Are linear games ok?

The Squarish Square

Hello, I am making my first Squiffy game. I just wanted to get your guys' opinions about this, Is it okay just to have a linear game? What I mean is to have a game that you don't choose your own decisions. Kind of like "Homestuck" from Mspa. I know that may seem kind of dumb since it takes away the main aspect of text games. But would it be okay to do this?


You tell me...
Actually, it should have been called "The Hotel"
This has no options, other than at the start, to do anything but "Next"...
(yea, mine...)
If by "linear game" you mean:
Solve puzzle #1, IE: Escape from the cell...
Solve puzzle #2, IE: get past the guard...
Solve puzzle #3, IE: exit the building...
and so on...
You are just telling a "story" and forcing the player to think like you did and make them follow you...
If so... then not so much, what you are creating is a walk through...
But... if you open it up so that, after escaping the cell, you provide a maze of hallways for the player
to get through so that several places have a guard that forces you to take another path, then you create
an idea that the player has a choice.... go left? go right? go back?
Even it there is only one safe way out.
But if the player is stuck on a puzzle they can't solve, then they may give-up and stop playing it.
The more choices, the better... But then, that is harder on you because you need to create 9 different
ways to get past the guards, then tie the 9 paths back to your main story, to get the player back to solving puzzle #3...
If done well, and with some random changes, like the guards are in different rooms for every run, then each play through
is like a different game and that works best for replay ability...
(Was this too long of an answer?)


In the world of visual novels, linear works with no choices at all are considered perfectly valid and even get a name of their own: kinetic novels. They work because adding breaks for effect is a thing, too -- pacing, it's called. And indeed a lot of text adventures are completely linear, including some of the most famous ever. So do whatever feels right. And if people complain, maybe ask them why they'd rather have an illusion of freedom through ultimately meaningless choices rather than a good story.

The Squarish Square

Wow, thank you so much. That really helped a lot felix.


Linear doesn't have to mean 'Continue, Continue, Continue' - these are just a page-turning device in my opinion and don't deserve to be called games.

But true non-linear is an absolute nightmare to construct, so what I try to do is something in between, where the player, for instance, must find fuel and a spark plug before he can use the car he came across earlier, or a key for a locked door.

There's nothing wrong with linear, but please give me some puzzles along the way, otherwise I might as well just go and read a good book.


I think linear is extremely boring.
Make a choice, and if its not what the writer wants, YOU DIE! GAME OVER!!! YAY!!!

Log in to post a reply.