What do you want more of in IF-games?

Apropos of a similar conversation in the Fallen Hero chat, many games pull their punches with difficult/upsetting/extreme content or skirt around it as if to be seen as condoning it. It’s as if people forget the “fiction” half of “interactive fiction”. I’d like to see more authors handle dark material and not worry too much beyond content warnings at the start if they want. Some authors go this route to varying degrees of success, but I applaud them all for hewing that path.

As noted, these thoughts stem from my praising Fallen Hero, which lets you do some fairly dark stuff at least compared to the vast majority of Choicescript games. The author simply tells the story, and lets the player work within that world. It doesn’t condone or condemn, it follows the journey and lets the player decide how they feel from both a player perspective and role playing the main character, recognizing that one is not absolutely the other. That is IF at its most potent.

That’s not to say every work needs to be Game of Thrones. There’s room for everything from that to Willow to Narnia to Lord of the Rings to The Black Company to Earthsea, and the current existing CoG/HG slate proves that. I’d just like to see more authors diving into those deeper, darker waters and see where those dives take the format, and how others might follow them and discover new IF possibilities.


that’s my project actually :pleading_face:


Cool! Is there a WIP yet?

oh no, it’s just 2k words in. but the plot work is mostly done (in my head) :flushed:


I would love this (and will keep an eye out for @rosies to put up a WIP!). I think the only issue is that there would be loads of complaints that there was only one character to interact with if people didn’t like the character, which means the author would either make them so bland that they’d be boring or they’d have to cement a personality and deal with people whining over it.

Still, I’d love to play it. Same with the “Lost” type scenario. That would be fun.

I have a weird idea for a game that I’m not sure how it’d go over… I ditched my original idea and decided to write it as a book (too complicated for a game and I was too unwilling to change the NPCs to suit anyone, lol) and came up with this one, but it may piss off even more people, so who knows…


Yes, that would be a big issue. I was only able to come up with one example of a game like that (WIP though) in the meantime and that would be “Seven days in purgatory”, and ironically I have the exact issue you described there. I HATE the husband. I know he is intended to be sus, but he isn’t sus in the fun way. There is no universe, no pre-amnesia state of mind in which my MC would have married him. And even if the marriage aspect itself was a lie, and the guy some crazy stalker or whatnot - he’s just awful (well-written, though).

I was thinking for a moment whether it would make sense to make that one RO/NPC highly customizable including personality, like the heir in the Odessa Dating Games, but that would technically defy the purpose, because no matter if they shared the same name, in reality you would have multiple characters again, only presented in one mold.

It would probably have to be a passion project out of love, because I can’t see a game like that selling well. :confused:

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Originally with Surgit, I wanted to make it so there was only the child the immortal takes in but I could only imagine the backlash, plus I think writing a few romance options could be fun. It’s honestly kind of hard to figure where to fit them in though considering the intent for it to be mainly about the child and the relationship the immortal forms with them. Probably people they meet through caring for the child.

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Yep, I checked out the demo and didn’t like him at all. I don’t self-insert, but I have to have an MC I can relate to, and I just couldn’t come up with one that I wanted to play that would’ve actually married that guy. I’m forced to write for characters that I don’t like unless I’m writing their POVs, so I don’t want to do that for a game I play in my spare time!

So, yeah, customization is the only way you could please everyone and, like you said, you’d actually be writing multiple character again. Plus, I don’t want to have to customize so much about NPCs. A few things here or there is fine, but if I’m micro-managing the NPCs, I may as well write the damned thing myself.

One thing I’ve thought about, especially since Sera seems to have opened the door for otomes in IF, is that maybe there could be a demo set up where there are multiple ROs to choose from (not too many or it’d take too long) then have a separate “book” for each path. Kind of like sonnet009 did with the Wilder series (only a bit more fleshed out). So it’s the same story, but you approach it from different ways, depending on which RO (or teammate, if you want to go no romance) you choose. The other NPCs may still be involved, just to a lesser degree, and it really would be the MC and that NPC against the world, for the most part. In one path, you solve whatever problems there are in one way, in another, you approach it from another way. Still loads of choices, but more centered on the MC and their chosen partner for the story.

I don’t know, just tossing ideas out.


Mess. I want more opportunities to play a messy MC. Not outright evil or without any morals at all, just a complicated, ambivalent mess of a person.

