Apr 05

2010

Sailors Are Not Dragons

Posted by: Heather Albano | Comments (28)

… and books are not RPGs.

(By the way—hi there! I’m Heather. I joined Choice of Games as writer #3 just as Broadsides development was starting. It’s nice to meet you, too!)

This post started as a comment to the “Help Us Switch Gender” thread, but I decided not to post it at the time, both because it got way too long and because I couldn’t make my points without risking spoilers. Now I think I can reasonably assume anyone reading this has played the game (but I put the spoilers under a cut anyway.)

The core concept for Broadsides was to write an adventure that allowed the PC to feel like the protagonist of a Hornblower or Aubrey/Maturin novel. The heaving waves, the clash of steel, the opportunities for honor and treasure and fame, the danger of storms and mutiny and enemy fleets…

A core tenet of the Choice of Games philosophy is to make all our players feel as “at home” as possible. There are enough games out there where the player has no choice but to play a male protagonist. There are enough women who have been turned off roleplaying games as a result. There are, similarly, enough games where the only romantic opportunities are with the opposite sex. Enough other people are perpetuating those stereotypes; we’d like to do better than that.

Adam and Dan did do better than that, with Dragon. Some of the most enthusiastic positive commentary referenced the ability to play as female and to acquire a same-sex mate. So surely, we thought, we can do it again. No problem.

Except it turns out sailors aren’t quite so simple to stage-direct as dragons. :)

And RPGs are not quite as straightforward to write as non-interactive fiction.

Here’s what I mean. Let’s say you’re writing historical fiction—something like Hornblower, set in the real-world British Navy fighting the real-world French. The worldbuilding is pretty simple to do (though it’s not a trivial task to get it right) because you have a template to work from.

Now let’s say you’re writing historical fantasy—the Napoleonic Wars with Susannah Clarke’s magic or Naomi Novik’s dragons. Here the worldbuilding is less straightforward, but more fun: you change your selected variable, and then map the effects on the world as they ripple outward.

Now take one more step. Let’s say you’re writing fantasy, but you want your world to evoke the feeling of a particular era or type of literature. For instance, a Hornblower novel. From one perspective, writing in your own universe gives you wonderful freedom. It’s suddenly much easier to allow women to serve in the Royal Navy … but now you’ve bought yourself a new problem. Change too many variables, and you’ll wind up with something that no longer feels like a Hornblower novel. You’re free of the constraints of the real world, but if you’re not very careful, you’ll also lose the touchstones.

And here’s one more constraint. You’re writing a game, not a novel. So your scope is constrained—you are telling the PC’s story, and have less of an opportunity to digress into the dark corners of your world and demonstrate how the changed variables affect the people who live there. More importantly, the world you build has to be fun for the player to play in. That doesn’t mean happy-sunshiny-bunnies-and-kittens, but it does mean that the player has to be able to make meaningful choices that affect the flow of the story. The life of the protagonist (the PC) cannot completely suck because of the parameters of the universe. It might be interesting to do that in a novel, but you’re not writing a novel. If historical accuracy means that it is no fun to play, you need to trade off some accuracy to improve the fun quotient.

But not too much, or you’ve lost the feel.

So now every decision becomes one factor in a delicate balance. Is the game, on a whole, historically-accurate enough to feel like a Hornblower novel… and at the same time, does it change enough variables to allow the player to play as a character type with whom s/he identifies? Can the player do most of the things (make most of the choices) s/he wants to? And is it fun when s/he does?

AND—once again, remember you’re writing a game, not a novel, so you have to consider the scope of the project, too. “How difficult will that be to code” is also a constraint. Earlier blog posts (here, and here) discuss the difficulty of balancing realistic decisions with a manageable number of branches.

Broadsides spoilers follow.

There were two big questions on the table when I joined the team. The first was whether to include the possibility of a mixed-gender navy. Adam was strongly for it. I was intrigued by the idea, and I did, in fact, spend some amount of time down the rabbit hole spinning out what that world would look like. Dan argued against, because at that point we would be writing two different games: one with an all-male or all-female navy, with gender roles either exactly aligning with the real world or exactly flipped; and one with a mixed navy, with an entirely different set of boardroom and drawing-room politics. He was concerned about our ability to manage all the different branches and actually complete and release a game that worked.

