Pitka's Fables

Player Rating4.72/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 26 ratings since 12/29/2019
played 204 times (finished 32)

Story Difficulty3/8

"trek through the forest"

Play Length3/8

"A nice jog down the driveway"

Maturity Level6/8

"I'll need to see some identification"
Some material may be inappropriate for persons under age 16. If this were a movie, it would probably between PG-13 and R.

Hello. It's me, Pitka ("Ninja" to my friends), your morality guide. Together, we will embark on a journey filled with lessons on life and ethical behavior, while having fun along the way, of course!

I've written a series of short fables for your benefit. Come, take my hand as we navigate through life's innermost difficulties.

Author's note:

Entry for Bucky's Year's End Contest.

Player Comments

Unlike many games on CYS, this game has an almost literary quality, and it poses a sort of literary question, of precisely the sort that I frequently post to my students to their boredom and sudden muteness: what do you do with a story that suddenly "breaks" in the middle and feels like two different stories?

You can say that the author has lost control or that the story is bad or annoying or something like that, and sometimes that's the case. However, having read Ninja's other work, and knowing that he knows his way around a narrative, I'd rather trust the author and poke at the storygame and see what's interesting here. And there is a lot.

The first part professes to teach us some morals, and these morals don't all hang together well--it's not clear to me how you would "know your place" but also "question everything"--or exactly placing the "overall" ahead of "your viewpoint" works with helping in a way that is "tailored to your personal talent." The morals often interestingly clash and butt up against each other in a designedly incoherent way.

If that were it, I don't think there would be much here--it would be, with apologies to Mizal, another version of "Now You Gotta Deal With This S***"--a collection of short pieces stuck together.

And if the second half, a suddenly embittered whirlwind of a narrator, quick to turn on the reader, were all there were, I don't think there would be much here either--it would be just sudden venom, exhaustion, sometimes in a "gotcha" voice and sometimes in a sarcastic, nasty voice, but always unpleasant.

But it's the connection of the two halves that makes this story work. Here's why: you can slowly see the narrator responding to his own morals, hearing the hoary and really rather boring lessons ("Pride blinds you from Potential," gee, thanks) as attacks on himself and his own accomplishment, in life as a whole, but more particularly his own writing, and the collapse of the story sort of becomes the point. You can do a truly shit job of writing a story about a story collapsing, but this one is not that. There's control in the way the morals get echoed (annoyingly so) in the narrative--suddenly ideas like "personal talent"; "your viewpoint"; "potential"; "knowing your place"--all of these become taken by the narrator as attacks almost on the part of the reader choosing these stories.

Is it the most pleasant thing to watch a story and narrator implode? Not at all. But interesting art is often pretty abrasive. In the hands of a worse writer, this story technique would lead to something pretty laughable. But in Ninja's hands, I think he has created something interesting and memorable.
-- Gower on 12/30/2019 5:25:12 PM with a score of 0
I'm shocked that I found this entertaining haha.
-- CarterBrazensky on 4/2/2020 2:11:53 AM with a score of 0
This was intriguing. Before I spoil anything, you need to play this game first. Reading a review of it will spoil everything unique about it. So GO PLAY THE GAME. I will tell you right off the bat that it is worth picking up. If you are reading this, then you have some interest in it or the author, so just do it.

With that out of the way this game can be split into two parts. The first part is the fables, and the second is the mental breakdown portion of it. While I prefer the latter, they both were very good.

The fables themselves were fairly well done. I did go back and read all of them, and I liked them all. My favorite was the sages, but they are all worth a read. I'm not sure if you wrote all the fables, but if you did that is even more impressive. While they all are pretty generic, I like that they focused on a particular theme and were normally pretty short. All in all, not bad.

Then there is the depression section. I tend to like the games that introduce meta elements, especially when they are executed well. It sure is a good thing that this story was executed very well. This section makes up a good portion of the story, and nearly all of the branching. The story isn’t very long by any means, but it is enjoyable.

In conclusion I like this story. It is well done, and it combines two concepts I enjoy a lot. I have a fondness for fables, and a fondness for games with meta elements. The branching isn’t very vast, but it works for what it is. This is a story you sit down and read. Then you walk away. It is no masterpiece, but it is solid, and sometimes that’s all a book needs.
-- MicroPen on 1/13/2020 9:59:03 PM with a score of 0
Well, this one was interesting. Spoilers are a part of my review, you have been warned. This started as a cute collection of pretty good children’s fables. I was enjoying clicking through them, and the vague framed story made an enjoyable way to mash them together. That is, it did until Pika god mad.

With the second half taken into account, I am not sure if this fits the prompt of a children’s fable anymore. I wouldn’t slap a “great for children” sticker on this one... I do like the creative approach though. I think that the author did a good job of trying to modify the story to compete with games made for the audience that was going to be judging these, while still technically sticking to his prompt. (It might be hard for a one page story about cute talking animals to compete with the tales of a traveling bard).

Prompt aside, I was torn on this story as I am with all of these “break the forth wall and have the author get mad at the reader” games. This one had a sudden, jarring shift which added to the shock of the second half. It also branched quite a bit for what seemed to be a relatively simply structured game.

Everything was well written, with only minor grammar errors (if any). I apologize, I try to be more detailed, but am unable to right at the moment. My issue with the game was that the choices all led to dark paths where the author was angry. The approach of trying to “psychoanalyze” the reader was clever, but the draw/intrigue of other games like this is how varied the “conversations” and authors attitude was.

