Paper-Mache

Player Rating5.13/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 19 ratings since 08/16/2019
played 136 times (finished 27)

Story Difficulty3/8

"trek through the forest"

Play Length6/8

"It'll be a while, better grab a Snickers®"

Maturity Level3/8

"must be at least this tall to play"
Contains content that may not be suitable for persons under age 10. If this were a movie, it would probably be between G and PG.

You wake up in the middle of the forest at night, with no memory of how you got there.  All you have is a backpack full of Cheez-Its and other essential supplies, along your own wits to help you on your way.  As you explore this strange land, you'll find things you never knew could exist, (at least, not that you can remember).  You'll meet strange creatures, some friend, others not, and maybe, just maybe, recover your lost memories...

 

My (rather rushed), entry for the Lone Hero contest.  I'll be the first to admit that not all the endings will make you any sort of hero, lone or otherwise, (mainly the ones where you run away from just about every source of conflict, and/or die).  But if you're brave enough to do what you think is right, even though it may result in your untimely demise, you may just make yourself a hero yet.  In that light, I guess you could say you're a reluctant Lone Hero.  

While each route of this story can be understood to some degree on it's own, it is important to play every branch to fully understand the greater story that's being told.  I have no intention of revealing everything on the first play through, you'll have to take the time to explore everything to learn all it's secrets.

 

By the way, on the off chance that you find any glitches or bugs, please tell me.  I'd like to know so I can fix them.

Player Comments

With the author being pretty much a complete unknown, I was pleasantly surprised to see a story of this size released, and a good one too.

However, I could tell it was a little rushed even without the disclaimer, because there were some punctuation and spelling issues a good proofreading would have caught. (Take some time to learn how dialogue is punctuated, for one. It's inconsistent throughout this, and just fyi we do have an article on that. As for spelling, two things I kept noticing: kidnapping is spelled with a double p and 'horde' is an angry mob. A hoard is a heap of treasure. I can send a full list if there's any plan to take this down later and polish it up a bit.)

The first path I went through was a little unsatisfying as I felt like I got railroaded into helping a dick. This was also the silliest path as it involved an entire army 'sneaking' up to the home of the apparently incredibly incompetent head guard and having a noisy fight in his backyard someone without waking him up or anyone else trying to get involved.

Acting not quite so heroically a couple times in the beginning however opened the story up a lot more than expected, and I found a good amount of branching here. My favorite path was putting an end to the experimentation. (Although a minor error with that one was the way you could repeatedly go to the containment area or the lab and get the same text; some variable restrictions or $PAGETEXT changes would've fixed that easily enough.

It seemed like the Fantasy Commie ending was presented as the happiest one, it put a sociopathic asshole who harmed children and was mistrusted by his own people in charge, and I couldn't buy that that would turn out so well or that everyone wouldn't be worse off than they started.

Related, I'm not sure if it was intentional or an oversight that on one of the endings most dedicated to fighting the king (and the one that seems easiest to get) you never actually see the king or any of his people in action and are left committing to some drastic courses of action with only Bolard's word to go on.

But I really did enjoy the details of the alien world, and learning about the Paper Mache people. It was all strangely endearing. And the main character felt like some awesome, unstoppable badass, despite presumably being some out of shape, Mountain Dew chugging neckbeard in our reality. Although perhaps that's selling him a bit short...he may have lost his memory, but based on the conclusions we can draw from his memory of the disk, he's got a brilliant scientific mind to combine with all the natural physical advantages. And he seemed incredibly compassionate about the dyslexic Oakwardens, given he was thinking things like 'maybe I'm the REAL monster here....' while fighting off kidnappers who were trying to kill him. What I'm getting at is that he'd be pretty impressive as a ruler, and it was a little disappointing there wasn't a path where you could wipe out both the shitty king AND the shitty rebels and just take over.

All in all I really enjoyed this and hope to see more from the author soon. There's a lot of imagination on display here and I always like it when a fantasy story steps outside the box from the typical expectations of the genre.
-- mizal on 8/20/2019 10:26:47 PM with a score of 0
So on my first read-through, I was having the same experience that TurnipBandit had, in which I was just meeting the villagers when on the next page I'm getting shanghaied into a rebellion, and then lured into a counter-rebellion a short time later. Things progressed so quickly that I saw no reason to trust any of those characters. I was starting to think I was reading another rushed-to-completion contest entry.