And then all three of us became concerned, the more we discussed it, at the effect a mixed-gender Navy would have on overall feel. For instance, would there be sexism in the mixed-gender Royal Albion Navy? Well… would that be fun to play? It might be interesting to play, but it didn’t sound like fun to us. More importantly, it carried a serious risk of players feeling violated or at least disempowered, and surely we get enough of that in the real world. Sexism would not aid the goal of PC swashbuckling.

Okay, but does that mean there are no gender politics whatsoever? Everybody’s just equal and friendly—the armed forces envisioned by Trek: TNG or B5 or Galactica? That torpedoes any potential comedy of manners. The “dash of Jane Austen” is gone; the Aubrey/Maturin flavor is on its way out…

The second question was whether we wanted to allow the PC to pursue a same-sex relationship. We considered structuring the “marriage chapter” to allow it. Might it be an acceptable thing to do in this fictitious world of ours? But now we’re back to what that does to gender politics and overall atmosphere… people are not dragons, and people playing a Regency comedy of manners are really not dragons. There are some ways to decouple gender roles from actual gender, but the end result might or might not feel like a Jane Austen drawing-room.

Well, okay then, what if it wasn’t socially acceptable? How about a vignette where you can pursue something illicit and secret? There was a lot of illicit same-sex love and sex in the real Royal Navy; Winston Churchill described that august body as characterized by “rum, sodomy, and the lash.” But none of the three of us wanted to present same-sex relationships as illicit, shameful, and the sort of thing that gets you cashiered if you’re caught. We had no desire to perpetuate those views, even in the name of historical accuracy; nor did we think any player would find that fun to play.

And we were at that point staring at the possibility of a “marriage chapter” with a minimum of eight branches: 1) male-in-male-only-Navy-courting-female, 2) male-in-male-only-Navy-courting-male, 3) male-in-mixed-gender-Navy-courting-female, 4) male-in-mixed-gender-Navy-courting-male, 5) female-in-female-only-Navy-courting-male, 6) female-in-female-only-Navy-courting-female, 7) female-in-mixed-gender-Navy-courting-male, and female-in-mixed-gender-Navy-courting-female. That means every step of the marriage chapter would have to be coded eight different ways. Multiply that times three or four decisions per branch… now multiply across ten chapters… and now add in the consideration that some of these paths take us places where the gameplay is no fun, and some others take us places that have far more in common with Trek’s squeaky-clean corridors than with heaving salt-sprayed decks and perfumed teatime drawing-rooms. (If you’re about to say that maybe we should have tried something easier to adapt as female-and-same-sex-friendly than the Napoleonic Navy, you have a point… but why shy away from something just because it’s hard? :) )

Since there wasn’t a way to do a mixed-gender Navy without sacrificing the desired atmosphere, we decided not to. Since there wasn’t a way to do same-sex relationships that balanced fun-to-play with desired atmosphere, we didn’t do that either. Our compromise position was to include the choice that lets you decide you are roleplaying a gay character… and then you and your character can read your interactions with Villeneuve any way you like. :)

While I of course cannot comment on what we might be working on next, setting a romance plot in a world we built ourselves would of course remove many of the aforementioned constraints. It would be much easier to code said plot to work equally well for male-courting-female, male-courting-male, female-courting-male, and female-courting-female.

If we were, hypothetically, working on anything like that next.

28 Comments

  1. I actually was hoping the Villeneuve subplot would head in that direction after I’d selected the gay option. The fact that I couldn’t figure out how to get with a male mate in Dragon was leaving me starved for actually experiencing a romance branch. I certainly wouldn’t have minded the necessary portrayal of the relationship as forbidden love, because that would make perfect sense with the setting.

    Besides, the consequences for my character feeling that illicit love were very much in the game; I got executed for not trying to kill Villeneuve. That felt unfair, arbitrary, and wasn’t fun at all. It was all the dissatisfaction of being caught in that illicit relationship without the gratification of explicitly having the relationship.

