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Meaningful Choices: Twine Games

G’Day you,

It’s been a while since I’ve written about choice in games, so it’s time to fix that. Today I’ll write about Twine, why it’s a good, easy (well, easier than creating art/animations/voices, etc) way to introduce multiple choices and story-lines into your games and could possibly be a good way to prototype your choices in games.

But first, what is Twine? Remember choose your own adventure books? If so, great! If not, I’m old. Anyway, Twine basically allows you to write a choose your own adventure book (like the Give Yourself Goosebumps series) and put it on a website.

Here’s the best part: It’s super easy to get started, and super easy to put choices in. You basically just create html links, and write a story. There’s an excellent tutorial by Auntie Pixelante here.

So how does this relate to choice? Now that all you have to do to make choices in your story is by making more story, then the only thing stopping you from putting choices in is your own imagination! You won’t have to worry about players missing out on a character in the game, and missing all the sound effects, art, and animations developed for that character, because the character will come to life through your words, and your player’s imaginations.

There have already been some very powerful games made in Twine, and here are a few examples:

  • Workers In Progress: Topical! A game where you try to turn around the economic collapse of Greece by acting as the collective consciousness of the Greek working class. Interesting if you are into economics, or want to learn about the Greek political system.
  • Depression Quest: While fairly heavy handed on what it prescribes to fix Depression, playing this game is interesting, mostly because of the way choices are taken away from you. The underlying message is that someone without depression (or in a better state of mind) would be able to make those choices. Interesting to play from a design perspective, and it’s good to get an idea of what depression is like for some people.
  • Horse Master: Gosh, just looking at the beginning, you’d think it was a silly, funny game, but this gets crazy dark.Not going to spoil it, but it’s totally not what it seems. Be careful which horse you choose.

The best part about all these games is that they are quick enough to replay to see what other choices do in your story. Maybe that’s a good case for keeping a story shorter if there are many choices in the story?

I think that’s enough rambling on for now, hope you enjoyed reading this, and let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

1 Comment

  1. David

    November 1, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Just played Horse Master. Wow. Very immersive.

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