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Visual Novel / Wishful Thinking

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Wishful Thinking is one of the many stories under the Choices: Stories You Play collection.

You're an aspiring reporter, struggling to get ahead... until a shocking turn of events changes your life!


  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Chapter 14 sees Lydia's mind reading powers restored to her after getting shocked again.
  • All Just a Dream: Chapter 1 starts with Lydia having a talk show with Ryan Summers and Cassandra Leigh, getting a Pulitzer Prize AND the Nobel Peace Prize before being woken up from her dream.
  • Alpha Bitch: Ellen, at least in the beginning. She is the lead reporter and nobody at work, even her boss Alec, can stand her egotistical attitude. She improves significantly later on while working with Lydia on the off-the-books investigation.
  • Animal Motif: Emus. They’re on the cover of the book. And they're the focus of Chapter 8.
  • Advertisement:
  • Animal Wrongs Group: PETE, or Person for the Ethical Treatment of Emus led by, well, Pete, who's the only member of the group. He feels emus should be the dominant species.
  • Bad Boss: Alec. He can't even remember Lydia's face or name, even after she got hit by a lightning, and has No Sympathy for any of his employees. Even after he realizes that Lydia does have potential for the reporter position after hearing her conversation with Anna, he still remains a Jerkass who treats his subordinates like dirt, such as forcing Ellen to overwork.
  • Black Bra and Panties: One of the options to get Anna to focus on the task at hand in Chapter 13 is telling her to imaging Lydia in her underwear. Especially when she says they're black satin.
  • Busman's Holiday: At the premium choice club in Chapter 13, Jamie is fixing a lightbulb instead of drinking and dancing.
  • The Cameo:
  • Cassandra Truth: In a premium scene with Maggie in Chapter 5, Lydia can outright say she's reading Maggie's mind. Maggie assumes she's being facetious.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: One of Lydia's love interests is her childhood friend Jaime.
  • Don't Think, Feel: In Chapter 5 in a premium scene with Maggie, this is Lydia's advice to her when it comes to asking out June.
  • Dr. Jerk: Lydia's doctor in Chapter 2 makes snide thoughts on Lydia.
  • Epileptic Flashing Lights: The first thing the story tells you is that there will be flashing lights and may not be suitable for players with photosensitive epilepsy.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Aubrey's sister Liz calls him "Snobrey."
  • Former Teen Rebel: Anna admits to Lydia that she used to be this, which prevented her from getting a college education. She did a lot of social work to make up for it with the experience.
  • Gass Hole: Aubrey reveals that Alec stinks up the men’s room with his farts. Alec says it’s because he’s on a all meat diet to preserve his youth.
  • Gay Option: Anna Koishi.
  • Girlfriend From Canada: Chapter 5 shows that until Lydia meets Aubrey's family, they thought he was making her up.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: As with all Choices characters, you can name the main character whatever you please, though the default name is Lydia Gibson.
  • Insult Backfire: If the player chooses to wrestle control of the spotlight from Ellen on the vandalism at Charlie's office, and Lydia calls her an entitled diva, Ellen will proudly reply, "since the day I was born."
  • Internal Reveal: Chapter 3 ends with Lydia revealing her power to Jamie.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Lydia's lifetime goal. Her father, however, fears that she won't be successful at it because he thinks it's a very dangerous job for her.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each chapter's name has something to do with thinking or the mind (such as "I Can Only Imagine", "Birdbrained", "Don't Think Twice" and "Mind Over Matter".
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ellen Thompson gradually becomes this. Despite her abrasive behavior towards others and ruthlessness to get the truth out, she's also helpful towards Lydia, particularly when giving her a decent hotel to stay during a trip.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Ellen may be a Jerkass, but her anger wasn't entirely unjustified at Alec's Skewed Priorities for prioritizing Lydia's piece on the local library losing a book over her own piece on environmental disaster.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Tilly, Jinx's original owner. After she has to go to police custody, a premium option in Chapter 3 allows you to adopt Jinx the cat.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: During Chapter 1, a few small electric shocks allow Lydia to hear bits of other people's thoughts, but it's the ligtning strike at the end that fully gives her mind-reading powers. Subverted in Chapter 11 if Lydia tries to restart her mind reading powers like this by electrocuting herself, letting her know she no longer has them.
