I Don't Need Air to Breathe

Player Rating4.61/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 15 ratings since 07/06/2020
played 132 times (finished 16)

Story Difficulty4/8

"march in the swamp"

Play Length4/8

"A well spent lunch break"

Maturity Level5/8

"aren't you a little too old to be trick or treating"
Some material may be inappropriate for persons under age 13. If this were a movie, it would probably be PG-13.

Submission for Mizal's "Welcome to the Jungle" noob contest.

A story about having a second chance at existence. With some twists. 

[Writers note: Though this is a CYS game, this is a lot more linear than most CYS games tend to be. There are still some different routes to explore, though!]

Player Comments

Now this storygame certainly surprised me. At the time of writing it is rated a 4.61. I'm am of the oppoien that this storygame is very underrated. It isn't the best thing I've ever read, but it sits at a comfortable 12k words, making it a pretty short read and easy to recommend. My main flaws with it stem from this short word count, because there is a lot more that could be done. This was however done for a contest, something that makes me apperate it even more.

The first thing I would like to discuss about this game is something that I think is important to any story, and that is character. I enjoyed the characters in this story. The main character in particular is intresting to me since she has elements of her past self, mixed in with her programming. This makes for an intresting dynamic. There is also Jared. I liked that he moved onto another person within the two years she was gone. It is very realistic, seeing as he looked for something to fill the void. I also like that he already got the new girl pregneant around the 1 year mark as that is filling another void in the form of his daughter that died where she died. Jared lost everything in that car crash, and had to move on. I also really like the protag's reaction to this, as from her perseptive witin a year he had already moved on enough to get another girl pregenant.

Now the second thing I want to talk about is the branching. This is easily the worst thing about the game. The game is short, and there isn't that much branching going on, or at least it doesn't feel like there is. While there may have been six endings, it feels like there was room for so much more. The only path I wasn't a big fan of was the one where you tackled the military with Jared. I just didn't feel like it gelled well with the other paths. The path where you screw that one guy was funny though. I liked how he was outraged because he "fucked a plastic person."

Now there are other things, but that is the main jist of my thoughts on the story. There were a few spelling errors here and there, but overall it was pretty good. I liked the writing, and I don't really see why it is rated so low. I'm torn between a 5 and a 6, but I think i'm going to have to give it a 5
-- MicroPen on 7/25/2020 3:56:50 AM with a score of 0
I'm not sure "linear" is the word I'd use to describe this storygame. There are, after all, six endings (not counting the fact that several lead to the same epilogue) spread over the course of twelve thousand words. However, there were certainly some missed opportunities, and Lauren's erratic behavior could be hard to keep up with.

Certainly, this is an engaging story, and never bored me. The premise actually reminded me of the Bionic Woman, in that she was rescued from death by a high-tech program and imbued with all sorts of super-talents. (That said, I don't recall Jaime Sommers ever creating earthquakes by sending sonic waves out of her fingertips.)

The set-up in the warehouse, along with the flashbacks (interesting that Lauren had vivid, personal memories of her death, as well the funeral in which she never actually attended since her body was switched with a mannequin) doesn't completely jive with the story that follows. Here's this super-secret, super-expensive prototype super-soldier busting out of her not-so-super holding facility (in which, mind you, the fire suppression system is what causes the fire to spread), and no one comes after her. In fact, it's up to Lauren to track down her enemy; he can't be bothered to retrieve his own project himself.

The writing itself was fine. The dialogue conveyed some sense of character and motivation, and I had a good idea of how each scene was structured. What bothered me was the sheer implausibility of certain details. First, the whole bit about telling her parents she was sent by God seemed completely pointless. Second, no one would take up a collection to rebuild a car in which their child died (the car would be totaled by the insurance company and sent to the scrap heap). Third, sergeants may be respected members of the military, but they are relatively low on the pecking order.

Throughout the various branches, there was a lot of unevenness to Lauren's character: very robotic and out of touch in some cases, over-the-top insane in others, or completely eager to reenter her old life in the middle pages. There are only really a few places where she uses her new abilities, including one scene where she's breaking into a store to steal an "outfit," or another where she's ripping the throats out of her husband's new family. There really is no one, consistent character that the reader can help steer toward a successful outcome; she doesn't really know who she is herself, and doesn't seem to become her own person until that epilogue.

In short, this is a fun story, but one in which the elements don't always seem to belong to the same plot line. I rated it a 5/8.
-- Bill_Ingersoll on 7/20/2020 10:12:52 PM with a score of 0
The first part of any storygame is experienced through the description. Canary has been around awhile to where I know there's quality, but any sort of disclaimer or apology doesn't make me enter the story with much positivity. If the story tends to be more linear, let us experience it; if you tell us that in the description, then we'll read the story from that lens.

Right away, a question pops into my mind. Do people wearing scrubs need to wear an apron? Isn't that the point of the scrubs? Nevermind. Let's continue. Just from the first page, clearly there is an issue with grammar. We'll see if that continues throughout the story. Besides the misspelling of "analyze," there's also sentences such as this:

"They wear matching black suits with white dress shirts underneath, and dull black ties."

Besides the clunkiness of the sentence, "dull black ties" is not an independent clause. You wouldn't connect those two clauses with a comma + and unless both sides of the comma were independent clauses. As this is a hobby site, minor errors are forgivable...as long as they aren't a systematic problem. Also, I'm sure someone else has mentioned the paragraph breaks in dialogue. The first few are rather off. Let's see if it continues. It does, but it's not too distracting from the story.

As far as prior history goes, I like how this story handled it. At first, there's a sense that you're an OP one-of-a-kind badass -- a role that I'm all too familiar with IRL -- but the backstory helps create a believable framework for the main character. It creates a relatable bond between the main character and the reader, which only adds to the immersion.

