Romance stats from “Choices”

My day job is writing for Tin Man Games. I’m co-writer on “Choices: And The Sun Went Out” and writer on “Choices: And Their Souls Were Eaten”.

They are both serial/subscription phone app stories (with the banner name of “Choices: And The Sun Went Out” on itunes and Android), that release a new piece of story roughly once per week.

One of the cool things about the app is that each arc (that is, four weeks) the players get to actually see how many other players are on the same path they are.

Spoilers from “Choices: And The Sun Went Out” coming!!!!!!

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In “Choices: And The Sun Went Out” there are two possible love interests (both bisexual; the protagonist’s gender is never specified).

Sharon is a blonde Australian taxi driver with an adult daughter. She uses a bunch of Australian slang, drives like a (talented) maniac, and is addicted to danger.

Etienne is a Canadian Park Ranger of Middle Eastern descent. He’s a pacifist with a philosophical bent, and he can handle himself in a fight (…when he has to. Which is often).

Over time, the player was given several opportunities to flirt with each potential love interest, and we kept track of whether players chose to flirt or not (and how often).

Finally, in Arc 13 (yep, that’s thirteen months into the story!) we finally let the romance go ahead… if a player had been sufficiently flirtatious. We also let the player say no to romance if they wished.

We were dying with curiosity about which one of our love interests proved more popular. And the winner is…….

Well set me on fire and call me barbie… it’s Sharon!

The lovely Sharon walked off into the sunset (and by sunset I mean “hail of bullets” because the story’s climax is happening right now) with 45% of players.

Etienne snagged 30%, and the remaining 25% opted out of romance this time.

Do we have more male players than female? No idea. More males play video games, but more females play phone games. (Looking at public reviews, it looks like almost twice as many males are leaving reviews, but there are a lot of things that could be skewing those results.)

At present I’m writing the “China” side of the story. 42% of players are with me (and the other 58% are in Russia).

 

Here’s where it gets even more interesting.

In Russia (written by Alyce Potter, who created the character of Sharon), 67% of characters fell for Sharon, while 14% fell for Etienne.

But in China, 50% of characters fell for Etienne and 19% fell for Sharon.

I confess I have my own bias: Although I usually prefer women in fiction, Etienne (written by KG Tan who later surrendered his side of the writing to me because he has so many other jobs to do for Tin Man Games) is my favourite in this story.

It seems our natural biases worked for us… but how? We’ve been building up the romance for months across storylines that meandered all over the globe. Is there some third factor that drew players (and myself) to both China and Etienne or to both Russia and Sharon?

Statistics can’t answer that one…

 

Published by Felicity Banks

I write books (mainly adventure fantasy for kids and young adults), real-time twittertales, and a blog of Daily Awesomeness. @Louise_Curtis_ and http://twittertales.wordpress.com. My fantasy ebook is on sale at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/278981.

12 thoughts on “Romance stats from “Choices”

  1. In real life, I’m a female and lesbian. But for the game.. I just got to that point and I’m in Russia about to choose Etienne. Hmm lol

    As for other players.. it could be that the ones who went to the falls, peru, Japan and China (I think I missed a location) with Etienne spent the most time with him. Plus he’s laid back, single, kid free, and there’s the bond over his father. As for choosing Sharon, it’s possible that they liked how she took charge and left, coming back and not having taken Moti might have made readers trust and fall for her more. Also they are probably wanting to know more about her past. Just some ideas! Great game/story

    1. I almost always romance the female option in interactive fiction, but I have a sot spot for Etienne. (I didn’t actually design either character; the other writers started the story and I joined later.)

  2. just finished and the sun went out for the first time, and sadly, i failed.
    i’m a bit sad to know that after reading this, delores was never one of the love interest. and i realllly wondered what happens to that thing that goes to our little planet’s satellite. going all over again to have a different ending. love the game!

  3. I’m one of the people who didn’t pursue romance but I was thinking of Sharon because even though I’m female I for some reason was sure that it was stated that the protagonist was male I guess maybe it’s because I generally assume that anonymous people are male until they act a certain way or say certain things.
    Also as for China and Russia it’s getting to the end of the story and if you’ve up until this point been working up a relationship with one of the characters would you risk losing it and angering your loved one by choosing to go the opposite way that they’re going? Instead I think people want to continue nurturing their relationship and staying with their partner hence going to the same country as them. The reason that I didn’t go to Russia was because I just spent all this time becoming better friends with Sharon and felt like I was neglecting my friendship with Etienne.
    I have a question though it said something like 11% saved the Earth and are now keeping an eye on the company. What’s the percentage of people who didn’t manage to save the Earth? Actually is it possible to find a graph or something of all the possible endings?

    1. Here’s the full results as of October 2017 (spoilers…)
      *FAILED TO SAVE EARTH* (total 9%)
      Died in a space station with the Russians: 4%
      Barely surviving in the tunnels under Brooklyn: 2%
      Perished in a space shuttle with the Chinese: 2%
      Surviving in Coober Pedy’s underground town: 1%

      *SAVED EARTH WITH RUSSIANS* (total 52%)
      Single: 15%
      With Etienne: 7%
      With Sharon: 30%

      *SAVED EARTH WITH CHINESE* (total 39%)
      Single: 11%
      With Etienne: 22%
      With Sharon: 6% (edited)

  4. I just want to preface this by saying I loved this story. I rarely ever read interactive fiction since most of them are written without much attention to detail, but this one is worthy of praise. Anyway, moving on topic, I find it funny that this story made Etienne so likable that I, someone who hates males, decided to romance with him. Well done! 😛

  5. I absolutely loved Etienne from the moment he appeared in the story. Got a soft spot for adventurous good boys haha. His sense of humour aligned with mine a lot more than Sharon’s too. I don’t think I made the best choices in the game but I still got the ending “saved the earth with China and ended up with Etienne”. Too many people died thanks to my choices though, darn.

    Gonna replay it and savour the good moments again heh

    1. I confess I love Etienne more than Sharon too. And I should also confess that Etienne was created by KG Tan! I only came on board in arc 4. But I always really enjoyed writing him.

  6. I’ve just found out this game and i’ve finished it in 3 days, i also bought around 400 tickets. This is one of the best story/choices games ever. My favourite character was Motron and i wish she was a love interest as well.

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