Why Do You Love Interactive Fiction? (Bring on the Positive Feedback)

Continuing a discussion from the CoG/HG business model thread, I’m curious to hear people’s answers to the following questions. You don’t have to answer them all, but any thoughts you have would be great to hear!

  • How did you first find out about Interactive Fiction?
  • What’s your favorite thing about IF, particularly CoG/HC/HG text-based games?
  • Where do readers for text-based RPGs hang out?
  • Have you ever recommended a game to others?


A few years ago, I had no idea IF was a thing. I stumbled across Heart’s Choice looking for writing opportunities and fell in love with the way interactive fiction lets you enjoy a story in a completely different way than reading a linear novel.

I feel like the vast majority of people who enjoy reading don’t know IF exists. As an author, I’m curious to know what you love about interactive fiction and how we, as fans and writers, might find more people who would also enjoy these games.

Personally, I love how playing text-based RPGs gives me agency as a player and lets me decide which direction I want the story to go. As a writer, one of the best things about this method of storytelling is that I can provide options for so many different readers who enjoy different levels of spice, different interests, different romance options, and varied perspectives.

I think a lot of the content people are writing for CoG/HC/HG is exceptional art. I’d love to see more readers find these games. If you enjoy a game and know others who might like it, please share it with them! A personal recommendation is one of the highest compliments you can give an author. :sparkling_heart:

I look forward to reading your thoughts!

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I suppose I need an excuse to procrastinate on my writing.

I played Fighting Fantasy gamebooks as a kid. While the story and writing wasn’t always fantastic, I think the writers had stumbled upon a really interesting concept which we now know as Interactive Fiction. I first played Choice of Broadsides in 2010, and my first thought was “where’s the software to create these games?”

I suppose it’s the sense of adventure and exploration in a novel. I also enjoy watching writers experiment with new ideas and push the boundaries of what a game could look like. I’m a big fan of Philip Kempton’s work for that reason.

This might be the biggest community outside Reddit (I might be wrong). When I first decided to participate in IFcomp (later the Spring Thing), a big factor in choosing Choicescript was access to a huge pool of testers - especially if you’re unwilling to blackmail family/friends into beta testing.

I’ve never did. I’m not the sort of person to write reviews. I guess I did make some sort of recommendation earlier in this post.

Is this your first topic? :smile:

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tbh I just like being a supervillain and causing mass genocide :skull:


As someone who devours superhero stories and lives for the thrill of wielding (digital) superpowers, I just decided to google interactive superhero games and that’s pretty much how I discovered interactive fiction, and let me tell you it was like finding a hidden gem.

On this aswell, I didn’t even know choice of games and hosted games… had a forum till years later

my sister

the freedom, and actually being able to be someone else

already started doing this :skull:

/)____/)
( ◠ ◡ ◠)
| >💐< |
-0-----0-

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I have to admit, in terms of interactive books like choose your own adventure stuff, while I was aware it existed, I never found many near me nor were they really interesting enough, then I was scrolling through the google play store and found doomsday on demand, and that was my plunge into it. And I am still free falling.

Probably the fact it is an interactive novel, and for COG and HG in particular, the way I could view stats and sorta build my character and see them succeed and fail accordingly. It made me more interested in following what is happening and it made me feel a lot like Discord Text RPs, which while fun, the quality is rare and varies per person, but in IFs, you get basically a great deal of the benefits with very few downsides (No total freedom given someone has to code every choice)

0 clue. I barely knew this forum existed until I decided I wanted to try my hand at writing my own game, which is a shame, because this is a real cool place.

I have yes. Breach: The archangel. and it was a good recommendation because they did in fact like it and decided to try other ones too. Which was nice because Breach is amazing.

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I grew up reading CYOA books, so the idea that a story could be interactive was always there. I discovered CoG in 2011, when I was looking for apps to keep me entertained on a long car trip. I did a search for “story games” and ended up downloading every CoG and HG game in existence, which at the time was four of the former and a dozen of the latter.

What I love about IF is the chance to feel like a partner in creation with the author, that the story unfolding on the screen before me belongs to us both. I love being able to play a story again and again, discovering new scenes and new endings and new sides to the characters.

I have no idea where IF fans hang out, aside from this forum and associated places like the subreddits.

I recommend games constantly, sometimes in answer to requests, sometimes when something someone says reminds me of a particular game, sometimes just by writing reviews. I am also constantly trying to get my husband to try a CoG game. Without success. :cry:

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It was by pure coincidence back then. I love power armor in media. As i was searching for games in Playstore, I had found “Magikiras.” from HG. I don’t even know text-based IFs exist back then. I do know VN exist though.

Because I can be whatever I want to be, most of the time anyway. As i grew older I realized i’m an NB. And most CoG/HG IFs allows me to be one. And thanks to that, I’m becoming more picky about games I’d want to play.