  2. Mary says:

    Personally, I think y’all did a wonderful job handling the gender roles on Broadsides. I was amused by the idea of “men’s place being in the home”, and relished the idea of a world with women in the more active role. It kept the historical feel to it, too. :)

  3. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alex Raymond, Dan Fabulich, topsy_top20k, topsy_top20k_en, Choice of Games and others. Choice of Games said: Sailors are not Dragons. http://bit.ly/943ZVS What do you think of our gender decisions in Choice of Broadsides? [...]

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The comment’s server IP (208.74.66.43) doesn’t match the comment’s URL host IP (74.112.128.10) and so is spam.

  4. Sharon says:

    I’ll put it a bit more strongly than Zacqary: the Villeneuve scenarios can absolutely be read as slash, yet the game doesn’t seem to acknowledge that. Offline conversations with several people suggest that I’m not the only player who found that lack of acknowledgment rather perplexing….

    Re: genderbending and swashbuckling, btw, I wonder whether you guys have read Ellen Kushner’s The Privilege of the Sword. Not navy-relevant, but possibly of interest if you head towards fantasy of manners, which as a subgenre subverts some of the class and gender issues that go with a fantasy setting influenced in some key ways by C16–19 Europe. Uh. That’s about as loosely as I can describe it. (Privilege is too recent to be on Kate’s list, and it’s the strongest of Kushner’s novels to date, IMO.)

  5. Lain says:

    Hey Choice Of people–I’m a newcomer to the games and THOROUGHLY enjoyed both of them! (By thoroughly I mean, played over and over again… :) )

    I too was definitely wanting to pursue some kind of relationship with Villeneuve in Broadsides. I was really happy with the lack of obligatory heterosexuality in both games! But I definitely was among those who read the relationship as full of sexual tension. Granted, I do tend to read that into relationships where it is not necessarily intended to exist, just to make myself feel represented in the world, but I digress…and I was apparently not alone in this one! In any case, when the “My blood is pumping, I need a strong drink” option appeared, I had my fingers crossed for a tension-fueled, opposites attract variety of alcohol-fueled romantic encounter. Sadly it remained in my imagination…

    I was impressed with the way the game handled gender. Not having mixed-gender crews seems entirely reasonable to me, especially given the arguments above. I do think it would be possible to write a mixed-gender, sexism-free world, but the separate spheres of the sexes (whichever binary it may be) does add a certain period flavor. (The “Men are unfit for the harsh life of the sea” commentary was particularly funny.)

    However, I don’t think that adding a same-sex romance option would have detracted from the flavor of the game–especially with Villeneuve, where so many of us seemed to read in that subtext anyway. I think I hear what you’re saying about it not being fun to roleplay a shameful, illicit relationship, but since the subtext of illicitness and shame is already present in the game–that is, if you select “It’s not [opposite sex] I’m interested in,” the text reply reads something along the lines of “Oh, well, sure, although that’s certainly not something we talk about in polite society”–I don’t think adding in a relationship would ADD an aura of illicitness/shame that is not already present in the game.

    Also, as long as there’s not some kind of revelation/”outing” subplot (which would seem unnecessary…), I think it would be much more fun to play any kind of same-sex relationship at all than none, even if it were illicit. Illicitness can add spice, too…that was part of the fun of imagining the Villeneuve/me relationship. A tension-filled lesbian love affair with my sworn enemy, only to be torn apart when our countries go to war once more? Thrilling! For examples of period same-sex relationships that aren’t portrayed as shameful in any way, I go to the fiction of Sarah Waters. True, some of her lesbians in Victorian London struggle with sexual shame, but others go their merry way and face few, if any, societal repercussions. Maybe idealistic, maybe not, but absolutely doable.

  6. John says:

    I am also in the camp who find myself somehow more interested in Villeneuve than in any of the opposite-gender options. I’m mildly disappointed to find that I’ve probably already gone as far in that direction as possible, but that’s tempered by the relief of no longer feeling compelled to try another variation of “what if *she* saves *me*?” “what if *I* beat *him* at whist?” and so forth, seeing if just one more twist would tip us over the edge. :)

    That said, though, I think there are a couple of interesting opportunities here.