"'Sounds like something a teenager would come up with for a writing contest,' you say, rolling your eyes." That's an actual quote copied out of the story.

But then I went back to the beginning and tried another route. This led to an admirable amount of branching, where the various story lines seemed a bit better planned out. There is one central scenario to this overall story, and many of the branches address some facet of that central plot. No one branch is all-satisfactory, but then that's the trick of a good CYOA: that's what keeps the reader in the story, going back to see what happens when you choose X instead of Y.

That can be a risky endeavor, but it's what I used myself in my most recent storygame. So despite my weak first impression, I became an admirer of this story the more I kept reading. What I expected to be a short reading session extended for several hours.

There are a lot of damsels in distress early in the story, which somehow seems so un-2019. And yes, "you" are the lone hero who gets guilted into rescuing them. But then a lot of your adversaries later in the game turn out to be female, so the women in this world range from helpless kidnap victims to grief-stricken mothers to agents of paper-mache fury.

I had very few gripes. One was the abundance of parenthetical comments, which struck me as being a sign of hesitance or insecurity in the writing style. These comments seemed intended to clarify and reiterate, as if the writer felt self-conscious while writing the story. It was a little bit like a distracting tic in the writing style.

Also, early in the story there were options to do nothing while someone was obviously in harm. These non-heroic options led to fully branched out storylines. This was disconcerting in that I could choose to be a non-hero in the first couple rounds, and then diving into the action later. I guess I really was choosing my own adventure, by biding my time and waiting for a really good one to come along.

But when the action did start, I thought it was easy to be brave and courageous when you're surrounded by pinatas.

A couple of other lines stood out to me as being worthy of comment:

"The next two weeks are a blur. You train for six hours a day, preparing for the big day." All that training just to flick my Bic?

"You may not be afraid of beavers as you know them, but there's always that chance that 'beaver' means something different in this place than what you know." Well, yeah, where I come from the word "beaver" does have multiple meanings...

All in all, this was a gem of a story. Sure, there's a little room for improvement, but it's worth spending a few hours wandering around in this world.
-- Bill_Ingersoll on 8/17/2019 1:06:47 AM with a score of 0
This was a neat story. It was pretty well written and the characters were pretty unique. I'll start out with some things I did enjoy, then get into a few things I wasn't a huge fan of.

I really liked the idea of having people made of paper mache. It is a pretty unique idea and one that is open to tons of possibilities. I think you also managed to portray just how powerful a human would be against them. I mean, we literally punch someone in the face and they just drop dead. The idea of water being terrifying to them is also really interesting. I probably wouldn't have thought of that, but it certainly makes the castles moat a rather dangerous idea.

I also thought the characters were well written. Pila was adorable, Bolard seemed like an opportunist, even the guys we saved Pila from in the beginning manage to have some personality. It really benefits these kind of stories when you make the characters, well, worth interacting with. So good work on that.

My only real gripes were that I don't feel things were as fleshed out as they could've been. Everything felt like it happened really fast, if that makes sense. Like, one moment we're meeting the captain of the guard and the next we're with a bunch of rebels about to storm the kings castle. It could just be me though. I was also confused on if everything was paper mache, or just the people. Like the owls in the beginning were talked about like they were normal owls, but the "humans" of this world are paper mache. Maybe I just need to finish all the routes (or I'm just over thinking it). And finally, there were a few places where the text size (and maybe font) differed. It is a minor gripe no doubt, but I just thought I'd mention it.

Anyway, I did enjoy reading this jster02. It was definitely a fun read.
-- TurnipBandit on 8/16/2019 3:17:07 PM with a score of 0
Paper-Mache was a surprisingly fun story that was pretty good.
I liked at the beginning where it’s like, “what kind of person are you?” when the main character finds his bag full of Cheez-Its and Mountain Dew. Throughout the story the narration is fairly amusing. It seems like something written by a teenager, but in an amusing way rather than an obnoxious one. I particularly like the disclaimer at the end of several of the paths.

I had not been expecting the sort of fairy tale setting when I started this story. Perhaps I should have paid more attention, but it was a pleasant surprise to realize the sort of world the story was in at the same time the main character did. It was pretty well described, I thought. I could picture the world in my head.
I wonder where the author got the idea for the paper mache guys. It’s certainly very cool and interesting. I haven’t seen one like that before.

