A Tale of Theft and Guns

Player Rating2.99/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 18 ratings since 04/21/2020
played 90 times (finished 7)

Story Difficulty4/8

"march in the swamp"

Play Length2/8

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

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.

Tags

This is a story about Noah. Noah is broke on account of being fired from his job. Now behind on rent and desperate, his friend gives him a job offer that could change his life for better or worse.

Author Note: This story is pretty short, with about 3300~ words. It has 5 endings for you to find, and every choice has an impact on the story. Leave me your thoughts below! Also a BIG thanks to mizal for helping with proofreading.

Player Comments

I will be honest: I'm not a fan. The scenario is not plausible, the "characters" are paper-thin, the branching structure is as complex as a baby's mobile, and the moral the story on which is trying to instruct me are repulsive.

So, yes, crime stories CAN be well done. They're fast-paced, tense, and full of colorful characters that are fun to watch. Often they are procedural, meaning they take you through all the paces, which means they are about the cops/detectives piecing together the clues or about the crooks putting together an elaborate plan. Always, there is a tacit agreement between the artist (whether that be a writer, movie director, etc.) and the audience that all of this is wrong, and that even the charismatic, scene-stealing bad guy gets what's coming to him in the end. Martin Scorsese has been making movies like this for decades.

This story is the literal opposite of all that. Well OK, it was fast-paced, but to a fault: I read through all five endings in about 10 minutes. But there was no tension, because the main character seemed unconcerned with consequences. A handful of characters introduced on the first page had a touch of personality, but they only reappear in one ending and otherwise have no bearing on the story.

Noah himself is a psychopath, but lacks the self-awareness to even recognize it. For that matter, he comes off as entirely confused about what he wants out of life. At first he is shocked when he approaches some shady people and they ask him to do a shady deed. But then he feels remorseful if he doesn't do it, or goes into fits of misdirected rage when the outcome isn't what he wanted.

Nor is this story much of a procedural, in which the reader is enthralled by all the minutiae of the underground lifestyle. Several key steps are completely missing, including the very basic set-up of telling me what it is I'm robbing. I can deduce from the sparse details that it's probably a nightclub, but at the point where I'm first asked how I want to proceed with the robbery none of these details have been exposed yet. From that point forward, all of Noah's actions seem to be perfunctory.

In terms of branching structure, this game is simplistic. Yes, there are five separate and somewhat unique endings, but there are only two sets of choices in the entire storygame (the first set leads to two endings, the second set leads to the other three).

But through this simplicity comes a rather bizarre moral message, as each ending is presented through a very distinct filter. Take this one, for instance:

"Though as you lay on your death bed, your children next to you, your grandchildren around you, and your wife sobbing on your chest, you look back, and remember that day. You wonder what it would've been like, the rush, the excitement. ... This is the tale of the Chicken."

Having been present at someone's deathbed, the presence of family would actually be considered the sign of a life well-lived. But in this case your life was a waste because all these years later, as you take your final breaths, you don't see the love that surrounds you, just that missed opportunity for not going on a crime spree when you were in your twenties.

Some of the other endings draw conclusions that only make sense if, as I've already theorized, Noah is a psychopath -- i.e., someone incapable of remorse, who weighs results purely on a basis of how they benefit or inconvenience himself, with no interest in the welfare of anyone but himself. There is no narrative distance here, just the titillation of a successful robbery, or the "Wrath of Noah" when it all goes wrong.
-- Bill_Ingersoll on 4/22/2020 7:56:10 PM with a score of 0
Too easy to die.

And there's nothing wrong with living on ramen noodles, dammit!
-- Starbourne on 6/22/2020 3:33:43 PM with a score of 0
Linear as hell, there are only 3 paths I believe, undeveloped characters and not enough backstory. And “5 endings” ==> 2 end game links on page 1 is clickbait. I could see some potential in this storygame if it was expanded upon.

3/8
-- 325boy on 5/3/2020 5:18:32 PM with a score of 0
I feel like this storygame is a lot of lost potential. I greatly enjoyed the premise of this - pulling off a small heist - but actually playing the game was pretty lackluster. You're correct that there are five endings, but there's only two choices that you really make- the rest of the pages are the outcomes of that choice. The "five endings" part gets more disappointing when you see that two of those endings are just you not doing the heist (and in all honesty, those two endings were almost the same).

However, I feel that this has a LOT of potential if you keep expanding on it. I did like that you had the option to scope out the place or get inside information the day before, but the choices just stopped there. It would have been much more entertaining if you, for example, had combat options with the guard instead of just immediately getting caught when encountering him, or you had interrogation options for getting information out of another person before the heist. If you added more choices like that, I definitely would enjoy the game a LOT more, and it isn't all that hard to do.

There are TONS of places in this where you could add extra choices for more diversity in endings, and this storygame would increase a lot in quality if you just made more choices. Overall, the writing in this is good, the original concept is good, but it just felt like you ended it way too quickly with hardly any choices.

TLDR: Please, PLEASE add more choices to this: imo it could become a really good one if you did.
-- NagitoKomaeda on 4/3/2020 6:45:00 PM with a score of 0
Oops. Meant to say "the two END GAME links on the first page are counted in the '5 endings' for us to find."
-- ninjapitka on 4/2/2020 6:03:46 PM with a score of 0
I like the fast-pace of the writing and I like the feeling of walking into a story that was already underway but the "branching", length and endings seemed a bit of a cop-out. The choices are very limited and the whole thing seems too short really, more like a concept that you didn't really develop. It could have been taken a lot further.
But hey: you know it's short and deliberately so and for a first effort you certainly left room for development. Focusing on the positives the writing is good as far as it goes and the situation ok, what is now needed is to spend more time branching out and developing your stories into more impressive works but from small seeds are mighty oaks grown etc etc. The more time you put in the more you get out of it :)
-- Will11 on 4/2/2020 1:47:58 PM with a score of 0
At a glance, the two END GAME links are counted in the "5 endings" for us to find. While you're not technically wrong, it does feel like inflating the content a bit. The story premise itself is fine. It does not feel as though choices really matter in the story, though. We're either forced down one path or given death. The three other "branches" are fairly short and hold no additional choices of their own. I think there was a missed opportunity to include minor action choices as once you decide how to approach the robbery, it's single links the whole rest of the way. While this comment is mostly constructive, I was fairly entertained clicking through. As someone who posts a decent amount of reviews, Ace, none of this should come as a surprise. It's short, but seems intentionally so, and it's more polished than the other games previously published. We'll see if this one manages to stick around.
-- ninjapitka on 4/2/2020 11:05:44 AM with a score of 0
The game is too fast-paced, I know is action. But I have no time to get attached or hate them. They are just names there is nothing that, makes me feel immersed. It is a lot of telling not showing. Still, this with more description and dialogue could be really good. It just feels rushed
-- poison_mara on 4/2/2020 3:17:32 AM with a score of 0
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