NPCs Made Easy - an IFDB Poll

by Sam Kabo Ashwell
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A list of games which notably use elision, sleight-of-hand, cleverly framed premises, or other fiendish implementor tricks in order to include significant NPCs in the story without having to implement them in deep, complicated detail.

(Prompted by Carolyn VanEseltine's Writing Graceful Parser NPCs. )

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Rameses, by Stephen Bond
3 votes
"Basically, interacting with the NPC's are the only thing that you can do here." [+]"Basically, interacting with the NPC's are the only thing that you can do here." --BlitzWithGuns... "The protagonist's..." [+]"The protagonist's social fears, inhibitions and cynicism forestall the overwhelming majority of social actions." () --Sam Kabo Ashwell... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol...

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Violet, by Jeremy Freese
3 votes
"The major NPC (or..." [+]"The major NPC (or a PC-imagined version of her) narrates, but never appears in person. Other characters are only encountered distantly (e.g., heard through a closed door)." () --Sam Kabo Ashwell... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Princessthe1st...

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A Day for Fresh Sushi, by Emily Short
3 votes
"The major NPC has..." [+]"The major NPC has a relatively small range for direct interaction, but comments obnoxiously on (almost) everything that you do." () --Sam Kabo Ashwell... (No comment) [+](No comment) --Caleb Wilson... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol...

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Weird City Interloper, by C.E.J. Pacian
3 votes
"The entire game..." [+]"The entire game text is speech from various NPCs to the PC--the only things you can input are topics to converse about." () --Caleb Wilson... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --CMG... (No comment) [+](No comment) ( - Full review) --Sobol...

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Glass, by Emily Short
2 votes
"The PC is a..." [+]"The PC is a parrot, with very limited conversational ability, and very much not the focus of the NPCs' attention. You can interrupt and steer a little, but not really join in." () --Sam Kabo Ashwell... (No comment) [+](No comment) ( - Full review) --Sobol...

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Spider and Web, by Andrew Plotkin
2 votes
"While the..." [+]"While the interrogator is a solid character with revealing dialogue, he is stationary and your only input towards him is using the yes/no prompt." --Christina Nordlander... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol...

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Eurydice, by Anonymous
2 votes
"Basically you..." [+]"Basically you hate everyone in the house (for different reasons), and aren't really in a mood to converse." --Anya Johanna DeNiro... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol...

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Lock & Key, by Adam Cadre
2 votes
"The major NPCs..." [+]"The major NPCs are effectively rats in a maze that you construct: they can only be observed and interacted with indirectly. " () --Sam Kabo Ashwell... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol...

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Anchorhead, by Michael Gentry
2 votes
"The major NPC,..." [+]"The major NPC, the PC's husband, is constantly disappearing or distracted. The PC is an outsider and new in town; the locals are suspicious, closed-off, opaque or downright hostile." () --Sam Kabo Ashwell... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol...

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Toby's Nose, by Chandler Groover
2 votes
"The PC is a dog..." [+]"The PC is a dog who learns about the past of the human NPCs via various smells." () --Floating Info... (No comment) [+](No comment) () --Sobol...

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The Moonlit Tower, by Yoon Ha Lee
1 vote
"Other characters..." [+]"Other characters are only seen in flashbacks, but are well-described and vital to the plot." () --Christina Nordlander...

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Bellclap, by Tommy Herbert
1 vote
"Uses..." [+]"Uses triangle-of-identities shenanigans to extract three characters out of a single PC." () --Sam Kabo Ashwell...

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Textfire Golf, by Adam Cadre
1 vote
"Excluding easter..." [+]"Excluding easter eggs, gameplay is purely golf. But your fellow golfers do react to an extent to your golfing." () --Floating Info...

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Everybody Dies, by Jim Munroe
1 vote
"NPCs are fleshed..." [+]"NPCs are fleshed out largely through their tenure as PCs, and through commenting on PC action." () --Sam Kabo Ashwell...

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Savoir-Faire, by Emily Short
1 vote
"NPCs are..." [+]"NPCs are principally encountered in memories evoked by a familiar family environment." () --Sam Kabo Ashwell...

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Andromeda Apocalypse Extended Edition, by Marco Innocenti
1 vote
"LOGAN://" [+]"LOGAN://: Sorry for voting for my own work, but I think this is a good example. The only NPC is of the kind that you can talk with forever, but that will simply refuse to do anything (for a good reason). I didn't have to code movement or any other reaction but speech." --Marco Innocenti...

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So Far, by Andrew Plotkin
1 vote
"Contains some..." [+]"Contains some crowds with which you cannot communicate (or aren't in the mood to), which serve to fill in the world of the story. Meanwhile, the character most important to the PC isn't present at all." --Christina Nordlander...

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Babel, by Ian Finley
1 vote
"A classic..." [+]"A classic NPCs-only-encountered-in-flashbacks approach." () --Sam Kabo Ashwell...

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