The limit of scores into IF


I have a question for all of you. It has to be answered by the player-point-of-view. But something’s been troubling me.

When you play IF games, don’t you feel limited by the score ? When I played Choice of the Dragon, for example, I knew there were good endings and bad endings ; I knew you could have a good score or a bad score (wealth, health, etc…)

Isn’t that limiting the possibility of exploration for a player ? I mean, if you like the game when you finish it, you’re going to try some other way into the fiction. But when you play for the first time, don’t you feel it like a limit to your exploration ? I, as a player, wanna find the good ending first - it will be hard for my moral to take “bad” choices just to see where this is going. I know a lot of people feel like me in a standard video game (be an evil man in Fallout, …).

Specifying the score system at first would be a limitation for the player’s freedom into the storytelling, don’t you think ?

Depends on how much I like the game.

I’m not a completionist, so scoring is a nifty bell on occasion. Some people will seek out every lousy point.

I like having a score as an indicator of progress or completion, and finishing a game with a low score alerts the player that there’s more stuff. If they like the game, this encourages replay. I was shocked to learn that some people hammered at Final Girl enough to see every ending despite it being random and probably hard to make happen.

I’ve made two games with absurd total score counts. I set it to 999,999 in Baker of Shireton sort of as a joke since the game masquerades at first as a time-management sim, and also as a hint that the points didn’t matter. I was primarily using the score as the amount of money the player banks and using that to trigger events in the background.

In Fair, the score is again the amount of money made by the player, and people told me they were again angry to see a total of 11,001 (I think?) possible points. But in this game, it’s actually doable, and the last lousy point is a reward for seeing the actual ending.

So the scoring strategy the author uses can be informational for the player, but I’ve never heard of someone rage-quitting a game solely based on “I will never score that many points.”