Please offer your opinion on hidden gameplay dynamics

How do folks feel about emergent or found gameplay? Meaning something that isn’t explicitly spelled out as something you can do in the game, something you can complete the game without ever discovering, but something that changes the game dynamic if found?

For example, if I were to use the Parser Doom thing I asked about recently, when I run out of bullets, I could have HIT ENEMY WITH GUN fast mapped. (Thanks for the verbage/example @HAL9000 .)

I wouldn’t necessarily know I could do that. And it’d take someone trying it and then sharing it with others to make it widely known.

But I feel like it adds a layer of discovery to the game that goes beyond easter eggs.

I’m concerned that if the find is significant enough that if you finished the game without finding it, but heard about it later, it might upset some. If so, where does that line lay?

If you beat Parser Doom and later found out you could disect and harvest useful organs from the corpses of your enemies, would that be a tactical advantage that would go too far? What if it came with matching risks? Like diseases or bad karma or whatever?

(Thanks for helping me form a more cogent explanation @sophia .)

I would really appreciate a spectrum of viewpoints on this, so, if anyone else is willing to chime in, I would be very appreciative.


This isn’t a reasonable or sustainable thing for people to get upset about. The nature of interactive media is that the audience’s discoveries are contingent on their participation. A discovery is only a discovery because you might not have discovered it.

  • NetHack consists almost entirely of discovering cool mechanics and interactions; you can play the game for years and still find out there are systems you didn’t know about
  • The open-world Zeldas are the same way
  • Possibly any game with interesting systems has some degree of hiddenness to its systems, because that is what makes them interesting

To avoid potentially annoying players that might complete the game and unknowingly miss a lot of content, I would show the percentage of the map discovered after completing the game. If they complete the game and only discovered 40% of the game world, I think they would be fools not to play again or start looking online for more secrets. (I think Doom already does this with level summaries.)

In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night on the PlayStation, you can complete the game and feel quite satisfied, only to look online and realize you missed more than half the game (I’m not kidding). That game is forever burned into my mind for that genius design choice. (It’s also an excellent game.)

I’d also consider mentioning boss monsters, characters, and items within the story of the game that will most likely not be found during a first play-through. Players would then wonder, where was the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch? Then it will sink in that the game is more than a shooter with a parser.

If so, where does that line lay?

The line is crossed is when you leave the player in the dark about the missed content. If you give them clues that they have missed something major, they will be grateful and dive right back in and/or start looking online for hints.

Edit: I’d also like to add that once this “there’s more than meets the eye” thing is established between the game and the player (a second play-through will reveal this) then it becomes acceptable to have super duper secret stuff that the game doesn’t even allude to. However, I would build upon the “clues” by having the secret content allude to other secret content; just to hit that point home. After that, there’s no holds barred and then you get the devious content being discovered that keeps the community engaged and in talks years after the game’s release.


We talked about this in the Neo Interactives Discord, but I’ll try to wrangle it into something a little more organized.

This tends to be a pretty polarizing topic for me. It either really clicks, and I’ll merrily spend hours lovingly designing species-suitable shoals and tank environments, or get deeply annoyed and have it colour my opinions negatively on a game I otherwise love from like, 2016. (Jeez, has that much time passed already?) A lot of this will depend on the intended audience of players, genre conventions, and game run length.

I’m someone who approaches games primarily from a character centric angle, and I enjoy romance games with low stakes that are generous on allowing for characterizing deviations that don’t necessarily lock you in/out of a route entirely, with clear signal posting when you’re going to dive into a bad or good route. For me, the entire point of engaging with games is to learn about characters- I love developing headcanons that extend canonical information (and write fanfiction about it!), and also can spend hours detailing lovingly how small bits of dialogues or particular scenes help contextualize a character’s motivations in the narrative. I am solidly on the team of ‘THE CURTAINS ARE BLUE FOR A REASON!’ and symbolism is my bread and butter.

I don’t particularly enjoy survivalist games, (especially if you’re heavily penalized for a character death, as I much more enjoy building out my perfect character’s skillset or building elaborate bases) or heavily puzzle centric games (as I fall more in line with leaning on low friction/barriers of entry into a story, unless a puzzle has earned its weight/has proportionate pay off in terms of character development or lore insight. I am definitely not a puzzles for puzzles sake meowmeow, and more power to those that enjoy cracking down on a brain teaser for fun, it takes all sorts.)

