and idea for a game

Hello I want to start making a new game. But i don’t have the idea for the story. I need some help developing a story for it. So Live your ideas in the comments.

Your story is now about one man’s struggle to convince a woman at a party that something happened between them last year in Marienbad. She denies it, and he’s not sure whether it was really Marienbad or Fredericksburg and maybe it was the year before last. Endless games of Nim will be the only puzzle (though solving these puzzles won’t help you win the game).

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I’ve got some ideas!

  • can’t go wrong with cavemen
  • the military of a tiny goofy country—have you seen “The Mouse that Roared”?
  • trapped in a hut in the middle of the swamp, the protagonist must defend him or herself against a Swamp Man
  • time travel???
  • a mechanic must run all around through the insides of a machine to get it in working order
  • a college campus with a “zombie war” game forces the protagonist to get from class to class via tunnels and stuff to avoid being assaulted
  • use Glulx or whatever to add a laugh track to a game about a three-camera sitcom
  • a parody of that game about blindness from last year’s comp: “who says colorblindness is a handicap?” (someone will probably find this offensive I guess)
  • the day you had to walk around on the ceilings in your house because gravity was backwards
  • you are Cupid and you can shoot people with your various Mind Control Arrows and see what happens
  • in a grocery store trying to get some gnocchi, you have to figure out how to get the guy from Aisle to stop hogging the aisle
  • actually try and hold back on the IF self-reference; there’s enough of that barrier to entry nonsense in this dang community
  • a tween tries to get backstage at a Mark Knopfler concert (probably wouldn’t be Mark Knopfler I guess)
  • a crow flies around town trying to find a hawk so he can get revenge on the hawk
  • something like Freddy Pharkus, Frontier Pharmacist, but not on the frontier. Something where you have to mix ingredients is what I’m saying
  • a gun tries to make its owner stop shooting stuff
  • build a hang glider so you can float-escape from a Sky Prison
  • build an NPC in something like Mr Potato Head style; it will be helpful or snarky or demented depending on how you use which parts
  • solve a murder mystery in an orchard
  • a caveman has to save his cavewoman from dinosaurs
  • a cavewoman enlists the help of her dinosaur friends to escape cavepatriarchy
  • a dinosaur, ironically more intelligent than the cavepeople, must help them discovere Fire and The Wheel and that kind of thing
  • behind the scenes at a cooking show, you are the guy who has to make sure all the right ingredients are on the counters and fetch the host’s many appletinis
  • the world’s greatest barber can decide the fates of nations by slitting his client’s throats or telling them funny stories
  • a steampunk thing where a young lamplighter becomes embroiled in a political-mechanical power struggle
  • a kid who hates a magician sneaks backstage to ruin the show
  • servants who have to move through the mansion in tunnels inside the walls are the only ones who can survive a plague of aristocrat-eating monsters
  • at midnight, the botanical garden really comes alive—but robbers want to steal the rarest plant of all!

And you only get the secret best ending if you prove the best strategy for Nim by typing the following commands in the parser:


But seriously–I wrote some horrendous stuff about my own apartment then deleted the source code. Just for practice. Because nobody cares about others’ apartments.

Then I played a bunch of other games and saw what I liked and tried to do something the same but different and said, gee, I’d sort of like to be fun like that. But not, like, copying.

Also, if you want to write in Inform, or even if you don’t, you could do much worse than play through all the example games just to see what’s out there. Sometimes knowing what’s simple to do opens up a ton of possibilities.

If there’s one thing the My Apartment genre has taught me is how many people live in apartments.

Also, I second this suggestion. That’d be an awesome game.

They have fewer rooms than houses, which makes them easier to implement. I have a theory that this is the same reason that so many characters in fiction have one parent – fewer characters and relationships to write about.

Anyway, I think Ned’s advice is good. Playing through all the example games is an especially good idea, because it’ll help you learn to code.

Man, that’s one heckuva game!


I’d have thought it was because there are lots of children of divorce, who appreciate stories about characters like them. (I suppose it’s also pretty common in older stories. But in Grimm, for instance, it’s as much a shorthand for ‘super-underprivileged’ as character-reduction. Plus, lots of widows in C18th Europe.)

(Total tangent: one of the things I notice most about American TV and movies is how many, many stories there are that are very obviously designed as wish-fulfillment for absentee fathers. Even though society thinks you’re a deadbeat, in reality it wasn’t your fault, you love your kid more than anything, you are the all-American salt of the earth while the new boyfriend is unmanly, and you will be emotionally reconciled with your child even if it requires you to stalk her.)

Oh, another random-ass theory about apartments: they’re more delineated. A house suggests a garden (outside, but still yours); a garden suggests the street; a street suggests a neighbourhood. An apartment stops being yours right at the front door. A hard boundary feels more natural.

Well, there’s a difference between “child of divorce” and “one parent completely not in the picture”; I was thinking more of the latter. If you have a child of divorce like Henry James’s Maisie – OK, bad example, both her parents are pretty much not in the picture – like the kids from The Squid and the Whale, you still have to characterize both the parents.

But OK, what I really meant is that this is why some characters in stuff I’ve written have a completely missing parent.

On apartments versus houses, I wonder what the correlation is between “games set in houses” and “implemented mailboxes”? The mailbox is one thing in an apartment that is very non-delineated.

The one-parent prevalence in fiction seems to be so obviously an attempt to narrow the range of important relationships that the story has to include. Same reason there’s so many orphans: stories are simpler without parental love.

As for mailboxes, that’s a cultural thing: a lot of places have letter boxes in their front doors