For example, I’m currently playing “It Lives Within”, a fan-made continuation of the It Lives series from Choices, in which I’m two-timing a father and a son (earning me a very fitting “Am I The Drama?” achievement). The father is a walking red flag in itself, knows about the two-timing but was like “Welp, I’ve always been a shit father and you’re irresistible”. The son, however, just opened up to the MC and will be utterly heartbroken once he learns how his lover has slept with his father whom he hates with a passion. (The game is still a WIP, so I don’t know what the fallout will look like but damn, I’m already at the edge of my seat with every new update.)

In the same playthrough, my MC also managed to push someone already in a committed relationship into the arms of the ghost of their childhood friend who previously tried killing them. Do you notice a pattern? Great life choices all around.

Usually, I settle for the paragon characters (and sometimes try out a ruthless renegade playthrough for variety) but I must admit that I enjoy a good mess if it is set up well, even if the MC becomes a major asshole. The thing is, in the example above, I play the character as mostly well-intentioned as there are opportunities to acknowledge the MC’s guilt or lack of it. He has feelings for both men, but dang, he’s simply not the best at making good life decisions at the moment considering that he’s in the middle of a major canonical identity crisis. Do I feel for the poor bastard? Yeah. Am I already gleefully anticipating his fall from grace and all the resulting chaos? Oh yesss.


Posting again because i thought of another thing that id like to see more of in IF. Allow us to pursue RO’s based on emotional attraction with the physical attraction coming after or as a result of it rather then the reverse which is more often then not the case(at least initially).


Yeees, glad to see another fan of It Lives Within here, I love this game too! I’m also playing my MC the same way you are, the messiest one :laughing:

And overall I agree with you, I would also like to see more opportunities to be messy in games. It doesn’t even have to be extreme, in small amount it can add realism to the story, because making mistakes and bad decisions, and then dealing with the consequences of your actions is something people have to deal with in their lives.

I personally love to play very messy MCs, I’m always looking for opportunities to cause more drama in a story. That’s what is fun about fiction, you can do crazy things and just enjoy the chaos unravel, and no one gets hurt, cause it’s not real. However, I admit that I often feel guilty about other characters suffering because of my MC’s bad behavior, I’m not a heartless player (ILW reference: sorry Linc :sob:). But that’s also part of the fun of playing messy MCs, so I guess I like to torture myself too :sweat_smile:

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Bit random but I think I have mentioned it before, I think more games that focus on a specific gender for the romance options rather than the player’s gender. This could more easily help with avoiding characters that don’t suit a swapped gender, as well as allow for more descriptive sexual content in more adult games (where only the players gender has to be accounted for) and allow for different romances that can feel more unique in distinctive ways. This approach could easily work for Hearts Choice games in particular (as it sort of did with Pirates Pleasure and Don’t Date Werewolves).


That’s honestly something I’m worried about for my projects. I want to write some sex scenes (not super graphic, but you know the basics of what’s happening). I have a good idea of how to write it for a straight couple, but I have no idea what to do if that isn’t what a player is playing as. I need a good example, but not a lot of stores sort romance books by spice level


I think you’d be better of asking real people on reddit or something like that. Just because something is officially published doesn’t mean the content is good or realistic.

Not sure if what I’m working on counts in that direction or not, but my current WIP has a total of six (6) characters, three of which you never directly interact with within the story. Two of them you do interact with. In the beginning, a lot of focus is on the MC. Then, later, the other two are introduced indirectly before the Player meets them directly a chapter or two later.

I’m not sure if Reddit should be the go-to destination for good and realistic conceptions of sex either, though…


Reddit isn’t reddit. There’s some very good subreddits out there, where you could find help, if you don’t come across like a creep or voyeur. I can only talk for the trans side of things, though, but I’m sure the same applies to other subreddits for other members of the LGBTQ community.

you can always just make it ‘fade to Black’. I mean, let people imagine the steamy stuff for themselves. You don’t have to write the graphic stuff step by step till Orgasmville.


Sex scenes with description is definitely the thing hardest to write I think with gender and sexuality options in interactives, since you can’t as easily disguise gender specific aspects in those sequences, and even in a straight male-female sex scene the perspective of the player and any choice of top vs bottom or sub/dom/equal aspects likely have to be taken into account. I can see why virtually all interactives prefer to fade to black in that area. :sweat_smile:

Have there been locked room/murder mysteries written using the COG system?