When it feels like an additive experience, I really enjoy it. Unlocking a new mode where you’re allowed to play around with unlimited ammo or new weapons to figure out your preferred load out, silly cosmetic things like being able to decorate fish tanks with items that make sense to add in, coordinating hats or outfits with you and pets or companions- those all are great. It doesn’t take away from the game’s experience. A single run still feels like time well invested and spent, rather than having the rug yanked out from underneath your feet.

It’s a bit like books. I heavily prefer either reading stand alones, or novels that in of themselves contain a complete, full story- with satisfying character arcs, even if some epic grand scale quest might unfold over several books, or you might follow different generations. I heavily enjoy reading more books set in the same universe, or around an entangled cast. I also enjoy making new save files, or runs, and will often replay to explore more of the universe presented- so long as it feels rewarding. (This is why I have over a thousand hours in Stardew Valley, and spent years in Maple Story. Different playstyles are fantastic to explore, different romances can be unlocked, new classes and their unique skills can be learned and played with, etc.)

But when it feels subtractive, is when it really doesn’t work at all for me. Rather than being a fun Easter egg, a brand new route, or earned unlocked element- it can sometimes sour the experience entirely.

Games that punish you severely for an early on mistake and then after a long haul tell you too bad, so sad, replay to get a good ending that would’ve been unreasonable for the average Joe to figure out will have me throwing them aside. I hate sudden deaths that artificially end a story and blue balls you on the plot. Similarly, if there was all along some covert mechanism to make things much easier- artificial difficulty spikes just for the sake of being difficult aren’t my cup of tea. (But it certainly works for people who enjoy that grindiness or are deep into min/maxing.)

I have a strong preference for being able to engage with a game thoughtfully, and not reactively- I want to be able to figure out the best way to get a particular character route, or puzzle out character’s relationships and why they interact with each other the way they do- and have it feel fair, rather than being surprised and taken aback by ending up on another character’s route entirely. Similarly, I like being able to preview skill trees, so I know what I should be working towards, and how I can best build out my (usually) magician, rather than feeling like I’m just gaining random spells or groping around blindly in the dark.

An example of when it really doesn’t work for me is when it comes to character motivations. If, for example, in a game- there is a grumpy old hunter who just apparently really hates tourists and has an inexplicable grudge against the protagonists on the grounds of just them being young and new faces, but it turns out if you do [insert some absurdly niche action] that actually, he was trying to scare them all away to avoid their unfortunate fate because he’s aware of the horrors that lurk in the locale, and he’s actually a deeply caring, haunted individual: then it wouldn’t work for me, and it would be really irritating.

It flattens his character into ‘gumpie ol’ boomer meowmeow who hates fun’, and I want to see their motivations (through on screen actions or dialogue) rather than being told this as an out of universe fact on a wikia or from word of mouth. (If I’m provided with an in universe cue to investigate him, or clues that I could knit it all together from like relative cross material between John and Father Garcia in FAITH, then that’s fine, and engaging.) It makes him less interesting, because his motivations are more opaque and less fleshed out to the surface viewer, so he falls more heavily into flat archetypes (which do have their place, but are so much more vivacious when you tip your hand to show some sort of unexpected subversion or inversion.)

The cardinal sin for any character is to be boring- because even a despicable character can be interesting in the sense of serving a purpose in the narrative. Just like how bad communication contrived just to carry a thin plot is deeply annoying- unreliable narrators can be super fascinating, but they have to have a reason to be difficult- (which is why I think they tend to work fantastically in murder mysteries, where they’re accused of the crime, or have personal stakes in exonerating or framing a loved one.) Scenarios that lock away key character information on understanding and contextualizing their role in a story are deeply frustrating- mystery for mystique’s sake is not fun, it’s just irritating.

Friction that is deserved friction, in that it has a proportionate pay off, and emergent gameplay that is additive to an already satisfying experience are both great. It’s when you feel like the game is holding you hostage over some artificial difficulty just to be hard for hardness’ sake, or you didn’t even know and missed out on a whole bunch of rich characterization and contextualization that it really doesn’t work for me, personally.


I would keep the tactical advantages minimal. For example, maybe HIT ENEMY WITH GUN gives you a 10% damage bonus than a regular punch. Not game changing, but just worthwhile stuff.

