What "person" works best?

So, I’m taking a break from Supra today and I’m working on my writing. In this practice project, I had described the first scene as a third person observer. Now, the MC is the focus and I find myself wanting to use the 2nd person, particularly since variables aren’t established like gender haven’t been established.

I’ve had “Don’t use 2nd person” battered into my brain over the past semesters but this was due to the fact that I was doing academic writing or professional writing. As the MC would be involved in all remaining scenes through the course of this practice work, could I use 2nd person and get away with it or do people prefer a different style of writing? I’m just fishing for ideas.


2nd person is commonly used in interactive fiction and choose-your-own-adventure titles.
Other styles of narrative are used as well.
Just buy a few Choice of Games / Hosted Games titles, and analyze the writing style of an author you like.


2nd person is good and is what most games are written in. You also don’t have to worry so much about using the wrong pronouns for the player character (which is an error that won’t show up on random or quick test).

Third person can get a little confusing with all the pronouns. If you have two males, which he are you talking about.

First person also avoids pronoun errors, but you can’t have a communication with the narrator like in Choice of the Dragon and you might get tempted to add a personality that wasn’t chosen by the MC. You also might have incomplete sentence choices like" I feel ____choices" instead of "How do you feel about X? " .


2nd person is what people usually do, and its extremely enjoyable in this type of game. However, 1st person is also extremely interesting, and can be even more enjoyable to read than 2nd person if done well, for example “Life of a Wizard” by Lucid. So I think my suggestion would be, 2nd person if you’re going for the typical (but almost always enjoyable) writing style of these games, or 1st person if you’re going for the challenging, but so much more fun to read writing style.


I personally like first person more, as a writer and a reader. Second person is more popular with reader insertions.


Well the standard approach for CoGs and HGs is “second person in the text, and first person in the choices.”

It’s a safe approach for immersion.

A few games use first person in the text. That usually means a more well-defined character, which may limit or hamper immersion, but it also offers a more intimate approach that can make the journey more colorful, as you have the MC narrating the action instead of some unknown narrator doing it. There are pros and cons, as with anything else.


It would be interesting honestly that we see a choice game actually give us a define character player as. Like a Joel from the last of us or Garrett for the Witcher a Jade from Beyond Good and Evil.

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I’d say experiment with both and see what comes naturally to you as a writer – in what tense do you think of the story in your head?
It’s interesting to realize the effect that perspective/tense can have on sentence structure. I decided to write part of my game (a sort of flashback) in past tense (2nd person), and it’s surprisingly hard. I keep finding whole paragraphs to fix, and it’s not just a simple matter of changing the verbs – a lot of the sentences were awkward in the new tense, and would suggest very different wording. 1st/2nd person can have a similar contrast in style. 2nd certainly feels more natural to this sort of thing, but I could get used to 1st or even 3rd if it meshed well with the flow of the story.


Oh, and the third person observer concept reminds me of this (discontinued) WIP: Empty Shell (name still up for debate) (WiP) - Stage: Alpha
Perspective switches away from the MC regularly – as you make decisions that make your character more active in the narrative, you read more and more from their perspective, but if you make passive choices, you’ll learn some of the same information from other characters’ views instead. Thought it was a pretty interesting idea.


Having the story in 2nd person and the choices in 1st seems to work best, but, as mentioned above, there are exceptions.

It would be really interesting to see a game where the POV was another character than the one you make choices for.


I think there’s a different choice and narrative character/ POV in a twine game I played once. It’s Urquel The black Dragon.


But, I’d recommend not having an already defined player character because people tend to dislike gender locking. I understand why visual novels with graphics or movie scenes have defined MC’s to make the graphics work, but one of the things that makes CoG unique is being able to define the personality of the MC.

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As a sampling of previous discussion on this issue:


The use of first person (in a way) like Mr. Robot and some other(4th wall breaker) shows and movies, can be very intriguing but too difficult to write now that I come to think of it :thinking: but if you are able to write it properly it’d be pretty frickin awesome!

Hope you don’t mind me asking, but what’s the difference between First, Second and Third? Now that second person seems to be mentioned the most, I never really thought about it. All I know is first person is from a character’s perspective, while third person is from the author’s perspective. I feel like 2nd and 3rd are similar but have differences.

In grammar, first person is the person who’s speaking: “I.” Second person is whomever you’re speaking to: “you.” Third person is anyone else you’re speaking about “she/he/it.”

So a first person narrative is from the perspective of “I”… “I saw some stuff, and then I did some stuff, and I felt these things about it.” A third person narrative describes someone else doing stuff: “Jorge saw some stuff, and then he did some stuff, and he felt these things about it.” A second person narrative is written as if the reader is the one doing things: “You saw some stuff, and then you did some stuff, and you felt these things about it.” Second person is often common for choice of games type stuff, because it puts the reader into the role of the main character, so there’s more of a sense that you’re directly doing things. But first and third person styles can work too… they just produce a different effect.

(Some languages also have something called “fourth person,” but English doesn’t, so it doesn’t exactly apply here :stuck_out_tongue: )


First person is… first person.
I think you’re already know about that, so let’s skip that one.

Now, both 2nd and 3rd person are quite similar, but there’re some fundamental differences between them:

  1. 2nd person is known for its “you blahblah this, you blahblah that, you feel blahblah2” narrative style.
  2. While 3rd person doesn’t refer much to you as the PC/MC. Instead, 3rd person narrator refers to the PC/MC either with their in-game name or 3rd pronoun he/she/they, treating them just as the way the narrator treats other characters.

In Indonesia, we have “3rd person observer” which is your standard 3rd person narrative style, and “3rd person omniscient” a.k.a. 4th person where the narrator of this style magically knows everything in the story and conveniently spoils you how the story will play out ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Oh, yeah, in English storytelling we can make that distinction. “3rd person omniscient” is the same, while “3rd person limited” would refer to a story where the narrator can get into the thoughts and feelings of the main character, but not everybody else (or possible multiple viewpoint characters, which could switch, but not multiple ones at a time), and “3rd person objective,” where the narrator is just an observer and doesn’t know anything about what’s going on in people’s minds.

4th person is just a grammar term that I don’t think would be used for stories anyway :stuck_out_tongue: in languages with the distinction, basically 3rd person is “that other person we’re talking about,” and 4th person is “yet another person we’re talking about.” Languages are fun :grin:


Naah. In elementary, we’re told that 4th person narration is actually a thing. Of course this leads us (well, my mates and me) confused, especially with the fact that Language of Indonesia is sitting on the top 3 of “the most hated subjects” of the class :laughing:


Okay, I guess that’s just a different meaning of the term “fourth person” then :sweat_smile: It wouldn’t be the first time that a technical term can refer to more than one thing…