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Got a favorite storygame? Can't beat The Wal*Mart Game? If you're here to play storygames, this is the forum for you.

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

one month ago
@mizal @TurnipBandit @Bill_Ingersoll @Cricket @MicroPen @ghost11 @DarkSpawn @Gower @Avery_Moore @Davefaster Posting book eight thanks to Bill's reminder yesterday. I think Avery is busy dealing with real life stuff, so we might as well continue in her absence. These stories aren't going to read themselves, and it's our duty as the elite, most exclusive Book Club in CYStia to read, review, and discuss them. If we're going in order, MicroPen (Serpent) is next. It's been a full month since the previous story, and if you haven't gotten around to reading it, kindly feel bad about yourself for being a waste of a username. Adding @Shadowdrake27 to the list as he seems to have inherited the review gene from momzal. Anyone else who wants to join can PM me their application and send 10 USD to my Venmo.

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

one month ago
Wait. You told me the membership fee was 15 USD!

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

one month ago
I'm happy to provide you with a five dollar refund if you show me your receipt.

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

one month ago
Uhhhhhhhh...
You know what, why don't you ask my dad.

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

one month ago

Oh, thank you for the invite! Let me know what story we are reading and I'll participate. Should I go back and read the previous story to start?

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

one month ago

http://chooseyourstory.com/story/inheritance-house

 

Lol Shadows first week is with a game he can't even review. Also I feel that this game is underappreciated, so why not.

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

one month ago

Oh, fun. I'll read the previous story to catch up and prove my mettle. I am also down to critique my own game now that I've gotten better. This is my lowest rated game. It is more of a game than a story; I intended the beginning to be like an open world map, so you are literally walking around the house.

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

one month ago

Interesting choice, as that was one of the (many) recently published stories I haven't gotten around to reading yet.

I assume a week will be enough time?

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

one month ago
I think that's a good amount of time for the story's length.

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

one month ago

It seems a bit longer than the rating suggests because it loops, but it isn't a very long game. A week is more than enough time to play through it a few times.

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

one month ago
Surprised you picked one you already reviewed. You could have picked something you haven't reviewed and added it to your list as well. I do like the suggestion though.

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

one month ago

I'm in, but I only have CashApp, and I've already rated Inheritance House.  

Edit: Application in progress.

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

one month ago

Join me in the catch up crew!

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

one month ago

I'm down.  Book Seven then?  Which ones are you doing?

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

one month ago

I was just going to do book seven for my review this week and participate in the discussion for this weeks book. I rather like the author they are reading this week (haha).

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

one month ago
Here's my comment. Agree or disagree with anything?

I briefly played this game on its release. If I remember correctly, I gave it a 4. Let’s see if a second, more in-depth playing with adjust that rating. Onward we go.

So right away I’m conflicted by the story. The first two sentences are confusing for me because I can’t understand if the author is trying to be funny or the second sentence reads funny (in the strange definition of the word). Is inheriting a cottage in the woods really harder than a family member dying? I suppose that depends on the cottage…and the family member.

The house itself is called both a cabin and a cottage. I always understood those two words to describe different structures, although people may use them interchangeably. A quick internet search told me a cabin is a small structure made completely from wood, and a cottage is a living place made with multiple materials. Not sure if using both descriptions really impacts the story much, but an inaccuracy is an inaccuracy.

I hate to restate what everyone else is saying, but the font changes and paragraph spacing gets distracting. Sometimes words are capitalized that shouldn’t be. I saw this with page links. “The Foyer” vs “The kitchen.” I did have a thought the different fonts and gaps could be the author attempting to disorient the reader, sort of like a shaky camera or crooked angles in a horror film. If the “mistakes” were intentionally, I applaud the idea.

While the first visit to the house feels bland, the story real comes online on the following loops. It reminds me of that one horror game where you walk in a looping hallway discovering different clues (or hauntings) each time. I’m blanking on the name. I understand the repetitive structure. It’s like a tribute to Through Time.

My biggest criticism is mostly towards the beginning loop. Finding the locked door behind you is a nice touch, but there isn’t a ton that motivated me to drive back to the house. While additional details continue to be added the further you get, there’s not a lot in the beginning to draw in the reader. I think that’s why I rated it a 4 originally. After multiple attempts, I’m keeping my rating the same. I have more respect for the story, and really think it’s on the cusp of hitting a 5 with a few more interesting details added.

Summarizing my thoughts, I think Inheritance House is a good, quick little game. The repetitive nature gives a familiar feeling towards each loop. While its shortcomings include lack of characters, a fully-formed plot, and opening hook, the game itself is light and engaging enough. I get the feeling the game was churned out in a short period of time, and I would have liked to seen a well-developed story in addition to the game aspect. It may not be one of the top storygames on the site, but it’s entertaining for what it is.

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

one month ago

I have a unique vantage point, but I think it's a very accurate review. I didn't think about the question: "why would I want to read this story?" The idea was that it was boring and funny (like a light sarcastic tone) until a haunt happened and then, suddenly, something crazy and scary happens. The ending is better, but I didn't make the story as exciting as the ending.

I was warned about weak characters as well, but I didn't listen and I don't even like the main character. My thought was that I wanted the reader to imagine it as "them self". I also wish I could take credit for the font changes... I wrote part of the game on my phone, and I think the mobile version types in a different font... anything small was input on my phone. I never went back and checked that.

 

Edit: it was not a quick game, but the writing was done quickly, almost as an after thought. I originally made this to practice on page variables and conditional text/links. I threw the story in there AFTER I constructed the house and the "haunts" as an entertaining way to see if my conditional text worked. That might be why the story seems rushed...