When you talk about harvesting organs, I would hope that the game suggests you do this in order to craft something like potions. It wouldn’t tell you how to gather the ingredients (you could mess them up or not have them 100% pure), but at least you knew that it would be something to try and figure out.

You might start off by selling ingredients to an apothecary. Then you find an alchemy table and maybe you don’t need his help any more.

Kind of unrelated: You reminded me of one of the most unique guns ever to grace the silver screen. Jude Law (in Existenz) is eating at a restaurant (they’re in a VR game) when he starts grabbing bones and savagely eating the meat off them… then he starts assembling the bones into a gun of sorts. Maybe there are organic weapons to craft?


My very personal opinion is: Harvesting organs is very creepy. I don’t like the idea. But if you go for the horror genre then it seems to be not so bad. But speaking generally there’s nothing wrong with hidden things/mechanisms. It is even recommendable for an author to implement hidden things. That’s fun for the players.


Is that a direct Monty Python reference, or a Grim Quest one?


Monty, Max. 10 points for successfully identifying a geezer reference in the wild.


Count to 3, not to 4, not to 2…


I follow Ryan Veeder largely because I’m on the opposite end of some spectrums and it’s always interesting to see what he likes and makes and what parts are cool things that I wouldn’t have thought of and what parts just don’t work for me at all, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that I disagree here… sorta.

I think liking or disliking hidden gameplay dynamics is a personal thing that varies a LOT between people and it’s perfectly reasonable to get upset about it… for some values of upset. Obviously organizing review bombing or attacking the devs aren’t cool. But feeling misled when you thought the game was something you’d like and then finding out that it isn’t? Deciding that you don’t want to play any more of that dev’s games? Totally fair. Tipping over into “nobody should be allowed to make things I don’t like?” Not cool. But if you’re upset and your language shades towards “this is bad” as a shorthand for “I don’t like this; this didn’t work for me” I’m not going to worry much about that.

I think there are a bunch of factors. A couple that stick out to me:

Does the game or its marketing tell you that there are hidden depths?

As a farmer, I have enough uncertainty and “is this even a puzzle at all?” in my everyday life, where it’s interesting because it has real, deep reasons and consequences: I’m way less interested in the usually-shallow and meaningless human-constructed ones: if it’s supposed to be entertainment, I want to know what I’m getting into. But some people are exactly the opposite: they’re only interested in the uncertainty and exploration in a space where it’s explicitly play (a privilege thing? Who gets to play?).

And then there are games that depend for their interest on the twist or the surprise. Doki Doki Literature Club (though I’m not sure why that one was surprising to anyone: I thought it was super strongly telegraphed), or Frog Fractions or whatever. I don’t have much use for those but they’re also wildly popular.

Then there are things like Tunic, or Fez. Or The Witness. Those tend to really miss for me, but I know that up front, so I just don’t play them unless I’m in the mood. I grew up without almost any of the pop-culture things, so I enjoyed Fez well enough in the beginning until I got stuck on a puzzle where… I think it was an audio puzzle, and I’m very much a “computers should be seen and not heard” person, so I didn’t even have the audio on. And then you were supposed to… pick out the Zelda theme from under a bunch of random noise? And that would give you the clue to decipher the code. And I’m not at all sure I’d even recognize the Zelda theme if you outright played it to me. And I think I fell into that one through a deep hole, so I couldn’t even get out. I had to die and restart at the last checkpoint. So that felt totally unfair. But that kind of thing is very cool if you’re in the fandom: it was just unfair because I thought it was a self-contained puzzle game, not a pop-culture trivia one.

Is the game built around discovery?

Roguelikes tend to live in this space. NetHack, as Ryan said. Again, I’m way on one end. I enjoy roguelikes, but I’d enjoy them even more if they gave me the tools to practice the specific thing that I’m bad at sometimes instead of getting to practice it only the one run in twenty that the game actually throws up that situation. I’d enjoy them more if I got item descriptions and details, instead of having to try things out and potentially lose the run (which is one thing in 20-minute action-roguelikes like Spelunky or Nuclear Throne, another in longer ones like NetHack or ADOM). It’s… maybe it’s like character creation in RPGs: some people love spending time on that while I’m like “I don’t know what your story is about yet, how would I know what characters would fit? Just give me something good.” But mechanical comparing items and stuff, I love that. Give me that up front.

