February 20, 2017
Storytelling, What I’m Reading
Gameplay, Storytelling, and the Choices We Make
Recently I downloaded a new game to my phone: Choices, by a company called Pixelberry.
I did this in part because I skimmed an interview with one of the Pixelberry team members, and it caught my attention, but mostly I downloaded it because I am a sucker for choose-your-owns. I cannot even count how many I’ve played through. Fantasy games, mostly, because that’s obviously where the storytelling method really became popularized, so I guess another thing that drew me to Choices was that a lot of their stories WEREN’T. They had one fantasy “book” (and it’s accompanying sequel) in their app, yes, but there were also several mysteries, and a number of romances. And hey, I like seeing how storytelling methods apply to genres they aren’t usually used for, you know? And it was nice to see a normally male-centric game type being marketed toward a distinctly female audience. Overall, I was really predisposed to like this app.
I’m not even going to use this space to get into my game-level disappointments with it. Things like the micropayment system it uses and how it uses it, or the fact that these really aren’t so much choose-your-own stories as… slightly tailor a predefined narrative arc to your preference. Instead, I’m going to talk about the one “book” that I played all of the way through, all 17 game “chapters” worth, a romance called The Freshman. Because, um. Wow. Buckle up, folks, this is going to get feminist-ranty.