For example, to point to another game like this, “private game for Natalie” had a path where “Natalie” and the author were happy, married, and had kids. There was another ending where they were married, but not happy, the author expressing extreme sexual frustration. Go back a few choices and go down a different route, and not only are the two not married, the author is stalking “Natalie”. There were also branches where the author was killing other people “Natalie” was taking to. You get the idea. That variability is what was missing from this (I think).

Even an ending where I left on time and didn’t anger Pika would have been a nice touch. Especially if I wanted to show this game to a kid. I would just always go to that ending with them... either way, as is typical with these type of games, it was an interesting read, but it was not my favorite. I was torn between a lower rating because I didn’t find it personally enjoyable; however, the writing and imagery was so good it deserved a higher one... so my actual rating (a 5) was a compromise between a 4.5 and 5.5/6.
-- Shadowdrake27 on 1/9/2020 8:57:41 PM with a score of 0
I was enjoying it until you decided to spend several pages berating me.
-- Killa_Robot on 1/8/2020 8:21:58 PM with a score of 0
Spoilery things, proceed with caution

I loved the use of images during the fable portion of this. When I noticed it move I felt a chill up my spine.
Overall I liked this story since it feels like you were going for a 'fables are too simple to explore true morality and existence/are only a nice veneer' approach.
-- bilbo on 1/5/2020 10:47:54 PM with a score of 0
My thoughts mostly echo Bill's - with some of Gower's sentiments thrown in. Though, I will add that I think the description page looks really nice with the title font. I'll leave it there because I don't particularly have anything else to add that Bill and Gower haven't already discussed.
-- Bucky on 12/31/2019 12:51:07 PM with a score of 0
So 2019 is turning out to be Year of the Meta Storygame...

There is no way to review Pitka's Fables without addressing the meta-twist, but then again that twist occurs so early in the story that perhaps it really isn't a spoil at all to mention it.

But if you must: SPOILERS (AND NOTHING BUT) BEYOND THIS POINT!

Basically, the premise is that you've been invited to read some Aesop-style fables with Pitka-as-Narrator, and the introductory artwork sets the expectation that "you" are something akin to a child going to the storybook section of a library. The first fable goes well, but Pitka's impatience starts to show after the second. When the third fable is completed, he tells you it's time to go. Then when you pick a fourth (you have to, there is no other option) everything goes off the rails.

The remainder of the storygame -- actually, the bulk of it, as the fable set-up is just a facade -- is a rambling conversation. The fourth wall is instantly deleted, and the whole child / storyteller pretense is flushed away with it. Pitka-as-Narrator has a lot to get off his chest, and the conversation is largely one-sided in his favor. He is a rambling contrarian, at times vindictive, contemplative, vulnerable, manipulative, and quick to bestow labels as a self-defense mechanism. I was reminded of various ... personalities in this aspect.

But yes, contrarian: eager to get sloshed on Johnny Walker Red Label in one ending, and one back button later threatening to pour his liquor down the drain, using his goals of self-improvement as vengeance against you over some perceived slight.

In "Private Game for Natalie," you (as Natalie) could play a role in shaping your relationship with "Gower" through your choice in responses, either to a sweetly sentimental conclusion or to a deeply disturbing one. Here, all of the options are disturbing. Pitka-as-Narrator has a lot of baggage he wants to unload, as well as more than a few Star Wars references. And he rambles a bit.

The closest real life experience I could match this to was when I had the misfortune to sit next to a conspiracy theorist at a bar earlier this year. Any adult who is not a conspiracy theorist himself or herself know what incomprehensible conversationalists such people make. Pitka-as-Narrator isn't a conspiracy theorist, but the bore factor is about the same.

That's my reaction to the scenario that the real Ninjapitka has created. As a storygame, it was well-written and well-executed. Therefore my biggest complaint is that the fictional Pitka wasn't a terribly desirable person to spend time with. And when all was said and done, those clever little parables at the beginning were a distant memory.
-- Bill_Ingersoll on 12/29/2019 8:31:38 PM with a score of 0
<WARNING: This review contains spoilers. Read the story first.>

Well, my first thought is "Dude, are you okay?" Though I think that might be the point. The writing starts off well enough, with a snarky narrator offering to tell you some stories for some unknown reason. I do enjoy the tone you gave him, though once the stories begin it does not carry over. Were I to recommend changes, I would say to allow his cynical attitude to slip into the stories a bit (perhaps more and more as his "time" runs out, though that would require quite a bit of extra work.) The fables themselves were short but interesting. They were well-written, and I felt like I was reading out of an Aesop book. The morals at the end did not always match the tales exactly and I did think a few of them might be worded better, but they got the point across.

Once you run out of time though, the entire mood of the story takes a jarring turn. There are hints of this character "change" earlier on, but it still came as a bit of a surprise (good use of foreshadowing!) I played through the various endings, but the best I found was still... spiteful? But I guess I can't expect to turn a cynical character somewhat optimistic. I did find the holiday rant a bit sudden, but that was because I had no idea that the story was set in the holiday season right up until it happened. My opinion on fourth-wall breaks changes depending on the material, but I think you implemented them here well enough.

I don't think the maturity level here really warrants a 6/8. There is some light swearing and a mention of alcohol in one ending, but nothing close to the graphicness of other 6/8 maturity stories I have read on here. While I certainly wouldn't recommend it for young children, I don't think it belongs "between PG-13 and R".

Overall, it's a nice little story with a good twist. You are clearly a talented writer, and while you refer to yourself as a C- I'd say you're at least at a C. I really enjoyed reading this (and if you ignored my warning and read the review before the game, you really should read it too.) Keep up the good work! I'm sure your writing will only get better with time.
-- Adelynn on 12/29/2019 2:12:43 PM with a score of 0
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