This is a question for both players and authors, and one that mostly applies to choice-based games (I think. If I’m wrong, would be curious to know).
The games I’m interested in making involve playing a pre-made character. They have their own hopes, dreams, feelings, etc. that are not really decided by the player. This is in contrast to games where you get to pick things like “What kind of person am I?” and are played with the player either acting as themselves (what would I do here?) or as some character they invented (what would my renegade Shepard who hates the Krogan do?).
The choices presented in the game I’m interested in do not reflect the full range of possibilities of what “someone” would do, but what the character might do. Through prose you’re given an understanding of how she feels and asked to make choices within that mindset. Doesn’t mean it’s on rails, it’s just a different axis.
I saw at least one reviewer comment that despite kind of knowing there was an existing character they were meant to roleplay, they were still mostly just playing themselves. So I’m really curious to know from both writers and players what their experience with all this is. For writers, have you written games like this? What techniques have you used to “seat” the player in the character? What have you learned about framing and choices?
For players, how do you feel about these kinds of games? Do they “work”? What determines whether or not they work?
And how can this discussion pivot to an argument about whether choice or parser games are better?