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

29 days ago
That is great insight. It's good to hear your opinion as the author, although it's probably hard to go from boring/funny to haunting with the category you chose. I went in expecting a haunting or scare based on the category, so you're kind of at a disadvantage there. It does get better and better the more you read, but that's part of the problem...if the good part of the story is at the end, especially with END GAME links beforehand, the rating will probably end up being lower.

You make a fair point about the main character. I tend to read myself into the main character, rather than think it's actually me in the game. Not sure how most people handle second person POV though. Thanks for sharing the process behind the story. I read your first storygame well before this one, so I'm not surprised you went for a more "game-y" approach. I did the same thing with my second storygame. My quick comment was more due to the fact you could easily rush through the game. There's not a huge amount of text to read. Once you established the basic layout of the house, the overall time spent in the game isn't a major amount.

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

29 days ago

Yeah I had fun making it, but I completely ignored how a reader might interpret things. I also forgot that while it is a "game" format the story has to be compelling too. It was pretty rookie stuff.Oh, I am sort of glad it went fast in that sense!


It certainly could benefit from more meat and more of a story telling element. I appreciate the review and feedback! I take it all in when writing future games.

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

27 days ago

Having a "blank" protag in a storygame has never bothered me, as this idea goes all the way back to the roots of the CYOA format... when a lawyer was telling bedtime stories to his girls, and asked what they thought should happen next. The CYOA tagline was always "YOU are the star of the story." The idea of making storygames / gamebooks about specific characters was an offshoot of that original idea. Otherwise, the protag was given just enough background needed to set up the story, but not smuch more than that.

And in the case of "Inheritance House," this is to me more a game than a story, so it makes sense that the protag is just a pawn to be moved around the gameboard.

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

26 days ago
While I do remember picking up some of the classic CYOA books at the library as a kid, I don't remember how I viewed the main character. My only other experience with interactive fiction has been this site, and I definitely imagine playing as the pre-written main character. Unless they're game-focused, like this storygame, there's not a ton that have the main character written as a blank slate. Now that I think about it, I did recently play through a little bit of a Fighting Fantasy gamebook, and thought of the main character more of a blank slate, so maybe CYS just tends to have more pre-written characters than the classic books. I think both views are worthwhile as long as it makes sense in the context of the story. Really, it's just about what makes it more entertaining for you.

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

26 days ago

Guess that's true... there were certainly other, larger problems with this game.

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

26 days ago

The more complex a story gets, the harder it becomes to keep the protag a mere "insertion character." In SotGP I managed to go 100k words without ever once referring to the main character's name or even gender, and the forthcoming Woban Island also has a nameless, genderless protag... but this one is a fan fiction based on a board game, so the whole concept is that you literally are a pawn in someone else's game.

Writing this characters this way, though, can become a gimmick... sort of like writing for Wilson's character in "Home Improvement," where you can never see more than his eyes.

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

one month ago

I won't be taking part in this. 

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

29 days ago

Already Read It.

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

27 days ago

My review:

What I like about this game -- and it is to me more of a game than a story -- is the creative use of the circular structure. This by no means the first storygame to employ such a structure, but they are more complicated to write and design, so kudos on a glitchless first attempt.

What I found less impressive was the weak narrative. I explored the rooms of the cabin because the requirements of the game forced me to do so, but not because I was self-motivated to do so. For instance, all that happens on the first round is that I enter through the front door, exit through the back, and then the game restarts.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

And about those restarts: as they are used here, they are too flagrantly a gimmick, and not a compelling part of the narrative. At the end of each round through the cabin, I have to actively choose to restart. If I hadn't read the game's description, I'd have no idea why. The game does become more interesting with the successive play-throughs, but based on the outcome of each pass, the protag has every motivation to flee as fast as possible, not go back and start again.

And how is it I can remember some things from the previous rounds, but not others? The internal logic of the story is not evenly applied. For instance, each time the demon appears, it is described anew as if being seen for the first time. But I can remember burning the chair, and when the barn and shed appear I can remember they weren't there previously.

This looping structure reminds me a lot of the movie "Groundhog Day" and the ST:TNG episode "Cause and Effect." In each case, the characters are caught in a time loop, forced to relive the same events over and over again. But although the circumstances are the same each time, the characters retain some memory of the past loops, and this changes the experience. The loops are involuntary, and figuring out the way to break the cycle becomes the primary motivation.

In terms of the gamebooks of old, I recall the "Escape from Frome" and "Escape from Tenopia" series used a similar branching structure. You didn't die in those books, but you did wander in circles and hunt for the links that would move you closer to the goal.

As for "Inheritance House," I hope the experience of writing and designing the game proved to be a valuable experience, and that you have learned some useful new tricks to employ on your next storygame.

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

26 days ago

I think I had "Groundhog Day" in mind when making this, along with a cheesy horror movie...I also was more afraid that people would be mad if there was only one"End Game" link, the one at the end. I suppose I never thought "what keeps someone from just stopping after the first play-through?" Even from reading the comments it is obvious that not everyone completed the game. Not to pick on Gower, because I highly value his feedback in this comment, but his comment says:

This is a quickish adventure in a haunted house, written using a room-to-room structure with no inventory (that I found). 

This tells me that he didn't get to the actual ending (there was an inventory late in the game), but when you think about it in the way that you phrased it, why would he? I also appreciate the comment about internal logic. I did not think about that, the main character simply remember what was convenient for me and forgot everything else.

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

26 days ago

I assume you can also tell who finished and who didn't by the scores attached to each review.

CYS Book Club: Book Eight

26 days ago

It would explain why the ratings are so all over the map...