  • Lipstick Lesbian:
    • June is seen flustered and awkward around Maggie from makeup. Chapter 5 allows Lydia to help her break through that barrier.
    • Anna takes immediate interest in Lydia when they meet.
  • The Lost Lenore: Lydia's mother is this to her dad that it's not until he's in the hospital from having a heart attack that he can talk about her in a premium scene.
  • Love Interests: Lydia has Aubrey, Jaime and Anna crushing on her. The Developers' Desired Date is Aubrey, due to him being her colleague.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Michael Xiao of Cycron is this, having worked out a deal with Charlie Carmichael to get an oil pipeline to go through farmland that will be buried under the rug once he's voted into office.
  • Massively Numbered Siblings: Aubrey is the youngest brother of his four siblings.
  • Mushroom Samba: Lydia's mother was in one with all the painkillers she was hopped on after getting her wisdom teeth pulled. She thought she was buying a golden retriever but instead bought a goldfish.
  • The Napoleon: It turns out that Alec all this time is this. Ellen lays out that she couldn't wear heels, had to sit in a lower chair and had to squat slightly if she stood next to him. She then reveals that he's wearing platform shoes.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Lydia wakes up in the hospital after being struck by lightning with everything in a ten square foot radius scorched while she's perfectly fine. Her boss Alec posts an opening for her replacement because he assumes she died.
  • Overprotective Dad: According to Lydia and Jaime, her dad has become depressed and pessimistic after his wife died. Lydia can hear him think that she can't be a reporter because it's a dangerous career and she won't be successful at it.
  • Paintball Episode: A premium date with Anna in Chapter 6 has Lydia and Anna playing laser tag.
  • Pre-Climax Climax: Lampshaded by Ellen in Chapter 13 about “night before battle” tropes, saying the group has to party before they bring Carmichael down.
  • Precious Puppy: Chapter 4 allows Lydia to rescue a stray puppy off the street with the default name of Opie.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After Alec and Carmichael are arrested in Chapter 14, you have a premium choice to let every member of the station give one to Alec.
  • Reassignment Backfire: Chapter 8 has Alec give Lydia the emu story for daring to talk back to him and defending Jamie's honor after he gave him the bill for fixing the electricity. She ends up getting a newsworthy story and makes him say he's impressed with her.
  • Remember the New Guy?: In-Universe, Lydia is this. Until she got her powers, she was just another wallflower writer for the studio, but once she started doing field reports and getting buzzworthy stories, she's the talk of the town to Ellen's chagrin.
  • Shipper on Deck: Chapter 5 allows Lydia to give dating advice to Maggie which allows her to set her and June up together.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skewed Priorities: Alec Burdock is guilty of this, which stems from his collaboration with Charlie Carmichael
    • He prioritizes Lydia's piece on the local library losing a book over Ellen's piece on environmental disaster.
    • He fires Ellen Thompson if Lydia tells him she caught Ellen snooping around his office, but suspends her for a month if Lydia tells him Ellen has been scaring guests like Anna. This implies he cares more about his own things over the impressions of guests.
  • Sleazy Politician: Charlie Carmichael has angered numerous environmental rights groups and has bribed people.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: One of Lydia's new powers involves being able to understand animals' thoughts.
  • Stress Vomit: In a premium scene in Chapter 13 as Lydia and Dad talk about her long dead mother, she can ask about their wedding. He was so nervous he thought he'd puke on the altar.
  • Telepathy: Throughout Chapter 1, Lydia hears what sound like tiny whispers from a person after a little shock. After getting a full blast of lightning, she can now read minds. Chapter 3 lets her know it also transcends species in reading Jinx the cat’s mind.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 10 reveals Charlie Carmichael's corruption and Lydia's dad falls unconscious.
    • Chapter 11 adds a new wrinkle to the mix: Lydia can no longer read minds, and Ellen shows up at her apartment.
  • Wham Shot: Regardless if you go on a premium date or not with Anna in Chapter 8, Lydia and Anna go to the Carmichael campaign office and find it ransacked.