Choice of Perspective

What are the tradeoffs and considerations in choosing to write interactive fiction in the first, second, or third person?

I could probably come up with lots to say about this on another day, but here’s something short…

Second person is good if you want to treat the player as the PC. This can sometimes benefit the player’s immersion. It’s good if you want to avoid giving your main character a very strong personality and instead let the player pretend he’s in the game.

First person is good for giving your PC a definite personality and voice, since you can portray his thoughts with much less struggle. “> BURN ROPE” “You don’t want to do that.” is much less believable than “> BURN ROPE” “I certainly wouldn’t do that!”.

Third person is rather unusual for IF, probably because most IF is very strongly tied to a particular character’s view point, which the other two literary perspectives are generally better at portraying.

Personally, I’d be disinclined to write IF in the third person simply because it might not be clear at any given moment which character you control. On the other hand, in a game with lots of different controllable characters, third person might be preferable - in order to minimise the influence the characters’ perspectives might have on the text.

Writing in 3rd person worked really well for “Lost Pig” because it makes the PC seem barely capable of speaking (or thinking). I cannot remember how “Suspended” worked. Was it third person?

I would say that Lost Pig is actually in first person. It’s just that Grunk refers to himself in the third.