Author Topic: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Choose Your Own Adventure (Results)  (Read 2972 times)

Baron

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  • Not-so-Evil Banana Dictator
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    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2011, for the concept and management of SWARMAGS
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    • Baron worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Wow!  That's an impressive amount of writing, folks!   I'm not going to say that I read every branch, but I think I read most.

@ Frodo: I felt your story had a very strong beginning, and I personally liked the dichotomy of having half the story in the past and half in the present.  I was slightly frustrated by only discovering two possible endings (death or happiness), but maybe I didn't find them all....  :-[

@ cat: I only found one ending, which I guess makes sense for a regular commute, but it was a slight disappointment given the illusion of choice.  I think a few racier events would have really spiced things up: not just exchanging contact info with the old schoolmate but falling in love, not just watching the businessman struggle with an interface but glimpsing something suggestive of criminal activity....  But, in the end, I guess that misses the point of the story: that small things are different on a commute if you choose them to be, but basically it's always the same.  :P

@ WHAM: Holy writing storm, BatWham!  The sheer magnitude of differentiation between the story branches was amazing.  I think you sacrificed some valuable character development and atmosphere by spreading yourself too thin (see below), but it was an impressive opus nonetheless.

And now my votes:

Best Character: I'm going with Frodo for Gunther.  He was a wretched, despicable creature, yes, but he stood out for his greedy abrasiveness in a field of flexible characterizations. 

Best Atmosphere: This one was closer, but I'm going with Frodo again for the suspenseful scene at the beginning where the terrified princess flees through the stormy moor.  I almost went with WHAM for some of his more colourful scenes where he fires up the crowd, but in the end I found his descriptions a bit thin.  I also almost went with cat for capturing the subdued drudgery of the daily commute, but in the end I'm a sucker for stormy action scenes.  :) 

Best Writing: I'm going with WHAM for this one for many a turn of clever phrase.  Near the beginning of one of the branches you move your hands downwards "as if pushing the very sounds in the air to the dirt".  One branch describes evocatively as the dancing crowd "resembles a field of tall grass in a windstorm, the people its blades of grass, the sheer energy of your presence the fierce wind that drives the people on."  I also liked what I envisaged as a silk dress "glimmering like liquid water as it runs down your skin".

Best Branching Plot: I have to go with WHAM on this one, just for the impressive variety of endings.  A few notable ones beyond the generic CYOA random deaths were: revolution, strip dancing, war, Christmas 1914, love, turning into a dragon and eating everyone, and a massive orgy!  :=

Frodo

  • Welcome down... to my Planet Hell!
    • Frodo worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Frodo worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Well, I think I've read every branch of all the stories now.  Excellent work, WHAM, Baron, and Cat.   :smiley:

And WHAM... WOW!  So many different possibilities!  And I loved them all.   :cheesy:

Anyway, here's my votes. 



BEST CHARACTER:  Baron's Boogeyman, Sgruck, in The Dream-Roving Dalliance.  He's one scary demon.  And completely relentess as he pursues you through each nightmare. 



BEST ATMOSPHERE: The Dream-Roving Dalliance from Baron.  Love story about feeling guilty over the accident with Katrina, and wanting to help her by trying to heal her mind after contacting the Mind-Melder.  The dreams & nightmares he encounters are fantastic!  The story really pulled me in, and I was really rooting for the Hero to save Katrina in each ending.   



BEST WRITING: The Square Of Choices from Wham.  Each paragraph is crammed with detail, and I can really imagine myself in each scenario.  And it kinda reminds me of a classice Text Adventure game, which I love. 



BEST BRANCHING PLOT:  Has to be The Square Of Choices from WHAM!  The sheer number of different endings is staggering.  And the variety is equally impressive.  Everything from dragons (I love dragons!!!), death, becoming king, finding love, and lots more. 