Uh… I’m not sure. I only play CoG/HG games when it comes to text based IFs. So either this forum or the subreddit–as much as how schizo the sub can be. It’s still a “funny” place to hang around.

Yes! I recommended Samurai of Hyuga and Original Zombie Exodus to my twin brother, though he still an action games dude at heart.

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I’m loving these answers, people. Thank you for the replies!

Yes it is! Did I do it right? :woman_shrugging: :rofl:

This is a great point. For me, game writing has helped me push the boundaries of what a story can look like. Writing my second game, I’ve felt more comfortable to explore even more and expand what’s available to my characters, and therefore the player.

Yay for finding a new world of possibility!

This made me laugh. But really, where else besides games and stories can we safely explore our morally-gray tendencies? This reminds me of something one of my characters said in Their Majesties’ Pleasure:

I find that when desires are allowed, and embraced, they’re less likely to become twisted into something that can cause harm. When we’re not held back, we can better be who we are. — Javier Reshan, in Chapter Three of TMP

Stories and games give us permission to imagine things we’d never want to experience in real life. There’s an entertainment value to that, and I think something that goes beyond entertainment into self-exploration and satisfaction of thoughts we’d never take past the fantasy of fiction.

I love the way you phrased this. Down the rabbit hole we go!

This is so well said! May I use this quote elsewhere, with credit? I think you summed it up perfectly.

Your reviews are always entertaining and absolutely helpful. I love that you recommend games, too. You’re like an IF librarian. Also, I don’t know if it helps, but my husband has never read any of my work and I don’t think he’ll start. :rofl: I’m okay with it because he’s supportive anyway.

This is another reason I love writing IF rather than linear fiction. Allowing the player to choose their identity and RO preferences means I can write for a much broader audience than I could if I were sticking to novels (where I tend to write female MCs and bi or M|F romances). The freedom IF gives players and writers is really powerful.

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Stumbled upon the site when I was looking for more text-based games, as it’s a thing I’ve always liked. Just so happened to come across CoG in my search for more back in like 2015 now (fuck that was almost a decade ago).
For these and the ones on itch, what I really love is that it lets me read more things. Every story has a lesbian protagonist, trans when I get the option, who acts exactly as I want. That’s such a wonderful thing for me. I can’t really deal with most media anymore because I can’t tolerate how absolutely everything has a male protagonist, and I really love reading and playing RPGs, so this pretty much checks all of my boxes at a fundamental level. Of course I’m not always interested in every story, not always a fan of the game aspects of some (like stat checks), but I almost always at least have the option to play/read them and I love that. It gives me a fairly consistent library of things to read, which I lacked for a while.

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Of course!

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I see plenty of interesting answers here. I’d say definitely.

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I was looking for story type games that had choices. Then I found COG then Dashingdon then the forum!

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Although it is sometimes also one of its greatest weaknesses, I love how perfectly it sits at the intersection of game and story. How it can deliver a quality reading experience where you lose yourself for hours like any great novel, but also allow for a feeling of achievement, exploration, frustration, and victory like any quality videogame does.

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I grow up with the books called ‘Game books where you are the hero!’, I devoured them. Literally.

But I had no idea about Interactive fictions. I found out about COG by accidents on Steam. They recommended me one, I remember trying it. And I was hungry for more…

The 1st game I ever tried was ‘Creatures such as we’, and while I loved the settings I thought it could’ve been so much more. And right there and then, started wondering if they had a forum!

Imagine my surprise and delight! Yes! They did! I’m gonna give feedbacks woohoo!

Wait…what is that?! There is more? OH MAH GAAAAAAAAAAAAD!!!

Let me see…what is this? ‘Choice of Robot’? Ohhh sorry feedbacks, catch you later…gotta play this one now.

And well…the rest is history. Never gave said feedback and it has been a wonderful adventure of discovering one world after another since then. :sweat_smile:

The Smoochies :kissing_closed_eyes:

Mostly here I think. Some on Tumblr I believe, but I don’t use any of the Social Media monsters. They give you cooties.

My cats but…they said they already listen to me prattle about the Smoochies and it’s like they played the game. Now they’ll be happy if I could shuttup about it.

Beside…me think for all their whining, they are reading over my shoulder :eyes:

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I really like this perspective. Well said.

I’m giggling over here.

Honestly, this enthusiasm is so great. :tada:

That sense of adventure is something I really enjoy about text-based RPGs. I love novels for the adventures they take me on, but when playing an IF game I’m the one deciding how the adventure goes, and the story adapts to my actions. It’s just so cool!

I’m so glad you did! I love it when Internet searches bring us to wonderful new places with interesting people and tons of creativity. :sparkles:

This makes me think of the people I see on SM who are in a reading slump and can’t find any books that grab their interest. Maybe if they were reading IF where so many of the choices are up to them, they might find more stories that engage them. Your point about being able to choose your POV and preferences is an important one. I think that’s one of the strengths of IF, as well as having so many ways the PC can act, think, and find hidden gems in a multifaceted story.

