What "person" works best?

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…


So, I am righting a book. Not a choice of games book, but a book book.
I am unsure weather to alter it, currently, I have it in… Third person, I thinkg? Might swap it into first person, because… Why not?
Anyway. Thoughts? I think I can do some stuff if I actually get into the character’s heads, since right now I am sort of just looking down on them llike some funny head guy in the sky…
Anyway. Thougs? Arguments?

Also, same question about my Choice of games book, except I think I am going to put it in, second person? Since, well, your sort of supposed to put yourself into the character, and first person makes that a bit dificult in a format where you pick each choice…
Anyway, just a ramble, prompted by watching a lot of "Overley sarcastic’s youtube vidiows.
So, yeah…


You can find a few bits of similar topics discussing this if you know the term. I’ll link some

Bit of general advice, don’t write from a certain Point of View because “why not?”. Bad idea. There’re differences between going first person, 2nd, or 3rd. You can find them in the topics I linked.

Using a certain POV presents some kind of “distance” between the reader and the MC. Using different POV can lead to big difference in the experience the reader… experiencing. So, yeah, with 1st person, you put the reader inside the MC’s head. You can describe the thought process of the MC, their inner feelings, their “anima” if you’re going the Jungian territory, so on. The reader will only know informations the protagonist know. This is a very specific thing to write and the reader may either like it or very dislike it. Best genre would be horror/thriller.

2nd person is the default in Interactive Fiction Realm. Pretty explanatory. The first generation of IF is not titled Choose Your Own Adventure books without reason.

3rd person is the “big approach.” As opposed to 1st person, you can be omniscient and tell the reader what’s going on with the world where the protagonist not necessarily know. Or you may put the reader in the seats of a theatrical stage and take them to the wild ride that is the show the stage performing. Kinda stretching the example, but you get the gist.


I think it depends on what you want to write and your writing style. I think 1st person can be a bit harder to pull off. Like the previous poster mentioned, horror/thriller, and maybe romance might be best. 2nd pov (for books) is even harder to pull off effectively. I’m personally a fan of 3rd person (it suits me and my writing style). It doesn’t hurt to try writing it different ways to find out if it better suits you another way. But there will always be pros and cons (like previous poster mentioned, 1st person, you only know the character knows, but you can also have an insight of their personal self).

Something to keep in mind is “show, don’t tell.” Especially in third person, as you can’t quite get into their minds, but you can at least let the reader know how they’re feeling. For instance, don’t ‘tell’ us someone is excited (unless they’re saying so as part of conversation), but describe what he’s doing that shows they’re excited (jumping around, talking unusually loudly, large gestures, etc.).

Also for choice games- most people tend to stick with 2nd pov, which I think works well (though the Wayhaven Chronicles does 1st person quite nicely, for example).

many people prefer second person (you, your, etc) for choice of games. But I’ve always preferred first person (I, me, mine). It helps with immediacy and emersion.

However I think part of this is that I don’t always design a character based on my own actions, and prefer to play someone immersed in the culture of the game. I’ve noticed that people who prefer second person also tend to prefer making characters similar to themselves, so the “you” might be more immediately important to them.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen third person used in a choice script related game. Any examples?

Standard for ChoiceScript specifically is 2nd person for text and 1st person (or imperative) for choices.

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