Introducing the... Single Choice Jam! [Games are up!]

Okay, @Draconis immediately finds an exception to the point I made above. Although, I would counter that this could still be designed, behind the scenes, as a single room that is simply prompting new “decription” text at you until you choose an action other than ENTER.

I can’t see how this can ever be a parser game;

You’re in the throne room. There’s a golden chalice here on a table.

So the fact i could type > x chalice or get chalice or x table means I have more than one thing i can do.

Unless the game is supposed to return “You can’t do that” to all but one. Then it’s just a guess-the-word game.


Sincere and respectful question.

Have you played Aisle?

It’s a very specific type of parser game.

It’s meant to be replayed many times.

>x chalice or >get chalice or >x table would all have valid responses and would function. The catch is you would only get to choose one for each play session.

To discover what different actions may do, you’d have to restart the game and choose something different.

It may not be your cup of tea, which is fine, but there are a number of one-move parser games written in the same way, some tongue-in-cheek, others less so.


I really enjoyed the game Gallery Gal from a few years back. You’re a superhero who’s only power is that exactly once in your life you can turn into an art museum, permanently and irrevocably:

Every option in the game is “continue” or “become an art gallery”.

It sounds like you might be able to make something like this for the comp if the game was timed to automatically display passages one at a time, with the player being able to hit the “art gallery” button whenever they wanted.


The jam concept is cool. I am still a little confused and I woke up needing to make ASCII art.
If we view the sequence of game actions as a graph, are you requiring it:

(1) to be a tree with one choice point:


where how long the A path is before the choice point is allowed to vary between plays, but there is at most one place during a given play.

(2) to be as in (1), but the length of A must be the same for all game plays.

(3) to be as in (2) but you also allow the branches to link back to some point in the A path so you have loops but there is only one choice point in the game and its choices stay the same.

1 Like

Reminds me of another Wakes IntroComp work I came across recently, Resist!.
(Surprised to hear you suggesting timed text… as you say, it’s not a universally popular choice.)


I personally absolutely hate timed text and can think of maybe 2 or 3 games where it is even a slightly positive feature. But I only suggest here to shoehorn something into the comp that otherwise wouldn’t work.


As I interpret it, option 1 seems to be what we’re talking about here. The length of “on-the-rails” content both before and after the choice seems up to the author, as long as the game ends after the choice and before another opportunity for player input is offered.

I think you can have one option in every passage and multiple options in only one passage.
You’re riding your bike along a path.
The path is lined with flowers.
You arrive at a fork in the path.
[[choose left]] or [[choose right]]
Now you can continue along which ever path you chose.


It’s probably easiest to think of it as a single choice where you can segment the setup for the choice. Any action beyond an ineluctable continuance function culminates the game. So if you wanted to write a 5,000 word story before you reach the choice, instead of shoving all of that into one megascroll Twine passage, you could chain a series of passages together with a sequence of single link nodes, until you reach the passage with the choice. In a parser, you can represent this same model of an unbreakable chain of passages leading into the single action as a series of rooms, each with a forced action, that leads into a final room where you can at last choose between actions, culminating the game.

Because the rhythm of a parser is different from a choice game, it’s likely to be more popular to simply do an Aisle alike, but the jam is also open to different parserbased expressions of the same limitation.


I have a clarification question, too:

If I press only Enter and then the player character walks, would that be allowed?

I think what’s confusing people about doing this jam in parser is a blur of what “choice” means in a choice narrative comparatively to a “turn” or “move” in parser.

In a choice game you click on a link or button and that usually would be thought of as a “choice” and also potentially a “move” or a “turn”. It’s common to have a single choice for “next” and possibly to disguise it as a word for “turn the page”, but it’s easy to determine an actual choice because you have a fork with multiple choices - you can pick the lady or the tiger, e.g.