Some things could have been laid out a bit better, especially in the part where you go looking around the underground base. When you leave a room there, it takes you back to the previous page which shows things as if you are just going out into the hall for the first time. It kind of broke the flow a bit. Maybe a page in between those choices that said something like, “would you like to do something else” would have been better.
Additionally, I think the two paths where you save Pila could have just been made into one. After all, they are nearly identical, and a quarter of the story is a lot to repeat for no reason. I think I would have had a better opinion of the story if I hadn’t read the same bit twice for no reason.

Aside from what I mentioned, the branching was very nice, and the endings were all pretty fun. (It’s spelled ‘epilogue’, by the way.) My favorite endings were the Fire Epilogue and the one where the main character goes back home and starts over with not knowing anything again. That was cool.

If , for some strange reason, you read reviews before you read stories, you don’t mind some fourth wall breaking, and you are looking for a nice read that isn’t too long, give Paper-Mache a try.


-- Cricket on 10/1/2019 12:07:02 AM with a score of 0
Before I begin, I'd like to acknowledge that the interesting premise was executed competently. The supporting characters are believable and the writing serves to enhance the fantastical atmosphere. However, they weren't particularly developed at all. Nor did they prompt the protagonist to really change throughout the story. This all led to a disappointingly lackluster experience in an otherwise intriguing, light-hearted and endearing tale about paper-mache people.

I think the primary issue, however, lies in this storygame's scope and pacing. As others have already mentioned, we never really grasp a sense of time or place - which is a real detriment in a story that bases its premise on a transportation to another world. We should be enchanted by this new setting. Instead, we are whisked around by the plot. This is particularly evident in the 'rebel' path, which I assume is the rushed portion of the game. Instead of hastily finishing this one, I believe more time should have been allocated to enhancing the other paths. When you consider that this is also a contest entry, ensuring you have an appropriate scope would help to safeguard against running out of time.

As a final point to add, I didn't feel particularly heroic going around punting and burning literal midgets made of paper. That's just me though.

With more time, I'm certain that I would find this storygame more enjoyable - so that I could rate it higher than a 5/8. Thank you for the breath of fresh air, however. Your vision for this fantasy was unique and charming.
-- Ozoni on 9/28/2019 3:51:53 AM with a score of 0
I get that this was written under the time constraint of a contest, but nevertheless almost all the paths end abruptly for no apparent reason. The only one that goes to the end is the true path, and even that path feels rushed at the end. It also makes no sense that the true path isn’t even the one that reveals the mystery of the character’s missing memory. Still, the writing and premise was interesting and engaging throughout. 5/8
-- Victim on 9/26/2019 1:07:19 AM with a score of 0
I briefly played through this story upon its release. Reading all the positive comments, I have the feeling I rushed through and did not give it justice. Plus, there were several contest pieces being published so that could have “mudded up” my interest in the story. At the time of writing this sentence, I am about to re-read Paper-Mache. I originally rated it slightly above average, but I’m interested to see if a second time around will change that.
I can’t argue that the beginning is an interesting start. There are tons of questions initially because you’re simply thrust into a dire situation with no background. For some reason, it doesn’t draw me in as well as it should. It could be the repetitive nature of “something familiar, but I can’t quite put my finger on it” sentences. It could be the voice of the narrator. I just can’t put my finger on it.

The entire story does have a certain magical air to it, almost Disney-like. Well to be more accurate, it’s fairytale-like. The uniqueness of the setting is quite powerful as I don’t think I’ve read a story on here like this one. For some reason, the Paper-Mache creatures remind me of Ewoks. Only less fuzzy and primitive. Actually, they’re more like those creatures hidden in Breath of the Wild that go “Wa-ho-ho, you found me!”

I will say the change in fonts is distracting. I tend to lower my rating a full point (sometimes more in extreme cases) if the simple visuals are off. If the author returns to fix the font, I’d probably increase my rating.

The dead branch with Bolard seems to take a while, but I’m glad it’s there. My main issue was the series of long pages with single links just to hit a choice between four “End Game” links. I’m just glad there’s a dead branch included. It does feel as if it would have been a full path if the author had more time. Contest deadlines tend to do that sort of thing.

