What's it like To Be You?

Hi! A group of techie volunteers in a Singaporean charity built an IF game that aims to help young people develop empathy for people unlike them. It’s an IF that puts you in the shoes of different characters like a young girl in an intercultural relationship or a boy being torn between his passion and his familial expectations. (Actually, the way the game is developed, it puts you in their mobile phones because our immersive story is often told through user interfaces that look like WhatsApp, Email, Twitter, etc)

I would love to get feedback from diverse users on it, even though the story is very localised to Singapore.


(it asks for your email address to create an account but you don’t have to give a real one)


I’ve never been to Singapore, but I have a good friend who lives there (a native), and I was curious to see how this might address some of the very real issues around identity that are present in Singapore. Plus, this game is so obviously a “chatbot” style presentation, which is my bread and better, so yah, I was very excited to see your announcement here.

Unfortunately, the soundtrack that you cannot mute or adjust the volume is incredibly annoying. I couldn’t even last five minutes. Even the screenshot with its dry computerese “Choose your reply…” was a turnoff.

If you’ve got some video/text reviews from people who’ve played it, I’d love to see that, though.

Hi Sam! The music is only three during the menu screens (not the actual game) and there is a mute button in the top right.

So far we’ve had a few thousand players and around a thousand have left long verbatim reflections which are very positive. If you finish playing Nadia chapter 1, you’ll see some of them.

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Would love to hear if anybody else has thoughts on how this game could help build empathy in society, while still being fun to play!

Hi GK, I am generally interested in this sort of thing but am behind on multiple projects (the mere fact that I am posting here and now is evidence of procrastination). If I can get some work submitted today, I will take a look at it this evening.

Okay, I’ll give it another chance

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I found this polished and I enjoyed reading it (I tried the first chapters for two characters).

It read like a visual novel to me–which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I was surprised when I read that there were multiple endings because it never felt like I was making impactful choices.

Anyway, as someone from the southern US with a limited understanding of these cultures, I found the material informative. The individual characters were likable. I may return and read more sometime.

e: let me know if you have specific questions.

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I couldn’t log into the game using a fake email, and I never use a real one, and I don’t have a facebook account. It looks very cool, and I did try to play!

You can’t log in using a fake email, but you can create a new account using a fake email. I hope that helps!

I got to tell ya, I design and work with chatbots for a living, and this style of IF is exactly analogous to chatbot design, so I was really quite excited for the app to be good.

Are there some good intentions behind your project? Yes, I’d say there probably are. However, much like non-Infocom games in the 90s, this project should have spent more time being exposed to beta testers. And at least a basic understanding of chatbot design would’ve been helpful as well.

For example:

  • Why build a custom interface with a pseudo mobile phone screen when there are standard chatbot toolkits that work directly on mobile screens?
  • Why the mandatory registration/log-in?
  • Who is the sound for?
  • Why is this NOT being distributed (directly in its playable mode) on social media?

Honestly, the way this WITLTBY? app feels is like a class got together and wanted to create a project to discuss empathy and multiculturalism and then built everything from scratch themselves.

If I’m wrong, I apologize. As I said, there seems to be a lot of genuine heart behind this project. But in terms of professional presentation, it needs work.

Thanks so much Sam - it’s awesome to get detailed feedback / queries from someone with experience!

You’re spot on - we’re a bunch of volunteers in a non-profit building this for a social cause. So not quite a class that got together, but we’re certainly not professional game devs or story writers :slight_smile:

Some (attempted) answers to your questions:

  1. We built a custom interface because this game isn’t a chatbot; it’s an interactive story built in Ink (inklestudios.com) which is one of the popular IF tools in this forum. If you play one full chapter of any character, you will notice that we jump between “scenes” (where a player is talking to another character face to face with a background) and “mobile interfaces” (like whatsapp, twitch, email, etc). So there aren’t any chatbot toolkits that are sufficiently flexible to do what we did. Hence, we had no choice but to do it ourselves (trust me, we didn’t want to!)
  2. The game saves progress, so we need user accounts. Also, teachers use this in classrooms to get kids to discuss diversity and empathy, so they want to know what choices students made so that it can be used as a teachable moment.
  3. Haha we had a guy who was a composer and wrote a song for the game, which we were very excited by. The music is only for the menu sections, not the actual gameplay itself (yet, we will eventually have sound effects in-game).
  4. What do you mean by “distributed directly in its playable mode” on social media? How would that be possible?

Thanks so much. Really appreciate the direct feedback!