It’s your choice…

While looking into Twine this past weekend, I stumbled across a few interesting stories. One in particular gave the reader the ability to shape the story in anyway they wanted to. End Boss by Nick Keirle is a rather dark narrative that forces the reader to become the main character. As the main character it is your job to figure out what is going on in the narrative, but since you shape the story with your own choices there isn’t a true path to follow. One way to think about it is that you are helping Keirle write a story about you or rather what you would do in the situation that is present in this narrative.

Even though this narrative is short, it stands out by hitting the reader emotionally . You will make one tough choice and move straight to next with no time to recover. With each choice you make you learn a more about yourself, the role you are creating, and the situation at hand. You could become a power hungry murderer or a hero that just wants to protect what is dear. It all depends on your choice. Comparing this to other interactive fiction that we discussed in class, End Boss is similar to the first half Inkubus where you play as a teenage girl to answer many questions and gain a heart or a fraction of a heart depending on your answer. However, when you realize you gain more hearts when the most shallow answer is picked then you would stop answering truthfully and try to get the maximum number of hearts. Also, since you know that you are playing the role of a teenage girl you would want to answer like a teenage girl. Keirle’s narrative does not have anything similar to interfere with your process of decision-making. You won’t have the mindset of “I gotta win.” or “I need to get the best ending”. You can just relax, choose what you really desire, and let your morals be tested because of how short and to the point this narrative is.

There isn’t much left to say since I do not want to spoil the story, but this work of interactive fiction left a deep impression on me with it being short and the way it forces you into a dark story that is written based on your decisions. I believe you all would enjoy it as well, so feel free to let me know about your experience with this narrative.

Now let the choosing begin!

end-boss1

*click the picture or the End Boss link in the first paragraph to begin*

  3 comments for “It’s your choice…

  1. Katie Diemer
    February 10, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    What a great link!
    It’s interesting that you say you didn’t feel the “I gotta win” mindset; I think you understood the game better than I did. I struggled to answer some of the questions because I wanted to give the end boss the right answer. For me, it was less a game about defeating the boss by fighting, and more of a game by defeating the end boss by being “right.” However, I found that, in the end, my choices didn’t matter. I had already determined my fate. Even my reasons for my actions didn’t matter; I still fought the boss in the end. I guess I have a slightly more negative viewpoint than you do – I interpreted the game as, “Sometimes your actions and reasons don’t matter; they won’t change your fate, but they will change who you are.” The main character will always fight the boss, but s/he will mention that his/her view of the world change during the adventure.
    Like the boss, I’m going to ask you a few questions:
    1. How did you see yourself during the game? Did you play it as yourself (like I did) or did you see yourself as a specific character?
    2. You mentioned that you relaxed during the game – why did you relax? Are there different types of games where you don’t feel so relaxed (games where you have lots of choices; games where your choices have an impact; games where you have no choice)?
    3. Why do you think the game creator chose the “end boss” moment from most RPGs? Why not the “saving the princess” moment, the “getting betrayed by your best friend” moment, even a “sleeping in the inn” moment? I think it was a satirical take on the “you defeated the bad guy, you’re a hero!” mentality most game have, even though you’ve stepped on goombas who were just minding their own business/hacked at an innocent farmer’s chickens with your sword/broken countless vases, destroying a merchant’s stock.

    • bosco1213
      February 10, 2014 at 10:22 pm

      Well, when I first tried End Boss I played as myself and chose based on the morals that I have learned. I did go through it a few more times afterwards to see if the ending had changed if I was a character seeking out vengeance by killing the man with the key at the beginning and seeking out more strength. The main reason why I felt relaxed was because I didn’t have to worry about the decisions someone other than myself would make since I was given the chance to play as myself. I can’t think of any other reasons why Keirle chose the final boss setting besides that in pretty much every RPG and game out in the world the final boss is a memorable moment that everything you have went through in the game has led up to it. In End Boss since you start at the end you don’t know what you went through to get to the final boss, but you find about by working in reverse by answering the many questions. I find that approach rather unique.

  2. bmytelka
    February 11, 2014 at 1:07 am

    End Boss was an interesting read, and I found myself making some peculiar choices. I went in planning on picking the first one that struck me (not the first I read, but the first that seemed interesting regardless of moral choice). It went to a dark place very quickly, but what was interesting is eventually I started slowing down and feeling guilt for the things I discovered my character had done in seconds. Choices became less instantly appealing and interesting, and I started hesitating. Of all the electronic literature we have read so far, I think this style has the most appeal. The story is told gradually, but your investment in it increases exponentially, and in under twenty or so clicks you have found yourself in a wildly different place than you anticipated.

    I think it’s interesting you mentioned how relaxing it was. In these sorts of storytelling mediums, as well as video games, readers and players often find themselves abusing links and save files to hear multiple stories at once, or see the possible outcomes for each decision before choosing the one that best fits their character/liking. I have been guilty of it myself, but I had no urges here, either. I felt very laid back, and though I was invested in my character I had no desire to have the ideal outcome; just the one that came naturally.

    I liked that the author decided to tell a meta-story (usually the dialogue before the boss is very black and white “you’re a bad guy, let’s fight!”) in this meta-storytelling device.

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