Long-form simulation games too: Dwarf Fortress, the Crusader Kings series. The Sims? I tend not to like these because the amount of surprise is too low. Some people live for the surprising interactions. I’m like “if you authored this I could have a cool surprising thing happen every half-hour instead of picking the one cool thing out of ten hours of boring repetitive play.” And it would probably be more surprising and interesting than the thing that occurred randomly. I don’t care if I’m the only one who’s ever seen this thing happen: I care if it’s interesting to me. Victor Gijsbers’s thoughts around Scents and Semiosis are very much how I feel about this (though ironically as a programmer I love making this stuff).

Broad vs. deep mechanics?

This is about puzzles specifically: you have things like… say, Braid, where the core mechanic (time rewinding) is actually kinda boring and there’s not much you can do with it. So the puzzles are all about adding other mechanics on top of that. And there are some that get layered throughout the game, but a lot of them are one and done: you get a new mechanic for every level and then you never see it again. Some people love that. Especially in the non-videogame puzzle space, like the custom sudoku community or the mystery hunt communities.

I don’t find it that interesting: I like puzzles where you take a simple set of mechanics and wring lots of interesting situations out of it. Slitherlink. The Swapper. In The Swapper there were two consecutive puzzles that looked almost exactly the same, but one had an extra step. And you had just barely managed to solve the previous one: how the heck are you going to solve this one? And then you notice the other small change that makes it possible and it feels cool: look at the subtleties of this mechanic. And you get better and better over the course of the game so you get to the end and look back at the beginning puzzles and think “how could I have struggled with that? Look how good I am now!”

Whereas in Braid… I know a lot of people got the “I felt stupid and then very smart” sensation, but for me, I’ve done enough puzzles that I could see that, say, these two consecutive puzzles look almost identical, but I can also see that the thing you need is carefully off-screen. So you’re not stupid, you just literally DO NOT HAVE the information you need to solve it. You have to guess. And the puzzle is set up so you can’t rewind, so if you guess wrong, you have to wait through all the menu animations to quit and reload and then walk your painfully slow-moving character through all the steps over again. That doesn’t make me feel stupid and then smart, it makes me feel ticked off at the !#@#?! designer.

And also with its single-use mechanics, it just felt like a random grab-bag of “guess which one it is this time!” and not like I was actually getting better. I’ve never played The Witness, but when it came out I watched the trailer and then spent 30 minutes brainstorming all the things I could think of to do with that mechanic, and then looked up a walkthrough and… I had thought of all but two of the things in the game? Which isn’t to say I could have designed the puzzles: no way. But the “lots of one-time variety” doesn’t really do much for me.

Is the game a deconstruction/parody? Do you know that?

I’ve been listening to Ryan and Sarah and Zach’s podcast about Earthbound, a game that I bounced off of several times. And I’ve finally gotten into the game a little. I still think it doesn’t work great for me, but I can see why it’s interesting. Because it’s playing with “what even is an RPG? What are the well-worn ruts that people fall into and how can we play with and subvert and joke about those expectations?” But for me it… well. As with Braid, I think a bunch of the things it does are just unfun and I would have left them out instead of putting them in for completeness.

So the puzzle where it matters where you stand when you talk to the NPC, which is… almost a one-off, as far as I’ve gotten. Like that would be cool if it was a thing that they played with regularly. And they do give you kind of a clue in the dialogue, and if you were looking at everything you might have noticed another instance nearby. Or… you might misunderstand the dialogue as meaning something totally different and have forgotten about the other instance of this behavior because you ran across it three hours ago (even though it’s right there) and it was only used in that one place.

The dungeon that’s just a simple annoying maze, with the NPC who’s like “I’m learning to make dungeons; what did you think, how did I do?” Which… ok, funny, but also just annoying and… why?

But when you approach it with “this is what the game is playing with” then it’s ok, I guess. And if you’re into that kind of thing it’s amazingly cool.

On which layers does your game give certainty vs. uncertainty?

Inkle’s just-released A Highland Song bills itself as a short pilgrimage, which makes it feel like a game that you’d play once. But then it’s almost more of a… roguelike exploration game? You’re meant to play it over and over to learn the surprisingly complex mechanics by trial and error. And if you get unlucky with the randomness and miss some subtle things you can have a very frustrating first (only?) run.