    The first is that, while it’s difficult enough to write a story in the first place, let alone a branching story, I think there *are* certain types of different stories that coexist well together. In this particular case, I feel that it would be possible to add in a brief, tasteful slash interlude (if such a thing is not a contradiction in terms), without greatly disturbing the larger narrative arc. (It might not take more than one or two pages more of text, the addition of a “slash bit” in the back end statistics, and a few alternative results of the battle for the Lynx.) By its nature, slash exists in a semi-parasitical relationship with the host story, and many forms depend for their existence on being able to neatly fit within the open spaces of an existing story, without changing the fundamental nature of that story. So in that sense, it’s a form of story that’s particularly suited to adding huge amounts of flavor with just a few well-placed bits of seasonng.

    The other opportunity is, to use the currently popular terminology, “downloadable content”. The relatively simple, text-based nature of these branching stories may make it relatively easy to add modifications (depending on the implementation, of course), extra scenes, new characters, and so forth. Possibly even as a “Give away the razor, sell the blades” form of revenue generation.

    I’m afraid the combination does lend itself to particularly hideous metaphors involving artistic integrity, but this post was already at least partly about dirty minds. ;-)

  7. Gianni Santucci says:

    Huh, wow, thats a lot more thought that went into this than I thought.

    Hey, are you guys going to post up fan-made Choice games at some point? I’m giddy to play more lol.

    Also, have you all decided on what you’re going to do for your next Choice of game?

  8. Spider says:

    There are spoilers in this comment, though I figure anyone reading the comments will be expecting that.

    Ah, the first time I played through, I got to the end fight with Villeneuve and was going, “But, but, I LOVE him! We FLIRTED! How can I attempt to kill him after all that promise!?” I must have spent five minutes bemoaning the situation I found myself in to my friends before making my choice–that’s when I was absolutely and completely 100% sold on your games. If it takes me five minutes to make a choice in a purely text-based CYOA game because I feel so strongly for the characters, someone did something right.

    And then I chose to disarm him. And failed. And he cut off my hand. I had another moment of staring at the screen going “He cut off my hand!? THAT BASTARD! WE FLIRTED! I THOUGHT WE HAD SOMETHING!” It was wonderfully enjoyable.

    Indeed, even when I was trying to play as a ruthless, bloodthirsty prat of a sailor, I kept wanting to be nice to Villeneuve. He gets so hurt if you lock him up…

    That being said, I have enjoyed the game as it is, and while I’d love a more direct acknowledgment of the relationship with Villeneuve, I rather liked the ambiguity (and the not telling Bryce what I got up to). It was, after all, only the first time Villeneuve and I met in a time of peace. Can’t expect EVERYTHING to happen in one night.

    I think there’s such an interest in this aspect of the story, though, because Villeneuve is the best-fleshed-out character. You don’t have the same level of interaction with the three marriage interests, and relationships with them feel rushed, as opposed to Villeneuve, whose relationship with you develops over the course of the entire game. Of course, adding in the three from the beginning or giving them more later would REALLY make the game needlessly complex. I suppose the real problem is that the way things are presented, you have -four- characters for a potential relationship, but only one is developed, and that one is the only one you can’t do anything with.

  9. Heather says:

    @ Zacquary

    “The fact that I couldn’t figure out how to get with a male mate in Dragon was leaving me starved for actually experiencing a romance branch.”

    Just for the record, it is no harder to get a same-sex mate than an opposite-sex mate in Dragon. It is, admittedly, kinda hard to get a mate at all – that encounter is written to be challenging. (Adam did a post about that here: http://www.choiceofgames.com/blog/2010/01/getting-a-mate-in-choice-of-the-dragon/).

    “I certainly wouldn’t have minded the necessary portrayal of the relationship as forbidden love, because that would make perfect sense with the setting.”

