Apostle

Player Rating3.24/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 23 ratings since 08/16/2019
played 118 times (finished 23)

Story Difficulty2/8

"walk in the park"

Play Length2/8

"So short yo' momma thought it was a recipe"

Maturity Level2/8

"choking hazard for children under 4"
Contains content that may not be suitable for persons under age 6. To compare to the movie rating system, this would be G.

Apostle is an informative journey into the early Christian Church, taking place at the end of the first century AD. You are Marcus, a man called by God to travel to Rome, and on your journey you will learn about the Christian faith and the way the first Christians lived.

Player Comments

I was impressed with the quality of the writing and the original topic and setting. I thought it very much addressed the "lone hero" theme in an original way as well, dealing with Christian spiritual heroism rather than more typical martial heroism. And the story itself addressed that issue in the alms/throwing away the sword scene. That was good.

However.

The story is essentially wholly linear, and many of the binary choices are merely encyclopedia entries. Interesting stuff. But not even choices--they are dead ends that end right back at the original choice. The only exception is choosing to stay home (aka, rejecting the premise of the game, leading to a swift end, which is a really tired design choice). Choosing the sword leads to a scene of throwing the sword away, which is thematically neat, but has the effect of negating the choice I made.

Finally, of course, the game is unfinished. In spite of that, I think there is something here to like, and I hope the author finishes it. It shows hard work in polishing the prose.
-- Gower on 8/20/2019 6:50:47 PM with a score of 0
OK, so the writing is competent, the historical research seems detailed, and the writer seems to have a genuine interest in the subject matter. The encyclopedia sidebars are an interesting way to present the information, and yes, I did learn a few things.

But I have some major reservations:

(1) What exactly does this have to do with a "lone hero"? I assume Marcus, heading off to Rome on his own, is intended to fill that role. However, in what little bit of the story that has been revealed so far, this doesn't really seem to meet the contest criteria. There is no character arc, there is no peril, there is no triumphant victory. Marcus simply hears a voice inside his head, obeys it, and meets some nice people. That's it.

(2) As others have mentioned, the branching is minimal. I read two endings, and I'm pretty sure that's all there is at the moment. The way this is shaping up, the story will be mostly linear, with choices made early affecting the outcome later. I'm not saying that's bad. I'm just observing.

(3) Although this story is very informative, as a non-Christian I have lots of questions about this era that "Apostle" doesn't attempt to answer. It's certainly an interesting perspective to look back to this early period when Christianity was more of a cult than a formal religion, and the people now celebrated as saints were literal martyrs persecuted for their beliefs.

But why did something that began in Israel among the Jews find so much fertile ground in Rome? The Hebrews remained Jewish, but the pagan occupiers became Christian. That's one of several paradoxes I've never been able to satisfactorily explain.

It's pertinent to this story because I think it's key to establishing both the characters and the time period. This is a society that still thought Jupiter was a god, not a planet, and so these early Roman Christians were making a deliberate choice to turn away from the beliefs and traditions of their parents and grandparents. That's a pretty profound decision to make.

So while it's nice to know the different types of swords and daggers one could buy at the market, or to see the Lord's Prayer in Latin, I'm more interested in the demographic shifts that were happening. What segment of the Roman population did Christianity appeal to, and why? What would compel a person to join what was essentially a secret cult at the time? Why was it worth risking their lives?

Smugly suggesting that it was the pursuit of truth or the forgiveness of sins isn't enough; that implies these people understood the old gods to be false, and that they saw themselves as sinners requiring forgiveness. There had to be something more basic than that. The new cult of Christianity had to be meeting some cultural need, which would explain why it took root in southern Europe instead of, say, the Near East or northern Africa.

None of this needs to be explained in significant detail in an "edutainment" storygame. But these characters were people who were faced with the actual decision to worship either Jupiter or the Hebrew god -- and they made a rather peculiar decision, considering the times in which they lived. If the author can understand the reasons why in his own mind, it might help him draw the characters more insightfully, and establish the perils of their times with more clarity.

Otherwise where I see this going, when the story is built out and expanded (as I certainly hope it will be), is a rather dry and stilted retelling of Important Events leading to an Inevitable Outcome. I'd rather read a more immersive tale that helped me understand these people and their decisions better. Hopefully, I'm not asking too much of a believer to step back and take a more objective look at the origins of his faith.
-- Bill_Ingersoll on 8/16/2019 6:39:33 PM with a score of 0
So, I really am conflicted on this story. Theology is both one of my favorite subjects, and very important to me, so I was very interested in this story. And in some ways the story delivered, while in other ways it really did not. I'll start by talking about the good.

The encyclopedia entries were rather interesting. Not much new information in there for me but I always do enjoy when stories add entries like this. It's just a bit of extra work that I feel adds a lot to story. I also felt that this story touched upon an era of Christianity that most modern christians are not readily aware of. Using CYOA games as an educational medium to teach about somewhat obscure topics is something I am always a fan of. But now that leads me to the negatives.

