on “cheating” in interactive fiction

When I say cheating I mean looking up solutions to puzzles. When I say cheating I mean it isn’t really cheating. Cheating implies that there are others to compete against, and by winning you are depriving others of a deserved win.

Let me be clear when I say that looking online for solutions for puzzles shouldn’t necessarily be your first option in playthrough, but it is a super convenient and cool way to make sure you aren’t missing anything. There’s loads of content and even easter eggs that I know I would miss if not for people more clever than me figuring out what to do. This way I feel like I have gotten all that I possibly can from a work. I know with a fair amount of certainty that I didn’t miss any fun things that are programed into the story. It doesn’t take away my ability to explore and I have found things in fictions like galatea and dreamhold that were not in the walkthrough. In most cases all that you get in a walkthrough like this is directions, and it is up to you to follow or not and to read what the author has given you. It is a choice to follow along with what has been preordained as the best route or to branch out on your own.

I cheat at all my video games though. I watch playthroughs on youtube and I always look up where the scariest bits are in a video game so that I won’t poo my pants on my couch. Maybe that makes me a spoil sport and maybe I’m not living up to the spirit of these games, but I think it’s amazing that I even have the opportunity to ruin the suspense.

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