    Hey, that’s good feedback for us to have. Writing Choice of Games, like playing Choice of Games, is a sequence of choices whose long-term consequences are not always visible :)–i.e., it’s hard to know what percentage of players will be frustrated if I make one choice, and what percentage will be offended if I make the other. If it turns out that a lot of people feel the same way you do, perhaps the thing for us to do next time we write a game in a historical setting that involves a romance plot is to take the other path: allow same-sex pairing but portray it historically, running the risk of offense rather than the risk of frustration (since obviously it’s not possible to please everyone at the same time!) :) It’s certainly something for us to keep in mind.

    “Besides, the consequences for my character feeling that illicit love were very much in the game; I got executed for not trying to kill Villeneuve. That felt unfair, arbitrary, and wasn’t fun at all. It was all the dissatisfaction of being caught in that illicit relationship without the gratification of explicitly having the relationship.”

    Again just for the record, that’s not a consequence of you falling in love with V *necessarily.* It has nothing to do with whether you check the “interested in my own gender” option or not.

    If you were playing straight, all the same choices wrt/V still exist. You might decide that your feelings of comrades-in-arms friendship (rather than romantic love) were so strong you couldn’t bear to attack him. Either way, you’d be in trouble for disobeying an order–the Admiralty couldn’t care less *why* you didn’t obey the order. :) I *am* sorry it wasn’t fun and felt unfair (very much not what we were going for!), but I assure you being in huge amounts of trouble for failing to follow an order *is* historically accurate.

  10. Heather says:

    @ Sharon

    “I’ll put it a bit more strongly than Zacqary: the Villeneuve scenarios can absolutely be read as slash, yet the game doesn’t seem to acknowledge that. Offline conversations with several people suggest that I’m not the only player who found that lack of acknowledgment rather perplexing….”

    *laugh* Okay, here’s the truth: the game doesn’t acknowledge it because the authors didn’t originally intend it!

    It was *always* going to be possible for the player to play as gay, but we didn’t originally intend Villeneuve to be seen as a potential mate.

    The first draft of the Villeneuve Ashore chapter stopped after the whist game. The idea was for you to have the option of making friends with your former enemy and discovering that he’s a lot like you… and then be faced with the duty of fighting him later. Oh no! Will you choose friendship or duty?

    But the friendship that resulted from a friendly game of whist didn’t seem strong enough for any player to seriously consider putting their career on the line. So I went back and added the footpads scene. I was going for a pretty standard “we saved each other’s lives, so now we are friends despite all our differences” sort of thing–like Hornblower and Bush after the prisoner mutiny in _Lt. Hornblower_, or the two male protagonists of _Lions of Al-Rassan_, or Legolas and Gimli, or, I dunno, Geordi and Random Romulan crash-landed on a barren planet in one episode of _Trek_. I personally didn’t read any of *those* interactions as slashy, and I didn’t intend the Villeneuve interaction to be.

    When we got feedback from the beta testers to the effect of, “But I was expecting to have a night of passion after fighting off the footpads!”, the three of us said, “Really?”

    Then we re-read the scene, and said, “Yeah, I see where they’re getting that. Wow, that’s great! We should leave it in! That way people can read it that way if they want to!”

    So if it can absolutely be read as slashy, it can absolutely be read as not, too. I guarantee it. Because I did. :)

    @ Lain

    Even if we didn’t originally intend it, I have to admit, “my blood is pumping” does kinda sound like it’s leading into a tension-fueled, alcohol-fueled, memorable night. :) Perhaps the subconscious minds of the writers were thinking more along those lines than our conscious minds? :) In any case, as I said to Zaquary, it’s really good to have feedback that illicit might also be fun.

  11. John says:

    Ooh, on a more general level, it occurs to me that Dark Secrets are a great way to build player investment in characters and add new depth to seemingly-normal situations, while not requiring significant changes to branching. (“Jones can’t possibly suspect that you’re Jewish; it must be something else…”)

  12. William Hughes says:

    Just posting to echo ZACQARY ADAM GREEN’s sentiment.

