Choice of Games is a limited-liability company dedicated to producing high-quality, choice-based Interactive Fiction, in the style of Choose Your Own Adventure games. The games are written in ChoiceScript, a scripting language that they developed to allow new authors to create games easily with no programming experience. They produce their own in-house games, and also have a second label called Hosted Games, that hosts user-created games (giving the authors a cut of the profits). In December 2019, they also launched the Heart's Choice label, which focuses on romance.
Like most Choose Your Own Adventure style games, they center around branching storylines. Unlike many such games, however, they include various stats and build options for the player that are affected by the player's choices, and multiple conflicting goals with various victory strategies for different goals. Thus, which option is "correct" depends on the type of character the player has built or roleplayed up to that point, and what they are trying to accomplish.
Some of these games, such Affairs of the Court, Heroes Rise, and Sabres of Infinity, have sequels, where you either continue on the story with the same character, or play as a different character in the same universe.
Due to the numerous games that this company has produced, the games have been to divide to its labels.
- Games under the Choice of Games Label
- Games under the Hosted Games Label
- Games under the Heart's Choice Label
Tropes Present in Multiple Games:
- But Thou Must!: Unfortunately, more than a few games contain this. The branches you pick may result in some additional dialogue or scenes but many choices won't massively impact the story as a whole, usually with some Handwave justification. An example would be Choice of a Dragon: you can actually get a mate for the titled dragon but shortly after they get Put on a Bus afterward by needing to hibernate.
- Character Customization: In some games, you can customize the characters from their appearance to their abilities to sometimes, their past or relationships with certain NPCs.
- Cutting Off the Branches: Certain games such as Choice of Romance and Psy High have sequels that are set to follow certain endings.
- Dating Sim: Most games involve romantic elements somehow. The first part of Affairs of the Court, though, focuses almost entirely on this aspect. Additionally, they've announced a third line of games, called Heart's Choice, which will focus on romance games.
- Dance of Romance: The ball at the end of Choice of Romance. Also possible as part of the romances in Choice of Kung Fu.
- Decadent Court: The entirety of Choice of Romance/Intrigues, and New Orleans in Choice of the Vampire.
- Dialogue Tree: All games have this feature.
- Gay Option: Choice of Games consider this important, and every game with romance elements has one of these (Hosted Games, being a separate company, doesn't necessarily require this). In Choice of the Dragon, you can decide which gender you want your mate to be (or if you don't care), in Choice of Broadsides you can have an affair with Villeneuve, who is always the same gender as yourself, in Choice of Romance you choose at the outset what gender your love interests will be and that will be the only thing that changes about them, and in Choice of the Vampire there are two main love interests, Clotho and Silas, regardless of what gender you are. (You can also engage in some pseudo-sexual actions with your Dominus and Jesse, both of whom are always male, regardless of your gender.) Choice of Broadsides is especially interesting in that Villeneuve is much more vital to the plot than any of the opposite-sex choices, and their route is arguably the "main" one.
- This is possible in Choice of Kung Fu, but unlike the other games, gender can get in the way if you don't have sufficient resources (status, honor, or loyalty to a cause) to convince Daddy to tolerate his son or daughter becoming a "companion." The Rival and the foxgirl don't care.
- Black Magic in Heroes Rise, and later Lucky in The Hero Project, both become male or female depending on what you say your character's preference is but there's also your friend within the hero supervision agency who's always a lesbian no matter what. However, if you're also playing a lesbian, near the end of the game it's possible to express an interest.
- Gender Flip: A rare case of an entire cast being flipped. In Choice of Broadsides, rather than force the player to play as a male, it's possible to set an option such that the entirety of both navies (including the player) is staffed with women, thus turning the genre into Wooden Ships And Iron Women.
- Zhuge Liang from Romance of the Three Kingdoms gets a genderflip in Kung Fu.
- Gray-and-Grey Morality: Choice of Intrigues is a fairly dark version, where Nice Guys Finish Last, no one's hands are clean, but no one is completely unsympathetic either. Choice of Broadsides, of course, is about sailors fighting for their respective countries' wealth and power, and morality doesn't enter into it.
- Guide Dang It!: Due to how Stats can open up (or close off) certain options, this is in full effect.
- Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Most games have the feature where the player can choose from a list of presets or type in their name.
- Honor Before Reason: Silas, Gabriel(a).
- In Medias Res: Many of their games start out with an action scene (yes, even Choice of Romance). Afterward, they segue into flashbacks about your childhood that determines your stats.
