Ever since @johnnywz00 's thread about readthrough mode, I’ve been wondering about ways to enable people who–for whatever reason–have difficulty engaging with parser games. For some, the challenge may be an accessibility issue. For others, it might be a language barrier. Sometimes, people just don’t enjoy or get the hang of something.
Such people might enjoy the narrative, though, or the experience of reading the prose. I’ve been thinking about ways to make such experiences available. Now, before you say, “what a silly thing to do!” remember that reviewers often refer to their use of walkthroughs. This is a common community practice. My question is: can this be streamlined for persons who struggle with parser gameplay?
Now, John’s already done this work with his TADS game; I’ve seen it and think it’s great. I’ve had a transcript published with RTE ever since Spring Thing ended, but I feel that just dropping a transcript is not engaging enough. Looking forward, I want to improve my transcript document and also offer an in-game feature. The craft of playing and reading are two separate things. In the transcript, the author has to decide what the reader sees. What is interesting, and what is not?
Whether using a static document or a in-game mode like John’s, what are the best practices and considerations? If you were reading such a text, what would you like and dislike?
An important note:
From time to time, people write parser games about things like mental illness and dead parents, so let’s not suggest radical changes to tone or narrative voice involving new speakers or narrative framing. People can do things like that, of course, and maybe a new thread would be a good place for discussing it. The goal here is giving readers and players comparable (so far as the two mediums allow) experiences with the core text of the game.
This has no effect on others making their own transcripts. That can be very valuable for authors and players alike. I’m talking about things like let’s plays and club floyd, but those are not part of the author’s text. I don’t think an author should try to influence how players use their work. It’s their business. Just my take!