In parser, unless you limit the move set or override the parser and offer numbered choices, there isn’t a specific theoretical limit to the “choices” a player can make at any given moment (there are exceptions, like forcing a yes/no in Inform with if the player consents but… Even in an empty room I can jump, I can take inventory, I can examine myself and you could argue since I’m not changing the world-state it doesn’t constitute “choice”. Unless in a cutscene where I can only “press space to continue” there is theoretically never a “single choice” to make, unless you want to follow Aisle’s “one typed command completes the game” (or provides a resolution and ending) model.

The confusing part is saying “You can have multiple rooms” because relocating to another room technically constitutes a “choice” the player made and increments the turn counter. If you only get one “choice”, that would make it impossible to then visit a third adjacent room.

It might potentially make more sense to specify “compass directions” to move the player around the map (NORTH, EAST, WEST, SOUTH, NORTHWEST, NE, SE etc…) do not count as making a choice but as movement (similar to single-choice ‘click to continue’ links in a Twine game) - so the player could potentially explore a map before entering one non-directional command as their “single choice” - modeling Aisle but with multiple locations.

Or, you could specify that for parser a “choice” changes the world model so movement, inventory, examining - anything that does not alter the world model - does not count as a choice. Picking something up, turning on a lamp, etc… would then count as the “single choice.”


wow the thread blew up a bit. I’ve taken note of all the question. will come back with the answers shortly!


What got me confused is the statement that multiple rooms are allowed when building the game with a parser engine, but only one room can offer a choice. Than would imply that when the player is in any other room BUT the Choice Room, there should be only one thing the player can do. That reminds me of a game idea which I have jotted down where the player can only progress through the game by doing the “right command” at each turn. That sounds very much like the “1 command for each room” … anything else the player tries at each step (or “room”) would terminate the game.

Otherwise, I do not see how a player in a parser game can “navigate the other rooms” except by the game only allow the player to “press any key to continue” (which is IMHO the equivalent of clicking a link in a nonparser game), and automatically doing the “right action”…


Moving to another room would count as an action. The room still exists in the game’s universe because you traveled there in the text of the game, but from a design aspect, it really doesn’t.

Type go north

Get Text response.

No other input other than quit/restart.

The text can mention the room, describe the room, narrate events in that room, while the author never had to necessarily implement a room, as it only exists in that single instance of static text.


OK I AM BACK WITH ALL ANSWERS (hopefully). I hope this is clear enough (doing my best :stuck_out_tongue: ), if not, sorry will try my best. If there are other question, let us knowww!

We’re allowing it :slight_smile:
Looking forward to the museum!

So this is fine as well (as room progression).


This was essentially our idea, but there’s no order on where the multi-choice room is located. Can be at the start, can be at the end, can be in the middle. You choose.

It is possible that the main issue may stem from this. So to make it clearer:

  • A turn/move is the same as a choice (for choice-base/hyperlinks entries).
  • One turn per room.
    The player must be sent to another room or the game must end when the turn is concluded.
    This does not include error message.
  • As many rooms as you want.
    Rooms must be one of two types: context or choice. The Context Room only accepts one specific action (pre-set ahead of time). While in the Choice room, the player is allowed to input an action from a set of potential action (still with the caveat of one turn per room).
  • The order of the rooms are up to you.

This was kinda indicated in the rules what counted or did not count in the action (i.e. WALKTHROUGH or HELP doesn’t, the rest does).
We did do it on purpose, to have restrictions.

Yes(-ish). Doesn’t have to terminate the game (unless you want it to), but it won’t let you progress further (error message).

I hope this covers everything… If not, come bother me again and I’ll try to answer it as switfly as I can :slight_smile:


This is a really cool jam idea and I have a game idea that might work for it and I may actually have time to enter??!

Also, The Northnorth Passage sprang to mind as another example of how to do something like this with a parser game—many rooms, only one choice.


What an interesting jam. I got an idea that I’m interested in exploring and if successful, this might result in my first ever parser game…


So, the idea is to have something like a Kinetic Novel, but with multiple endings?

As in, you’re a detective interviewing all suspects, but can only arrest one?

Or maybe a reverse of that, such as dating simulation where you choose the girl in the beginning?

Hmmm. How about if the action is determined randomly? Madlibs, anyone?


I like this one.