You'll have to download this game to play it. (The idea of turning this into a single flash file seemed too daunting)
This game is a spin-off pokemon game. You play as a Pikachu who decides to train his naive trainer to be his pet. She has no idea how to be a pokemon trainer, so she goes along with everything.
There's an experimental game design I've been trying to figure out for years: How to create a game that randomly creates situations or puts you into situations as you explore so that every play-through is different... This game doesn't do that, but it was inspired by some of those ideas and takes it in a slightly simpler direction.
This game presents a bunch of situations and you choose how to respond to each one. Each of your choices alters the options that are available in later situations. This might sound complicated, but I accomplished this by shrinking the scope of this game down as small as possible. It all takes place on a single map. (kind of like a couple other games I made where someone wanders around a forest)
One thing that made this design possible was the premise. You play as a pokemon whose teaching their naive trainer how to be a pokemon trainer, so the choices are unlocked as she acquires "lessons" which represent things she now considers normal and is willing to do. Each choice you make teaches the character a lesson, and each lesson unlocks options in many other situations. There are no stats. You either have a lesson or you don't. In most choices, each of the items requires one specific lesson to unlock it.
The key to making this design work is to always include at least one option in each situation that doesn't require any condition to unlock it. That option will always teach one of the lessons. From there, you can just add more options for that situation which will appear if the player already has the right lesson for them. Practically every choice adds a lesson. So you quickly accumulate a few lessons no matter what you do, which means you'll soon have multiple choices in most situations. But more isn't automatically better. The ending changes depending on which lessons you have and don't have, so experiment to find the ending you like best.
You might think this would result in a tangled mess with a hundred different lessons. But nope! There are just five:
I didn't start off knowing exactly what these lessons would be. I just brainstormed a bunch of different situations a naive character could face along with a bunch of sexy options the player could choose for her to do. Then I looked for overlaps: Choices that taught her similar things. Then I looked for the lessons that tended to be gained together, and just combined those into single lessons. After simplifying things like this, I ended up with a short list of just 5 lessons. Then I reworked the choices to use those lessons, and only require them. Some choices naturally didn't require anything. I then made it so that every situation had at least one choice that didn't require anything, so an option would always be available. And that worked out well.
Then I had to figure out the ending. I didn't want to create completely different endings for every possible combination of lessons the player could end up with. At first, I tried to figure out the minimum set of lessons the player was able to end up with, but then I realized it was possible to reach the end without ANY lessons. Then I took a different approach. The ending is basically one scene where 4 things happen:
And that's basically it. A game with no padding that is exactly as big as it needs to be with lots of things to try.
Title image based on
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