  13. mads boberg pedersen says:

    I wish it was longer anyway! =)

  14. geolog says:

    I am personally all for more daring in the game. Sexism, whether historically accurate or flipped, would’ve been very interesting to play, as would’ve an illicit socially unacceptable relationship. Yes — it may not feel “fair” (although this could possibly be remedied by offering choices to the player), and were this a game in the common sense I could imagine several issues with it; but a “choice game” is a novel as much as it is a game. The element that drives players forward in this kind of game is a fascinating narration. And providing more diverse and interesting game options, possibly at the expense of political correctness and/or game balance, seems to me the recipe for good narration. Choices that aren’t necessarily the “best” ones but help weave a more interesting story are always nice when thrown in the mix.

    I think the idea of a female navy, for example, was a very creative and fun one to play with; but I was also disappointed at being unable to play a woman in a slightly more historically accurate world (and vice-versa, I would’ve been interested in playing a man in the female-dominant world take). I imagine a woman in the “male-dominant” take would be severely disadvantaged, not only being looked down upon, but also being unique in the navy. I also think roleplaying a man romancing a man, and being criminalised for it, perhaps avoiding the authorities or taking part in a similar plot, would be very fun and different indeed (this coming from a gay myself).

    These kinds of choices would provide an opportunity for a very fun and different kind of roleplay, and would allow a whole different outlook on the world — and I think this also something you should strive for.

  15. Le Blue Dude says:

    Yeah… I wanna see some addition of romance stuff with Villeneuve or Jones… V.V

    Especialy after beating Villeneuve in battle getting him as a possible “marrage”

    *You carried on your relations with Villeneuve with no desire for marriage, though there was always the fear that the lords of Admirality would find out about and look badly upon your fraternization”

    And, I already mentioned the annoying bug early on where the bonuses to your intelligence and personableness go poof when you decide where you like on the “Intelegent vs good with people” scale.

  16. Cat says:

    A fun and addictive game, and I very much appreciated the genderswapped worlds and the option to insist on homosexuality, but was disappointed to find no possibility of a same-sex relationship, however secret it might have had to be (especially when I tried playing heterosexual versions and found a wide range of options for those.) Huge UST w/Villeneuve felt kind of wasted *g*

  17. SIeglinde says:

    I adore it. So far, I made it to Admiral twice (looks like the best way is to be honest, not too strict but show them their places, and brave). Haven’t figured out what makes to win the prize with my prize – only made it once. :D
    I also got executed for avoiding Villeneuve and once fell in battle. :D

  18. esha says:

    Just commenting to say how much I loved this game! But yes, I have to admit I’m one of those that played through again and again wondering just how to progress with Villeneuve- I’m a little relieved now that I don’t have to go back and try all the different permutations, but yes, I would have really enjoyed some… illicit romance as an option. Plus, romance tinged with overtones of the danger of getting found out for being homosexual and the danger of being noticed to have fraternised with the enemy? Fun stuff.

    I’d half wondered if the talk with Jones when you first meet Villeneuve might have had something to do with that as well. But all in all, it was a truly brilliant game that had me agonising over the choices (in my first playthrough, I was such an honourable sort that I ended up killing Villeneuve and being extremely unhappy about that) and then trying again and again so inasmuch as creating something engaging goes, I think you guys definitely succeeded, and succeeded admirably. I’m really looking forwards to whatever comes next!

  19. Adam says:

    As noted, the Villeneuve sexual interest is clearly a reasonable
    reading of the text, although it wasn’t part of our direct intent.
    Villeneuve is supposed to be an interesting, sympathetic character
    with (the potential for) a meaningful relationship to the protagonist.

    In retrospect, when one of our beta testers asked if it was possible
    to have a clearly stated romantic relationship with Villeneuve, I
    think we should have incorporated it as an option. I lightly
    discussed the idea with the other authors, but I wish I had pushed
    harder, because I think it would have made the game more interesting
    and better if we had included it as a possibility directly, instead of
    leaving it at the level of a reasonable inference that some players
    will draw.

    I’m going to post separately about the idea of what authorial intent means in the context of a multiple-choice game.

  20. LBD says:

    So you ever gonna fix the bug with likability and intelligence being enhanced by leadership and seamanship early on in the game, then those gains immediately being lost in the next question?

