One of the strengths of the interactive fiction genre is its ability to tackle subject matter that’s normally very difficult for other genres. The range of interactive fiction is staggering, but one area the genre shines, but in which the rest of video gaming struggles, is with relationships.
Face Time is a game about a masquerade party. The character has just been dumped after a long-term relationship and he’s invited to a formal dress masquerade party by his friend in order to help him get over his lingering feelings.
While not stereotypically interactive fiction, Face Time is a cross between interactive fiction and adventure games that’s called a “visual novel.” You still interact with the world entirely through text, however there are images in the background that lay out the scene. When responding, you are limited in your responses to multiple choices. It’s very similar to a giant game-long dialogue tree.
Which works well here because dialogue trees are best at allowing the player to discover information by exhausting all the options in the conversation. The story here is entirely about discovering information—information about the player’s character, about the other characters (who is behind that mask, anyway?), etc. It’s about the player’s efforts to get laid and get over his ex. I think the dialogue tree serves the story well, here.
Talking Points: Does the visual-novel format work for trying to unravel the story? Is the standard dialogue tree good at conveying the back and forth between the player and the women he’s interested in? Do the masks add tension to the conversation, where you don’t know who you’re talking to most of the time?