- Loved I Not Honor More: Silas is ready to leave you for his army and probable heroic death. Also Villeneuve, when he gets his command. This can also be Lu Jin's story, should you refuse to back the Blue Scarves.
- Multiple Endings: A staple feature for most games.
- No Bisexuals:
- Averted by most games.
- You can only get together with Villeneuve in Choice of Broadsides if you state that you are not attracted to the opposite sex. Also, the first version of Choice of the Vampire enforced this, with the protagonist unable to get together with Silas if they pursued Clotho far enough. Later versions avert this, however.
- In Choice of Romance, you can't be bisexual, though the King/Queen is.
- That said, it is possible to romance Luis de Vega in the third game regardless of the Monarch's gender.
- Politically Correct History: One of the company's trademarks is that their games allow the player complete control over their character's gender and sexuality, with their later games even allowing the complex specificity typical of sexual politics in The New '10s... which is then applied even to games set in far more sexually conservative eras. Sometimes this can be very jarring: Hollywood Visionary takes place against the backdrop of the Red Scare, but somehow nobody has a problem with a player character who is gender or sexually transgressive.
- Choice of Romance is set in an alternate fantasy past where gender is irrelevant when it comes to marriage. Choice of Broadsides also uses it unusually - if you choose to play as a female sailor, the game world becomes a completely gender-flipped version of 18th-century Europe, with an all-female Navy.
- Funny thing is, Choice of Broadsides is actually a subversion of this trope, because the gender-flipped world is just as politically incorrect towards men, as the real world once was towards women: men aren't allowed to join the army or the Navy, they are thought to be fit only for nursing babies at home; in romantic affairs, they are courted by females.
- Purely Aesthetic Gender: In most games, the only difference your gender makes is a few minor references in dialogue. Some of the more recent games like Diabolical have stopped bothering altogether and left it completely to the player's imagination.
- Averted in The Eagle's Heir. Due to the rigid gender confines present in 19th-century polite society, certain scenes are only accessible to a certain gender, and there are even special scenes for genderfluid characters.
- Railroading: Some games are designed to move towards a single climax with only a bit of flavor difference based on the character you have played, so there are many times when a possible diversion will be cut off, or when a character cannot be saved, no matter what, in order to force you back onto the main storyline.
- Romance Sidequest: Present in most games, with Choice of Zombies, The Fleet and Treasure Seekers Of Lady Luck as exceptions. Choice of Romance doesn't have a romance sidequest, as romance is the main plot, but there's a second romantic subplot in Til Death Do Us Part. The original version of the first Heroes Rise title was criticized for being extremely pushy with its romance sidequest and subplot (part of a broader critique of the first title in general), but later versions of the game and later installments in the series were much better about it.
- Second-Person Narration
- Schrödinger's Question: Common during the character-building sections. Occasionally occurs in later sections such as in Heroes Rise on several encounters Black Magic where you determine who they look similar to, what they want out of life, and what kind of style they have.
- Starbucks' Skin-Scale:
- In Choice of the Vampire, both Clotho and her descendant have café au lait skin.
- In Heroes Rise, The Diva is described as having caramel skin.
- Mecha Ace has Asadi, who has skin the colour of milk tea.
- Straight Gay: As noted above, you can pretty much be whatever gender or sexuality you want and it won't affect your character one bit. Well, any more than you decide to change them, anyway. Also Villeneuve, and Silas if you pursue him and are male. Sort of in the case of Fistfull of Heroes Rise since he's in a secret relationship with Monk who is a hermaphroditic alien.
- Story Branching: Nearly all games under the Choice of Games label go with a braided version. Taking different story paths will lead to different and often mutually-exclusive changes to your stats, and may lead to altered outcomes later in the game, but by and large, you'll be hitting the same major events in every playthrough. A couple of games have split paths that last for about a chapter or so, but they usually re-emerge after that (unless it's the ending, of course).
- What the Hell, Player?:
I wonder how you can sleep at night after murdering some innocent sailors.
- The games usually go along with you, but sometimes they call you out if you make some cruel choices. For example, in Choice of Broadsides, if you choose to hang the sailors you suspect of mutiny without launching an investigation first you get this:
I...I don't know what to say. You do realize that you are a monster, don't you?
- In Affairs of the Court, if you ruin the life of Lucio/Lucia de Vega for no reason, and then pick the option that says you found it a thrilling bit of sport, the narration says: