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A Player's Heart

by Melissa Scott


Web Site

(based on 4 ratings)
2 reviews

About the Story

Find love, fame, and intrigue on the stage of the city's all-woman Opera! Put on a show, survive drama on and off-stage…and win your lover's heart.

A Player's Heart is a 222,000-word interactive lesbian romance novel by Melissa Scott. It's entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

You're a rising member of the all-woman Opera company, one of three great theater companies in the glittering rivermouth city of Tristendesande. But Tristendesande's legal ruler is a three-year-old boy, and his mother the Regent is under ever-increasing pressure from the Castagi Ambassador to rein in the city's notorious freedoms, the theaters among them. The Opera's leaders are determined to stay neutral, but the louche, disreputable Electricity Theater—where, scandalously, men and women perform on the same stage, in the same acts—is equally determined to undermine the Ambassador’s influence. And in the hothouse of the theater, love and politics are always entangled.

Who will you choose? Will you seduce your elegant rival at the Opera, Celeine, with a glittering smile and a dancer's grace, the remains of last night's paint on her lips as she helps you strive to be your best? Or the innocent Myrr, a genius "artifex" on the stage crew: olive-dark, clever, quick and resourceful, holding you close with strong hands and broad shoulders? Or will it be Mervelles, the daring star of the Electricity Theater, with her dapper suit and deliberately messy dark hair, a nimble and sensuous dancer at home with her contradictions? Or perhaps you'll have the society hostess Jasquillyn Isalis, with her kohl-lined eyes and hair piled fashionably high, scented with rose perfume, diamonds flashing against her warm ivory skin.

Save the day with your brilliant performance and win your true love's heart. On and off stage, a player's heart conquers all!

* Play as female, romancing women.
* Find love with a scandalous rival, a fashionable noblewoman, your reliable friend, or an ambitious fellow actress.
* Choose to play male roles, female roles, or to be a theater technician.
* Show your skill at intrigue in Madam Isalis's salon.
* Attend a scandalous performance and escape the watch.
* Bring your fellow players together, or seek to outdo them all.
* Court your love in a fencing match or through shared performance.

And now, the curtain rises.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: February 13, 2020
Current Version: Unknown
License: Freeware
Development System: ChoiceScript
IFID: Unknown
TUID: h1wh1po3w12ztby7


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Number of Reviews: 2
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Fantastical and vivid!, May 4, 2021
by NMCannon (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Related reviews: lesbian, historical, 5 stars, choicescript, choice of games, heart's choice

After enjoying Never Date Werewolves, I decided to play other titles in the Heart's Choice app, and Melissa Scott's A Player's Heart caught my eye because lesbians.

In this world a step in the past away from ours, Tristendesande is a pulsing, cultural powerhouse of art, and the theaters are the gems in that crown. The player character has dreamed of the Opera, an all-women performance company, all her life. When she arrives, you choose a specialty: do you want to be a deva (play woman roles), a dragon (play male roles), or an artifex (a theater technician). I was surprised and pleased when, after meeting various characters and getting your bearings at the Opera, there was a time skip. Seven years later, the player character is in the prime of her skill, and the story gets down to the real business of balancing art's ability to challenge the hegemony and the practical necessity of not getting shut down by said hegemony.

Each and every love interest dazzled me. There's the big, butch Myrr, with her steadfast loyalty, purity of feeling, and quiet, devastating artifex art. The femme deva Celeine and the player character exchange glittering banter and have a homoerotic sword duel (which left me quite flustered!!!!). Lady Jasquillyn Isalis defies aristocratic convention to put stars in your eyes, with beauty, social savvy, and graceful wit. Since I stayed with the Opera, I saw little of the androgynous Mervelles, but her daring nature, political passion, and sensual dance impressed me all the same.

Perhaps because of the length of this game, it felt like there really was enough time to get to know each of the love interests individually before deciding who to date. In other titles, I feel rushed, like there's a sense that if I fail to flirt immediately, I will not have any hope of arriving at a HEA with them. Not here. Scott took her time describing each character and filling in the world. The imagery of the theater is especially fantastical and vivid. I don't know much about theater myself, but my partner does, and I feel comfortable saying she will be impressed when she comes around to playing.

If I had one quibble, it would be that there didn't seem a realistic way to not be political. Perhaps that's intentional: burying one's head in the sand is a surefire way to get screwed by the hegemony. However, the story was framed like there was a way to be neutral and survive. I'm curious to play again and see what happens if my character is very political or aggressively oblivious.

A Player's Heart is an engaging, addictive read. I found myself eagerly awaiting for the two hour cool off period to end. If you're a fan of historical lesbian romances, definitely download Heart's Choice and click play!

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Сhemises, curlicues and craquelins, August 10, 2020
by Sobol (Russia)

A series of scenes from the life of an opera performer (or a backstager, if you choose so) in an alternate reality version of the XIX century where doing opera is traditionally a female occupation - like in Shakespeare's time acting was a male-only profession.

I didn't find the overarching story about your theater's relations with the authorities really exciting, but the writing, the atmosphere and the richness of detail were good; the city of Tristendesande felt alive and interesting.

On the whole, the game was rather relaxing. There are some things at stake for the PC - your performances may prove more or less successful, the Opera may even be closed down - but you mainly go around eating delicious and well-described food, wearing elegant and well-described clothes, riding in carriages, singing in aristocratic salons, talking with mostly pleasant characters (there are no "villains" here, although there are conflicts of interests), casually seducing people and generally having a good time.

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