Starting a game in prison

Namely, is it a terrible cliche? Should I avoid it?

I have a game idea I’m working on in Inform where the player spends most of the game running around reprogramming robots, but it starts with a scene where the PC has been captured by the robot overlords and thrown in prison (for the length of time it takes the player to break out of the cell and get past the guard). How do you feel about starting a game this way? Should I try to come up with a different opening?

Doesn’t every Elder Scrolls game start in prison? Really, though, it’s not bad especially with your robot backstory.

I don’t think Rogue of the Multiverse suffered for placing the player in a jail cell, but maybe that was because you didn’t need to break out of it. Maybe check the reviews for this year’s The Contortionist, and see how many people thought the start was a problem.

This kind of opening is only a problem if the way to escape the cell is to slip a piece of paper under the door and push a key left in from the other side.

Sounds fine to me. Handled right, it could be used to establish the stakes of the conflict.

This too.

No, you pretty straightforwardly pick the lock. The real puzzle isn’t getting the door open; it’s keeping the guard from throwing you right back in.

Ben Collins-Sussman and Jack Welch’s Hoosegow is a good example of a fun escape-the-prison game. While you may not be fully going for the humor angle, I think it might help you incorporate humor, if you want to.

Cadre’s Lock and Key starts in prison, and pretty effectively riffs on the “too easy to escape” aspect of many prison openings.

a favorite of mine, hands down

but it was specifically designed for a escape-game competition

You’ll find it’s much easier to start developing a game if you’re not in prison.

While I’m solving problems briskly, here are some other responses to intfiction topics:

Problems with Relations

Get counseling.

Talking to someone in the next room

Raise your voice.

Unable to open file



Shut down the forum, it’s over.


It’s like saying “Shut down the Internet” or “You win the forum” - a way of expressing extreme approval for the humor in Wade’s post.

whoa, talk about being modest :laughing:

seems like it’s grown from “closed topic”

memes, they mutate like zombies…

Possibly I should have thought about my green highlight before using that exact turn of phrase…


is the code for the above. I’ve mainly read that on non-coding forums.