The story felt very short. My first playthrough was literally six pages. In that time, it felt like honestly not much happened. Another major problem was the lack of meaningful choices, or really, any choice at all on some pages. The story wasn't badly written by any means, but it was very clearly unfinished. I understand that you say you ran out of time but you had over a month to write this. I really do think that you can make this into a very interesting and informative story if you spend more time on it, and if you do add more I will happily reread and re-review this. But for now I honestly can't recommend this.

Either way, it was an interesting read, and I really hope you do something with this story in the future.
-- TurnipBandit on 8/16/2019 3:58:24 PM with a score of 0
“he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” (Luke 22:36) 1/8
-- Victim on 9/26/2019 3:09:09 PM with a score of 0
I enjoyed this story. It was a nice quick read and was very informative. It was a nice set up to what could be a tale of a boy going and doing great things in the name of god. Unfortunately that is not what this story is. It is a fraction of that. The humble beginnings. It teases the reader with an amazing journey only to end it before it starts with a to be continued. As much as this stories writing amazes me, this fatal flaw costs it so much. It had so much potential too! I hope that you actually get around to finishing it because I have a feeling that if you were too, this would become at least a 5 out of 8. If not a 6 out of 8.

The to be continued is not my only problem with the story however. The other thing is the branching. The branching in this story is very minimal. The only choice that has any impact at all is on the first page, and that leads to a two page path that ends in death. The only other choice this story offers changes about half if one page later down the line. All the other links give you history information, and that is good. But not if it is a replacement for the choices. Choices are what make a cyoa a cyoa. I do not mind gauntlets, but at least throw in some one or two death paths every once and a while. I would call necromancer a gauntlet, and it is my favorite story on the site!

In conclusion this story is good. Though the incompleteness and lack of branching hold it back a lot. I am on the line between 3 and 4. While I am leaning on 3 I can't give this story that because I have rated worse stories a 3. 4 out of 8

-- Serpent on 8/24/2019 6:50:33 PM with a score of 0
I really wanted to give this a higher rating. You have a natural talent for the writing itself and you've obviously done your research. It all flows so smoothly and invites the reader to settle down for this epic adventure...and then just abruptly ends with a To Be Continued.

There really are no choices in what's here either which was another factor I had to take into account. In the end it's just a demo, and that's so frustrating when it gives all the signs of being the start of something really good and refreshingly different that the author is obviously passionate about. The subject and time period itself is of interest to a lot of us here, and I'd have appreciated the encyclopedia entries a lot more if they hadn't taken the place of actual choices. I wouldn't mind seeing more history stories follow that example.

Zealot, I hope you do return to this to expand and actually finish it. Just take it down and copy what you have over to a fresh storygame that isn't marked with a publication date, then release it as brand new when it more resembles the story you wanted to tell.
-- mizal on 8/21/2019 9:45:01 PM with a score of 0
This has been a very informative and well written story. It's no CYOA by any means with almost no choices written. I'm very much looking forward to the rest of the story.

I've always enjoyed early christian history and love that the history of the symbol of the fish was included. All I knew about it before was that someone would draw the greek letter Alpha into the dirt and the other christian would complete the symbol by closing the end and turn it into a fish. I didn't know it had more significance than that before now.

Thank you for the story Zealot.
-- DerPrussen on 8/20/2019 9:09:41 PM with a score of 0
A Bit light in the CYOA department perhaps
-- BerkaZerka on 8/16/2019 3:34:48 PM with a score of 0
Very informative take upon early christianity. Would prefer if it had not ended in ¨to be continued¨but you can't have everything in life.
-- White_Rose on 8/16/2019 11:53:05 AM with a score of 0
As a Christian myself, this was quite a lot of fun. It was cool to learn a little bit more about the origins of my faith through an interactive game like this. It's a real shame you haven't gotten to finish it yet, especially since I sort of got the sense that the plot was really going to pick up once I met Clement. (But I totally get it. I know I had to cut a lot out of my entry that I would've liked to include as well).

The encyclopedia entries were a nice touch, adding a little more depth to the game each time they came up. The story about the mining camp was particularly intriguing, as I'd never actually heard it before. (Granted, it's not in the bible so far as I know, unless of course I've been blind enough not to have read it after all these years).

The only thing I thought was just a little bit lacking were the choices. None of them had a significant, lasting effect on the plot. (Besides the choice to stay home at the beginning, but that only lasted two pages). Yes, the choice to buy the dagger or give the alms was pretty well done, but from what I can tell it didn't change much beyond that conversation in the night. It would've been cool to have, say, a choice of professions or something. (But of course, it's your story, you can do what you want, and I get that there was a time crunch. I'm sure it'll branch out a little more when you continue it).

Anyway, best of luck on the contest! Can't wait to see this when it's finished in a few months.
-- jster02 on 8/16/2019 11:20:12 AM with a score of 0
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