If you’ve been around at all lately, you know the whole discussion of the game vs real game narrative.
Are Twine games real games? Are interactive fiction stories real games? Is the Loch Ness Monster real?
My answers to those questions: yes, yes, and definitely.
There are far more eloquent answers to those questions than anything I could produce. To speak of my own experiences, I had a very hard time finally coming to call my Twine game a game and not just a story. It’s a story, obviously, but there are no “choices,” like there are in other Twine games. It’s a very linear story; there is only one outcome and there is only one path to that outcome. There are different snippets of information in certain parts – Twitter followers are explained, there are descriptions of the the characters placed in different parts, and more than one part where a rambling thought leads to more rambling thoughts that add only flavor, not real progress.
I’ve talked with a friend about this at length, about how we both feel that our types of stories feel so ungame-like because of the lack of choices. Who wants to play something where the outcome is predetermined? Aren’t sandbox games like Minecraft and Rust so popular because of the choices YOU, the player, make? Isn’t Fallout so highly regarded because YOUR choices matter, not the style choices of the creators of the game?
But aren’t games like Bioshock and Tomb Raider linear? You can make small choices that will impact the game in a very minute way – i.e., clothes, maybe, or a dialogue option that changes the words you say – but the end game is still the same. You still will end up at the same destination. It’s still an extremely linear game.
I take this knowledge and apply it to my own game. It makes my game feel more legitimate in my mind, because, why, it has something in common with such titans as Resident Evil and Final Fantasy. It’s linear! All linear things are games!
Obviously not, but it makes me feel better, so I’ll take it.
To get back to my questions – are Twine games real games? Are interactive fiction games real games?
Yes. They are games.
Is the Loch Ness monster real?
Yes, because I said so.