Oh wait was that the main path? The increase in sudden “End Game” links made it seem like a dead branch. Perhaps I missed something, but none of the endings felt complete. The only real choices come near the end of the story and don’t really branch out at all. The world was solidly built and the sudden end kind of leaves a gaping hole in what could have been. It feels like a grand tale that cut off prematurely.
-- ninjapitka on 9/24/2019 6:43:33 PM with a score of 0
That game was kinda cute. Such a weird little premise for a story to wake up and find yourself in a world where everybody is made of paper-mache. Kind of put me in mind of Gulliver’s Travels a little, being a giant in a world of little people.

The writing was very good, only noticed a couple of spelling and grammar mistakes. But I think my favourite part about this game was that, even at the very end, I can’t really tell whether I made the right choices or not… I mean… You can save the world from an evil tyrant… But put a guy who thinks it’s okay to kidnap and do experiments on little children in charge instead. Alternatively, you can betray the creepy child experiment guy… But then the kingdom’s still ruled by an evil tyrant. Either way, the poor little paper-mache people are fucked… I really like that. It’s much more fun than a choice where one option is clearly evil and the other is clearly good. If a game can make me look at the screen and think for a few seconds before I actually make my choice, then that gets bonus points from me.

Now, to what I found kind of disappointing about this game… Well… The people are made of paper-mache. That would be really interesting except… Well… That’s all. That’s like… What the whole game revolves around. Everything else about the world is normal. It has trees and animals and stuff. The only difference between this world and our own is that… You know… People made of paper-mache. I do love stories that are intentionally weird and supernatural, but the weirdness kind of has to be consistent. For instance, stories like Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan and The Chronicles of Narnia, all have a million and one different things about their worlds that make them so weird and magical. This world has… Well… People made of paper-mache. While a great start, I think there kind of needs to be more to it. If a world has talking animals, living inanimate objects, potions that make you grow or shrink, unbirthday parties and riddles with no answers, you think to yourself, “This world is a really weird and interesting place.” If the world has people made of paper-mache, you think to yourself, “Why the hell is everyone here made of paper-mache.” … What’s more, you think, “Why the hell aren’t the animals made of paper-mache?” I mean, if there was any explanation, like the whole world is one big art project made by a child, that’d be okay, but since there never is any explanation on where you are or why you’re there… Well… It just leaves me wishing that the world had more weird stuff in it.

All in all though, it was an enjoyable read. And considering it was a contest entry that only gave you a month to finish it, I’d say you did a pretty great job.
-- Avery_Moore on 9/19/2019 2:51:17 PM with a score of 0
Certainly one of the better stories I’ve read on this site, after all of End’s and Mizal’s stories. This was clearly a well planned-out story, and with many endings and branches. Certainly a lot of effort was put into it.

This story needs a lot more recognition, as it is already quite good.

Grammar, which is normally something I’m picky about in stories, is flawless.

The characters were well-crafted, each one so real I could imagine them standing next to me as I write this review.

The plot was quite suspenseful, and page after page kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

As I write this review, I hope that it points more CYStians in the direction of this story, in order for it to get more recognition. The fact that it was simply recommended for CYS book club wasn’t enough, I believe it needs a bit more.

This is a stay-up-late, read-alone story which took me a while to find all of the endings.
-- The_Broken_God on 9/18/2019 10:11:36 PM with a score of 0
Before reading Paper-Mache, I was told numerous times by various people that this story was great. With that, I began reading with high expectations - and I was not disappointed.

PLOT
This is truly a creative storyline; a great example of a common wildly used topic with a creative twist. The story's progression depends on the choices you make, the game taking multiple plays to truly understand the storyline.
Paper-Mache's plot is great, something I would gladly give a glowing 7/8.

Characters
Now, the characters were a real heartbreaker, especially the main character. Many characters were unrelatable at times, and I have lost all sympathy for the protagonist and his lack of development. Speaking of, most characters lack development, and present development is usually very minor.
The game was made in a hurry, I get it, but character development is one of the most important factors! Wiping tears from my eyes, I give the character and character development category a 2/8.

SETTING / BACKGROUND
The details given were quite good and serve well to help the main plot along. There wasn't too much, nor too little quantity of detail, and for the genre, the detail was just right. It's a balancing act, and I'd say you balanced it decently. I give this category a 6/8.

MORAL OF THE STORY
All in all, this story was interesting, and I am truly glad I gave it a read. I was saddened by the lack of character development, but I am impressed by the story overall!
-- castorgreatpoetguy on 9/1/2019 11:57:32 PM with a score of 0
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