The main drawback of the story itself, grammar aside, is the pacing. Now some of that can be attributed to the contest time limit, but there really is no excuse when it comes to a published storygame. While the beginning felt fine, the story felt accelerated at a pace too quick for the setting.

That being said, the setting itself was interesting and immersive. There were no parts of the story that felt boring or drawn-out. It's a fast-paced story, but it draws you in because of that fact. The story may have a mid-average rating, but it feels slightly above that due to the environment, writing style, and grand nature setting. I ended up giving a 5/8.
-- ninjapitka on 7/18/2020 12:32:02 AM with a score of 0
Man, there isnt really a whole lot of branching but this was pretty great.

It reminds me of that other story you wrote in some ways but its even better. Your writing has improved a lot and I really enjoyed this.
-- corgi213 on 7/15/2020 3:00:50 PM with a score of 0
Lauren's certainly got some Hard Feelings, doesn't she?

SPOILERS: Holy shit, this story is all over the place in nearly every conceivable aspect. Emotionally, situationally, I mean, it's nuts. Highly entertaining to be sure, but there are definitely some issues with how you structured and led the this narrative.

We start with a deeply sympathetic character trying to cope with androidhood and the fact that her lover has moved on after she died. I liked this setup, and while the dialogue was like 80% hit, 20% miss, that kind of setup is ridiculously tough to write anyways. You did really well with it.

Naturally the story needs to escalate from here, and you have two stances you can take based on your situation, and both pigeonhole you into things you probably wouldn't want to do. You can choose to not forgive your former lover and then hunt them down at their house later and commit infanticide or you can assault an Air Force base and murder the "Sergeant".

This might be an issue for only me but the way the base was portrayed kept taking me out of the story during that path, being intimately familiar with them. I mean, the "Sergeant" having the nicest house on the base is enough alone, his rank is never disclosed but if his name is anything to go by, he's enlisted. So, he's probably not in charge. I just imagined that dude from Avatar that fights in the mech suit at the end of the movie.

Either of these paths would have benefitted from an extra choice here and there, giving an option to Lauren to contain her grief or unleash it as she mandatorily does. I think it would've added a lot of extra meaning to the endings you wrote.

The prowling bit was pretty weird and paints a very interesting picture of the world our protagonist is living in, but hey, it was pretty funny lol.

There was a decent collection of spelling and punctuation errors, some that were kinda blatant. However, I'm glad to see you publish this, as it's good and I enjoyed it despite all the criticism. 5/8.

-- TheChef on 7/12/2020 9:46:31 PM with a score of 0
Looking at this purely in comparison to Canary's last story about a super powered person killing their way through a bunch of folks, this one is a big improvement. Androids are always cool, and this gal had a compelling backstory and at least some motivations and other forces driving her along.

The bit in the description about it being extremely linear in places is not a lie though. There's a decent number of endings, it's just that we often have zero control over the character when important things are happening. The things she told her parents and what happened with the baby, those two in particular left a sour taste. Even if they'd led to immediate endings, there really needed to be choices there.

As for other issues, the punctuation is a little rough and I was seeing other signs that more time spent proofreading would have improved this. You also don't need the giant dang gaps splitting apart dialogue, Canary. In something like:

>>>Shirley responds, "I'm not sure. I was running some basic maintenance to make sure her systems were running fine, I think she's developing further. Her light receptors never made her wake up in the past, it seems they've developed further."<<<

That's all one sentence. You want some space around that separating it from actions that non-Shirley people take, but you don't actually need to break the sentence apart. Especially when the Rich Text Editor wants to put those comically large paragraph spaces in.

But the writing itself is well done, and there were some genuinely emotional moments. Approaching the parents' house and having so many memories suddenly return was pretty touching, even if I didn't care for all the elaborate lies she suddenly started spouting...none of that seemed to mesh with what we knew of the character, memories of her upbringing or her actual programming and it just felt uncomfortable and out of place, kind of ruined the happy reunion to make it all based on lies.)

I think the first page maaaay have gone on a little long however. Since you didn't get a choice in dealing with Shirley and the others, and they weren't particularly important to the plot except as fodder, I wonder if it wouldn't have been more effective to have the story start out with you standing over their bodies, with just a smidgen of backstory from there.

Getting a truly happy ending in that situation would have been difficult, so I respect the choice to lean heavily on tragedy. Although I can't help but think the shady military peeps could've had their shit together a little more (surely they'd have had some way to track their amazing state of the art killing machine?) and at least a couple of endings should've involved their interference.

Props to Jared's for wanting to go after THEM by the way. That was unexpected. (Although he seems to have purchased the brass balls at the expense of his intelligence and sense of self preservation...)

Nothing compares to the beautiful hero that was NOT A HOMO MAN however. Favorite ending, hands down.

-- mizal on 7/12/2020 5:03:00 PM with a score of 0
This was awesome. I loved the concept, and that there's no happy ending, which makes sense if you're half-robot that's been ostracised for the past two years. It was really well written, and I loved how much you went in depth with the backstory, which meant I could really connect with Lauren.

At times, the superpowers she had felt a bit unrealistic, but then this is a sci-fi, so that's only to be expected. I can see the link to the 'Welcome to the Jungle' theme, although it would have been nice if you'd made one reference to it.

Apart from that, amazing story! 7/8
-- ApprenticePortentous on 7/12/2020 7:12:13 AM with a score of 0
I really enjoyed that. Very interesting and unique premise. The main character was interesting and I definitely got invested in her story.

Spelling and grammar were great. I do think the story could've been expanded on a lot, but then, contest deadline and all that, you put together something really speacial with the time you had. Great job. ^_^
-- Avery_Moore on 7/7/2020 12:43:12 PM with a score of 0
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