

The author can’t cater the choices to you personally, and in general since the circumstances of one’s childhood and adult experiences shape someone, MC can’t be the player.

This is why authors unfairly receive criticism about the genderlocking of their MCs or, even worse, why players get upset if the MC has fixed traits.

Now, I understand why someone would self-insert, but people have to understand that the MC cannot be a completely blank slate to be moulded like clay.


To me, playing a self-insert doesn’t mean that the character is literally me, it means that I’m playing a character who, within the parameters established by the author, shares my values, priorities, interests, tastes, and personality. Depending on what the author’s parameters are, I might get a character who is almost uncannily similar to me - this happened with Noblesse Oblige - or I might get a character who is vaguely me-flavored. I don’t usually play self-inserts, but I have yet to encounter a game where I couldn’t, including those that are genderlocked to male. I don’t see why it should be any harder imagining myself as a man than as a wizard, a warrior, or a career criminal.


To me, it just feels kind of stupid to make choices for someone else. I guess the whole thing stems from the fact that we have seen the potential of some customisation lords as I would like to call them. I am not ashamed to admit, their shenanigans have spoiled us a little. The more you see, the more you eventually expect. Now console gaming doesn’t count, because of all the visuals involved. Still, if you really want me to treat an MC as someone else, I guess authors should consider making a randomise choice option, The same way the developers of BitLife simulator made a surprise me option. This way, one could pretend that the MC is making their own choices and I’m just an observer. Better yet, eliminate all choices and simply make a novel. Now I might sound harsh, and I suppose you would be right to call me so, but the truth is that, the majority of people outside of this thread will rate the game/games as they see fit anyway. The only difference is that in my case, I’m being loud about it.

My MCs are usually wish fulfillment versions of myself, either magic or science focused heroes. I then branch out and create radically different characters, often on the other end of the alignment scale.

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