For instance, it only tutorializes some of the navigation mechanics. And some of the story events give you a very wrong impression about how the health mechanics work. Which fits with a roguelike “figure out the mechanics for yourself over multiple runs” but it feels unfair if you’re playing it just once to get your single story that you’ll take away as canonical. They add to the uncertainty of this trek through the unknown mountains, sure, but in a way that can feel much more unfair than atmospheric.

So where is the secret stuff hidden, and where are you on firm ground? Does your game communicate that to the player, or is it supposed to be part of the fun that anything could be shifting ground? Does the marketing communicate that to prospective players so they can avoid buying it if they don’t like that?

spoilered for those who like exploring mechanics

So it’s a parallax series of mountains that you traverse with 2D platforming/climbing mechanics. The landscape stays the same, but you find map fragments which unlock new paths and tunnels between parts of the landscape.

They tell you that if you go to a peak, you can flip through your journal and mark spots on the landscape where you think the map points to, and then go down to that location and confirm it. So a lot of times you’ll be struggling to find a way forward, you’ll discover a new map that points to a path right near where you are, and then, oh no! you have to dangerously climb back up to the peak in the rain and near-dark to point out the place and then come back to where you were to follow the path or shelter in the cave overnight. So what they don’t tell you, and the game kind of hides to avoid spoilers, is that if you’re standing on the spot, and you open your journal and flip to the correct map it’ll say “oh yeah, that’s the spot right here!” Which saves quite a lot of unnecessary and dangerous backtracking.

Similarly, your max health tends to go down over time. And they tell you that if you stay in a bothy or shed or house, you’ll recover some max health. But then of the early bothies that are easy to find, and lie along the route that the game kind of funnels you toward on a first run, a bunch of them have horrors inside that actually decrease your max health if you sleep there. So I spent nearly my whole first run thinking it was a kind of grinding horror game where you keep getting weaker and weaker and can you get to the sea before you die… and then I stayed in a good bothy and my max health went almost all the way back up. So it’s way more forgiving than the game made me think.

And there are single waist-high wooden posts sunk into the ground. And they don’t really stand out: there are lots of little rocks and trees and things, it’s easy to just think they’re scenery. But if you stop there for a second, you’ll realize that they’re a local path to a higher or lower ridge. So if you fail to notice that cue you’re in trouble. Similarly, you’ll often see a single deer grazing and those lead to the rhythm sections that take you on a run from one mountain to the next. But it is possible to go backwards to a previous mountain, and some of the sections you run right to go forward and some you run left. The game does kind of an amazing job of funneling you forward: I never went backwards by accident. But it’s easy to get lost, even if you have a pretty good sense of direction. So again, if you miss the cue that “the deer generally mark the path forward” then it’s easy to think that the left-facing ones lead backwards (especially because the first couple are to the right).

You probably remember the where will the little match girl travel next? puzzles. So on the seventh of those images, the one with the morse code and semaphore and braille characters… I like that. Because there are enough variety of symbols that I’m likely to recognize some of them even though I don’t do pop-culture stuff at all. And even if I don’t, there’s a good chance that I can recognize what kind of a puzzle it is and think, “OK, probably some of these symbols are an alphabet from some TV show that I’ve only vaguely heard of, like The Simpsons or Futurama or something.” And I know that I don’t have the knowledge to solve it, so I can decide to leave it for someone else or to switch it out for the different puzzle of “how do you search the web for an image?”

But then Ghost Train had me extremely frustrated because the form made me think it was a completely self-contained puzzle, like a word search crossed with an alphabet substitution cipher or something, when in fact it required pulling in outside information. And I actually did know the cultural stuff I needed, and it was a really cool puzzle once you saw it, I just… it felt like the puzzle was actively misleading me. I ain’t got time for that. Though again, many people in some of the puzzle cultures really really really love that stuff.


Ugh. I’m just rambling. I think it’s individual. I think one big thing is whether you’re looking to be surprised and delighted by anything, or if you’re looking for a more predictable experience where the surprises live within certain bounds. And how well the game communicates its expectations, so you can choose not to play the stuff you don’t like. And it gets especially tricky because there are genres where not knowing what you don’t know is the whole point.


sorry to bring up my game AGAIN but in terms of “found secrets” that you don’t have to know to finish the game but color things differently if you do know them, this was an explicit goal for erstwhile. I love that sort of stuff-- but only if it’s clued that you should look, somehow.