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I found out about COG though a something awful let’s play of Sabres of Infinity but my first Interactive book was in the back of the fourth series of Warrior Cats books (I was really into them as a child) which all had a small interactive story you can go though.

My favorite thing about COG/HG is the sense of choices and consequences along with the RPG mechanics.

Random small forums back in the day and now discord severs.

Yes I have recommended games in the two Reddits, in discord severs and in real life to friends

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I honestly can’t remember. CoG has been a part of my life for a decade now, and I knew about physical CYOA books before that. It’s kind of always been something around me.

As droll as it sounds, choice. It’s a similar appeal as any RPG, with a unique literary flair. I like games that play with the nature of that choice and how players engage with the medium, but that’s far from necessary.

Here, in large part. There are communities for specific games on discord, tumblr, reddit, etc, but CoG has done an excellent job fostering a space (admittedly almost exclusively for its products, but they’ve monopolized the good stuff anyways so no big there). There are subreddits for CoG/HG but thats just an extension (of questionable quality) of this community, same for the 4chan threads that float around.

Frequently! Game recs are part and parcel of existing in this community, and I’m always trying to get new people into the genre. Night Road has been an excellent bridge for a lot of the people I know who are into WoD, but I’ve made all sorts of recs depending on who I’m talking to.

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I stumbled upon my first CYOA book in my school library although that wasn’t the direct trigger. A couple of years later, I think I chanced upon The Great Tournament through a Play Store recommendation. I fell in love with what we call IF since then.

For those on the more linear side, my favourite part is building my character to be able to overcome such and such obstacles through the competencies I chose, so basically it’s the roleplaying aspect. For those with broader options, I love being able to pick what adventure I should do so my character can get stronger/be more prepared for the future/meet someone new/figure something out which adds extra flavour to the plot/etc. So essentially roleplaying again.

At first I just saw on Reddit what was being recommended, then last year I saw this forum being mentioned and was like “sure, why not?” and here we are.

I’ve recommended the aforementioned Great Tournament as well as Academy for Villains to someone in person. Although they like reading quite a bit, I’m not sure whether IFs ever caught on with them past the ones I’d suggested.

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If my posts here didn’t tell you, I first found out about IF via visual novels, especially Japanese-made ones. Two VNs that finally sucked me into that rabbit hole are Narcissu and Planetarian.

As a developer, I don’t need to bother acquiring graphical and musical assets. I just need to leverage the strength of my writing.

There are several places scattered throughout the 'net for those types of things. I myself participated in some play-by-post games in a forum that sadly no longer exists.

As a visual novel connoisseur, I do recommend the best of the best, considering I’ve been into those types of games for almost 20 years.

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Genuinely? I think it might of been some evening searching through Itch.io and eventual general searching around for stuff I could be trans in. I might of stumbled upon things earlier but wasn’t familiar with the term.

One of the major things is allowing me to actually be myself or just craft characters within the stories in them. IFs reawoken my dormant love for character writing and no small part of that was stuff here. And a lot of them just in general are good mood boosters. Something to do when I’m feeling down about something.

Tumblr has a somewhat active community from what I’ve gathered, but I’m also rather introverted. Main reason why I haven’t really posted anything on the forums until now.

In one of the communities I’m active in, I have brought up a good few games before. Even including one in my top games of the year. Being that it’s basically a community for everything, I hope my mentions of the games get people interested there.

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this thread is forcing me to overshare my pasts :melting_face:

  • How did you first find out about Interactive Fiction?

I was like browsing playstore to find a new game, I was pretty bored with typical mobile games where it was free on install then it forced me to pay to play at optimum capacity, then I met the glorious “Swamp Castle” and I was like, a text-based game? ewwww

  • What’s your favorite thing about IF, particularly CoG/HC/HG text-based games?

but it became the title that made me curious about choice-based games, then I tried “The Great Tournament” , “Choice of Dragon” , “Choice of Pirate” , and “Mercenary’s Life” , basically all those free stuffs, I’m really sorry :crazy_face:

  • Where do readers for text-based RPGs hang out?

“Mercenary’s Life” made me realize that RPG-style is possible in Choicescript, not to mention I’m allowed to learn the script, download their IDE, and they will even help me publish and market my finished work, all for basically free with some cuts here and there which is understandable

although RPG is my preferred genre, it’s pretty damn hard to make, wish me luck :pray:

  • Have you ever recommended a game to others?

I don’t think it would be easy to recommend text-based choice games to anyone here, since my country is famously known for people who don’t like to read, so I’ll just aim for global market using global language, the english :slightly_smiling_face:

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