    • Adam says:

      It’s currently working as designed, actually. The alterations to likability and intelligence based on leadership and seamanship were leftovers from a previous design that didn’t have the following question. We intended that the likability vs. intelligence question sets the initial values for those stats, not the previous question. To avoid confusion based on the stat screen, however, I’ve edited out the initial changes to likability and intelligence in our internal code. It will go live with our next update.

  21. Mallamun says:

    Yaaay, I just finished playing through it for the first time!

    The Choice Of crew has completely delivered once again. I am SO happy that the all-female option was created; it allowed me a level of enjoyment and immersion that’s unparalleled in other games. Everything you said in this post reflects my feelings perfectly. I’m glad you’re writing with them!

    Re: the Villeneuve branch… I’m jumping on this wagon a bit late, so the only version I’ve experienced is the one where the romance is possible. Honestly, that chapter made the game for me; it gave involvement, flavor, and motivation in what might otherwise have been TOO much “yay guns, yay boats”. I can’t imagine the game without it. I experienced the same thing as Spider (7)–I was so invested in the characters, I agonized during the entire Villeneuve fight!

    Now that I know that the romance chapter was sort of tagged on afterwards, though, I’m a little sad, because I guess this means that none of the “Wait, I can’t fight her!” options will lead to us running off to that uninhabited island together and slurping juice out of coconuts with straws for the rest of our lives =P

    Honestly, I was really engaged in that fight and chose to face her honorably because the plot thus far had engendered a deep respect for her as my equal and adversary–I had actually sort of expected that we would stalemate, and was surprised when I defeated her. Btw: “C’est la guerre” = LOL choice.

    All in all, zero disappointments: I had SO much fun and now I’m diving in for the insane replay value… Thanks again for making this!

    PS: There were 3-4 times in the adventure when the pronouns were incorrect. I know it must be difficult to catch/program them all when you have so many gender branches. There was one page where Villeneuve was male in half the choices and female in half the others. Sorry, I’ll take notes next time I see those.

  22. Adam says:

    As Mallamun alluded to, people who were disappointed by the interactions with Villeneuve when playing a gay PC will want to play the game again. We’ve added some content on the web and Android versions. (We haven’t pushed the update out for iPhone yet because with the approval process we want to make sure we have all of the fixes in before we push it out.)

  23. Alan says:

    Thanks Adam and the team for listening to everyone’s comments! I for one am glad that you’ve made those changes as I was one of those disappointed in the lack of same-sex relationships in Choice of Broadside previously! You guys have done a great job with the game and I think adding to the Villeneuve storyline will make it a more immersive experience. I hope you continue this trend for all your games in the future.

    I’m definitely now going to go play it again :) Well done guys.

  24. Spider says:

    I replayed the game after Mallamun’s post, replayed it jointly with my British friend. We were both thrilled that our boy Jonathan Newcity had the chance to get it on with Villeneuve… so thrilled, in fact, that we started roleplaying the characters independently for a bit more detail on how their relationship grew (yes, we do have a tendency to get overly attached to characters). Thank you so much for paying attention to the community you’re growing here! I’m sure this is something that will work in your favor.

  25. PeterF says:

    I like a game that I learn from and that opens doors I’ve never thought to try. At first I appreciated the well researched navel skills required to do battle and manage a ship. Then began to recognize the purpose and importance of well though out navel command procedures.

    I have to admit for me the first really intriging and fun section was trying to understand how best to choose and court a woman. I think too the interactions and choices with others and their ramifications gave me insights that made me want to keep playing.

    It takes the skill of a fine writter to make an interactive novel relevant, fun, and insightful. I would definitely spend more time playing a game that I felt shows me how others think and respond in areas of life that are important to me.

  26. Teebee says:

    This was a very fun little game to play through. But I wanna commend you on something else… reading the dicussion thread for this game on jayisgames.com, there were a few comments that showed some people having different reactions to the all-female crew versus the male one. And at least one person becoming aware of their own gender biases. For the potential for consciousness raising, there’s even more brownie points!

  27. Meemo says:

    Lesbians existed then too! Let’s not cloak discrimination in “keeping things accurate”.

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