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About the StoryThree months ago, the sun went out.
After three hours it came back, but the effects of its absence are global. You are a Private Investigator hired to research this phenomenon. Moti is the AI worn on your wrist.
CHOICES is an interactive-fiction app magazine that updates once per week. Subscribe monthly, quarterly or half-yearly and receive a weekly update to the story.
NEWS: "Choices: And The Sun Went Out" is now also available on Android (and players can "earn" story tokens through ads if they wish).
From September 2016, there is a second "Choices" adventure, "Choices: And Their Souls Were Eaten", a steampunk fantasy adventure by Felicity Banks.
Apple subscribers automatically gain access to both stories. (Players with an Apple watch can also choose to have one of the characters speak to them through their watch.)
Android subscribers buy or earn (through ads) Story Passes, which can be used for either story.
There will be more "Choices" stories in future.
Section Count: 2400+
Word Count: 600,000+
The second story in the same app, "Choices: And Their Souls Were Eaten" is still ongoing, with new updates roughly every week.
There will be more stories in the app in future.
The Beginning of an Interesting Experiment
"For reasons nobody can quite explain, the sun went out for several hours. It came back soon, but such a major event obviously has a lot of people asking questions. Worse yet, many scientists around the world are being murdered or kidnapped by an unknown party. You quickly get pulled into these bizarre circumstances, kicking you off on a global adventure that has you investigating who is behind the disappearances and murders, what exactly happened to the sun, and what it all means to the world. While you'll meet and team up with a variety of characters along the way, your primary companion is Moti, an artificial intelligence whose personality is shaped by your decisions. Your character wears Moti like a wristwatch, and if you happen to own an Apple Watch, you can do the same. Choices supports that device, but since I don't have one, I can't tell you exactly how that works."
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Or rather, it has gone everywhere. It has gone to Canada, to Peru, and now to Japan. A lot has happened along the way: murders, shootouts, car chases, confrontations of secret cabals of scientists, human sacrifices, attempted kidnappings, frantic attempts to save an entire town from natural disaster, and more. But I am no closer to understanding anything about the game's central mystery (the fact that sun sometimes 'goes out'); rather, every story arc has given me some new 'leads' to pursue, sending me packing to yet another country where more action can happen. Emily Short called the prose of the game "urgent and weightless"; and it seems fair to apply that to its entire approach to story telling.
I was bored by the game's first two story arcs, but things got a little better when I came to Peru, where the writing picked up some personality and the NPCs were slightly more interesting. Still, we never move far past some rather trite set pieces for an investigative action-mystery; one goes to Peru, and lo and behold, there will be human sacrifice in an ancient but unknown Inca temple!
Furthermore, the story seems to be constrained more by what is convenient for the writers than by any sense of plausibility: if you need to be shipped off to Peru, then this tiny Canadian town turns out to have an international airport with direct flights to that country. If one of your enemies tries to abduct a friend and force her, at gunpoint, to board a commercial passenger air plane, then helpful local custom officials prevent this by planting some drugs in your friend's luggage. I think.
There are many paths through the game, it seems, and your choices about where to go appear to have serious consequences in terms of which content you will experience. But I find this a dubious blessing. Rarely have you any idea of what the effect of your choices will be. So what's the point of choosing, and what's the point of all the content I'm not seeing? One could say: replayability. But I would only replay a game like this if its world and story were truly intriguing, and replaying might allow me to achieve deeper and deeper understanding of something genuinely interesting. "Choices: And the Sun Went Out" is far too breezy and generic to inspire that wish.
It's competent, and I've had some fun, so I'm giving it 3 stars.
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This is version 6 of this page, edited by Denk on 26 July 2020 at 4:20pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item