OK, perhaps this is true. But many games have hidden stuff, and the players generally don’t complain about it.

But in my opinion this has nothing to do with hidden mechanisms. If the game is bad, it is bad. But that’s not because there are hidden content.

In contrast to you, I find this mean. Except if it’s done in a friendly, eye-winking way. But not okay if it ridicules the player or leads them by the nose.

You are right, that’s an evil example!


The old-school AMUSING command you could type after winning is in a similar vein. This would likely reveal (or at least hint at) content you hadn’t seen, but more as a reward for finishing and an enticement to possibly replay.


I generally include game-state dependent optional content (the hidden good ending branch etc.). In parser games, these tend to be hidden mechanics. I try to get half an hour or so of such gameplay into each of my games. As far as I know, no one has ever found any of it, though. So I would recommend against this from an economy-of-effort perspective.


I asked because in the game Grim Quest the author makes an actual easter egg of the Holy Hand Grenade, full with Monty Python quote and all. So I wondered, since HAL was talking about eater eggs, and the GQ one was an Easter egg (and a reference!).


In parser fiction, a certain number of Easter eggs are not just a good thing, but a necessary part of the coding. You want to reward the player for everything they are likely to try.

Easter eggs that can only be discovered by decompiling the code seem a little silly and a waste of the programmers time.

But what you’re asking about are hidden features that fundamentally change the game dynamic; I’d probably judge them by the same standards. If 50% of players can “discover” the game changing feature on their own, that’s a cool feature. If the dynamic can only be discovered by reading other people’s reviews, I’d perceive that as a cheat code.


depend on what is the change. extreme ideological changes whose aren’t proof of concept (as that proof of concept, the game formerly known as hidden nazi mode) perhaps will be not precisely positively received…

but, if the change gives replay value ? Toying with the various footnote extensions, I came to conclusion that is the best mean of deliver a “director’s comment” in an IF context, and the hidden command for activating the footnote is delivered in the end message, this IS an interesting idea…

Best regards from Italy,


I meant to do that earlier and then… :woman_shrugging: time
tbh this is prob something more relevant to parser and -like games rather than choice-based/CYOA, since the latter has that inherent expectations that your choice will usually affect your future gameplay (and the options may/may not be listed/explicit anyway).

Peeps have put it more eloquently than I will above, but imo the line lays in:

  • the expectations set by the game blurb/synopsis/gameplay explanations (is it told explicitly, or hinted that there is no one way to solve a puzzle?)
  • the hints that custom/unexpected actions are available/could be possible (is it hinted in the text?)
  • the experience the player has with parsers (would they try weird commands?)
  • the player’s personal preference (do they prefer more traditional actions/way of playing or not? do they look for weird commands and stuff?)

Also… you’ll never please everyone when making games. You’ll always have that one person who will be upset no matter what. so :woman_shrugging:

Personally, finding out there were completely different ways to handle something tend to push me to replay the game (if I liked the game to begin with).


Specifically, emergent gameplay is “toy box” stuff either unplanned by the author - like trying to marry an NPC in every town in Fable - or a game set up with simulationist systems where people can literally “make their own fun” like chain reaction explosions in the Source engine games, or a complete building and simulationist toy box like Minecraft. If your game is a toy that people can keep coming back to for experimentation and enjoyment, I don’t know how that can be bad.

I think that’s different from hidden gameplay elements. Which I have absolutely no experience using whatsoever. Or undocumented features meant to be discovered through use. The idea that you can jump higher by shooting the BFG down and riding the force of an explosion is the kind of thing you wouldn’t expect to be recommended use of a weapon.

Open world games should have secret nooks and crannies and lore and artifacts that reward exploration. Some players are completionists and some are not.

In IF, if entire sections of the game can go unfound and the player had a rewarding experience, I don’t understand how someone could get angry with that. If I can play Captain Verdeterre’s Plunder once or twice and be satisfied with my score, there’s no reason to get mad that I missed stuff.


Zarf has you covered. I wish more people would self-rate their own games. I even made tags if you type #zcs: zcs-cruel zcs-polite