Thanks for the great stories, everyone.   :wink:

WHAM

  • WHAMGAMES
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    • I can help with play testing
    • I can help with scripting
    • I can help with story design
    • I can help with translating
    • I can help with voice acting
    • WHAM worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • WHAM worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
I'm late (due to being out of town for a few days), but winner has not been declared yet, so:

Best Character: Baron with The Dream-Roving Dalliance
Best Atmosphere: cat with A to B (What can I say, I like trains)
Best Writing: Baron with The Dream-Roving Dalliance
Best Branching Plot: cat with A to B (What can I say, I like trains)
My Fortnightly Writing Competition collected works
https://goo.gl/VUQbzU

Sinitrena

  • Mittens Serf
  • Wheel of Fate
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    • Sinitrena worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Sinitrena worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Sorry, I'm late. But at least that means one more voter.

I must say, you all did amazing with a very, very difficult topic and by far exceeded my expectations. I asked for two choices for the reader as a minimum, but I also thought you all would not go much about this. You did and the quality of your entries is astonishing.

I read the stories a couple days ago when I checked for correct links and haven't re-read any of them, so my feedback will not be as detailed as I would like it to be.

cat: You chose a fairly mundane scene to illustrate how the small choices we make can alter our experiences but my ultimately all lead to the same destination (quite literally as train stops). I really liked the small detail of naiming all the links after - I think - subway stations in London. Unfortunately, the excitement of reading through this adventure is missing. The situation is too normal to create anything like suspense. As a reader, you wait for something to happen - and it just doesn't. That's obviously not what you were going for, but I think a reader expects it in a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure type story.

Frodo: I like the idea of setting the story in two different times. I accidentally read part of a present paragraph after only seeing the part set in the past before and was througholy confused how I would get from one part to the other. You found a convincing way. I'm sad that the curse Anastasia might or might not unleash never really came back after the first part. In the present I was very confused by the dynamic of the characters. We learn that Ana keeps to herself and isn't good with people and still Gunthar seems to know her and acts around her as if they were friends. Even worse, in my first playthrough, I sent Ben away to the library in the first meeting but the later paths of the story do not account for that. Ana and Ben later react to each other as if they spent the afteroon together no matter what. Gunther and Ben also seem to know each other and I have no idea how, because Ben is new to the city.  ???  I also wondered why you put the decisions where you did and then had the same text for a few lines in both choices. In a published book, I'd call this padding.  ;)

WHAM: Holy... You did not write one story with different paths, you wrote about thirty different ones. And you hardly ever recycled a paragraph. One of the few (the only one? I can't remember.) I encountered more than once is the one where the protagonist gets poisened after a night in the tavern. The first time I came to this end, it made sense: I had just joked about the nobility and pissed them off. Other times, this ending made a little less sense, for example after I told a story about love or hate (I think - as I said, I haven't re-read and you have a lot of content to remember). I love how diverse the paths are and how evocative your language is. You have a bit of gender confusion here and there, refering to someone as he and than later her. I really loved your ending 51, I'm glad I found the secret path.  (laugh)

Baron: Your story felt the most like an adventure and the most like I could base my decisions on facts provided to me by the stroy beforehand. To a degree, that is true and at the same time it often was not. The very first decision (within walls or beyond walls) has very little clues, if any, and determines the whole outcome of the story. Unless I mis-remember, there is absolutely no way to get a good ending within walls. Actually, good endings are very hard to come by in your story. I think I saved Katarina once and managed to live somewhat happily with her in the dream world once? That's not a lot. I'm a bit disappointed that there was no way to find more information about Enrico. He's mentioned in both general paths in the very beginning but then not again, like a plot threat that was just forgotten. I like the structure of the dream sequences for a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure story. The fact that each sequence is more or less self-contained makes it managable for both the writer and the reader.


Now, my votes:

Best Character: Frodo
Best Atmosphere: WHAM, without a doubt. Not least because it were so many different scenes and feelings the story created.
Best Writing:WHAM, so many scenes, so many pictures in my head.
Best Branching Plot: I was torn here, WHAM's work is amazing, but I come to the conclusion that it is not one story with a branching plot but about thirty different ones that happen to share a beginning. So I go with Baron here, as the story that best shows how one plot can branch out and find its way to conclusions that are all obviously set in the same story.


And that leaves us with the following results:


WHAM wins the golden diagrem of branches with 6 votes. I tried to draw your structure (not really) but I gave up.


