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The beauty of telling a story

Once upon a time I found a game on Google Play (Formerly known as the Android Market) for my phone that was a text based 'Choose-your-own-Adventure' game. I loved it, and found these people developed several stories for you to read through.

I'm referring to Choice of Games, which have their own scripting markup language to let you 'easily' create a choose your own adventure book. I was digging this, as their own stories were great, and their site also had several custom submissions from other readers like me that became interested in their idea!

You can play their stories either on their site, or using your Android/iOS mobile device (Sorry BlackBerry...) because it's just a really simple shell that loads a text file with all stories and possible responses. It's pretty ingenious, and with enough time, you too could make your own story.

Did I make a story there? No. I did start one, it's saved in a folder on my computer, but will it ever get completed... I'm not sure. Maybe if they come out with some easier editor. Right now it's just a text file that you edit in a very bland fashion.

What I am writing is a story on an opposing site called StoryNexus. Well, opposing is the wrong word here... because although in both instances you can play or create your own stories, StoryNexus goes about it in an entirely different way. It's still a 'Choose-your-own-Adventure' style of play, but they changed the rules. You don't flip to another page if you choose option 'X' or 'Y.' Instead, you play a card. It's a hard thing to get your mind around, trust me, but essentially stories have Decks of Cards. There's an 'Always' Deck which lets you play that card, assuming you meet the criteria, at any time. Then there are all other decks called 'Sometimes' which you flip cards up and you're randomly presented with different stories that were created, all within the same "novel" you could say.

The story writing capabilities are relatively endless. There's a great player-made story called 'Zero Summer' which is set in the Wild West, kinda sorta, and the game mechanics of StoryNexus are very clear in this game. You start with an introduction to the story much like any book, you then are presented with only Always cards to get you acclimated to the StoryNexus gameplay, then finally you're allowed to roam the city that's been written up. You use an 'Always' card to change areas, and 'Sometimes' cards at each area to play events located there. It's something to try!

I also additionally recommend 'Fallen London!' which is a story written by the creators of the StoryNexus suite. I don't recommend playing Fallen London! first though, as I did, as it sets false pretenses as to what the StoryNexus creation tool is capable of. They have every intention of giving us all the tools to make a great story/game, but Fallen London! gets exclusive use of so many features that just don't exist to us, since they made the website and tools and all that. Hardly fair, but sooner or later we'll have them too, just a matter of time.

The problem of course is that I played Fallen London! first, found the setup of game style amazing and tried to make a game. Two days later I discovered, what I was trying to do isn't actually possible without some extreme work around of copying the same story over and over and over for every possible condition. But it did give me quite a bit of learning experience, so I started a new story and I've been hammering at it. It's doing very well and cannot wait to finish it!

Why am I telling you all of this? Because storytelling is a fine art. And I'm a fine person. I like fine things. In reality, I absolutely hate reading books. Typically I get distracted easy and I feel little attachment to the story so the book never gets finished. With Choice of Games and StoryNexus, I have found stories that I can play and actually care for.

I'm just hoping you can too!

When my story is completed in StoryNexus, I'll let you all know where to find it.