Baron recieves 5 votes for a very good second place.


And Frodo manages to score 3 points for a bronze statue.


Congratulations to all of you for dealing with this topic as well as you did.

Over to you, WHAM! See you next round.


cat

  • Mittens Baronet
    • cat worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • cat worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Sorry, I didn't manage to play all stories yet. I hope the thread will stay open a few more days so I can add my comments.

Baron

  • Mittens Serf
  • Not-so-Evil Banana Dictator
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2011, for the concept and management of SWARMAGS
    • I can help with voice acting
    • Baron worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Thanks for all the votes, peeps!  ;-D

@ Sinitrena:  Thanks for all the feedback.  I agree that the within-walls vs. without-walls choice was a bit arbitrary, but no less random than other choices I've encountered in the CYOA genre.  Both branches do have exactly one happy-ish ending, although you are correct that to achieve your ultimate goal of returning to the waking world with Katarina you must choose without walls to start. 
        I also feel guilty as charged with Enrico.  Originally I planned to have him feature in several subplots, but the story just became too ambitious to plausibly finish even with an extended fortnight.  So now he's just a mystery from the past who helps to build Katarina's complex psyche.  ;) 
        Thanks for the great topic and the link-proofreading.  :)

Congratulations WHAM!  I look forward to an even more ambitious topic next time.  Epic fantasy series!  No, Russian novels!  No, Diary of an Adventure Game Maze Junkie!  8-0

WHAM

  • WHAMGAMES
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    • I can help with play testing
    • I can help with scripting
    • I can help with story design
    • I can help with translating
    • I can help with voice acting
    • WHAM worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • WHAM worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Oh man, this is absolutely awesome! I worried so much that I'd made a sprawling mess, and since each story had just a handful of choises to make I thought the "adventure" might come across as too shallow, but I guess it worked out in the end.
Thank you, everyone! I needed a pick-me-up and this has me feeling all fuzzy and warm inside.

Next topic coming up later today.
My Fortnightly Writing Competition collected works
https://goo.gl/VUQbzU

cat

  • Mittens Baronet
    • cat worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • cat worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
I only found one ending, which I guess makes sense for a regular commute, but it was a slight disappointment given the illusion of choice.
...
But, in the end, I guess that misses the point of the story: that small things are different on a commute if you choose them to be, but basically it's always the same.  :P
Quote
I also almost went with cat for capturing the subdued drudgery of the daily commute, but in the end I'm a sucker for stormy action scenes.  :) 
Best Atmosphere: cat with A to B (What can I say, I like trains)
Best Branching Plot: cat with A to B (What can I say, I like trains)

I have to admit, my story was more an experiment than an adventure. I wanted to create a scene where tiny choices can change the atmosphere and feeling. I'm glad that you found the essence of my entry and that you liked the atmosphere.


About the other entries:

Frodo You were the only one who told the story from a 3rd person view which might be difficult but you made it work. However, the mix and match of ancient Greece but 17th century, Egyptian gods and Italian names left me confused instead of immersed. I also didn't like that the information that might have helped me to make a decision was only presented after the decision but then copied to both branches. The time leap was an interesting idea, but I didn't buy the love story, it was just too sudden and also happened if I didn't spend the afternoon with him.

Baron Exciting setting, I like that you could visit various scenes that are totally different but at the same time all the same. The writing is great, every scene is described in much detail and creates a great atmosphere. The Sgruck is a powerful character. I like that one end scene is totally different depending on whether you took the girl with you or not. Decisions are a bit random, though.

WHAM Branching-wise, this is the complete opposite to my story. I like how the story fans out and the vast amount of totally different endings. The main character is also awesome. You don't know anything about him or her, but still you are soaked in by the charismatic personality, just like the people on the square.

My votes would have been:
Best Character: WHAM
Best Atmosphere: Baron
Best Writing: Baron
Best Branching Plot:WHAM

Which means my votes wouldn't have changed the result anyway.
Thanks Sinitrena for the topic! IIRC this was my first Fortnightly Writing Competition.