Storyscape is a freemium mobile app that offers several choose your own adventure-style stories. The vast majority of choices are free, and the choices made don't seem to have a meaningful impact on the story. So far, I've experimented with stories based on the X-Files, James Cameron's Titanic, and a snowbound post-apocalyptic scenario.
In the X-Files adventure, you meet the stars of the show and soon join the team. The first episode delivers the core elements of the X-Files--a gross monster, humor, and winks to the relationship between Mulder and Scully:
But there isn't an interesting monetized choice in the first episode of the X-Files story. On the other hand, the first monetized choice in the Titanic storyline is supremely well-crafted.
As the story opens, you're a gorgeous young orphaned immigrant suffragette who has found herself imprisoned in a jail in London. Over the ensuing episodes, you find yourself on the Titanic, choosing between various intrigues, suitors, and outfits (the diamond icon represents a choice requiring spending premium currency):
You encounter the occasional familiar face, as well:
However, that's all in the future. At the start of the story, you're in dank cell with little hope for release. Your younger sister is in the city, helpless without you. A guard enters with apparent ill intent. The game offers you this choice and explanation, since it's the first monetized choice I encountered:
I absolutely decided to know jujitsu:
That's the most I've ever enjoyed spending premium currency. You can try out the Storyscape app on your mobile device.
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Matt Ruff is one of science fiction and fantasy's most consistently brilliant and innovative authors, whose recent work includes The Mirage (an incredible alternate history in which the Global War on Terror is kicked off when Christian crusaders from the blighted, tribal USA fly a plane into the United States of Arabia's Twin Towers in Dubai, giving the hawkish CIA chief Osama bin Laden the chance to launch the all-out war he's been champing for), and Lovecraft Country (an anti-racist reimagining of Cthulhu set in Jim Crow America where the real horror is white supremacy -- now being adapted for TV by Jordan Peele). In his new novel, 88 Names, Ruff adds to the canon of MMORPG heist novels (Charlie Stross's Rule 34, Neal Stephenson's Reamde, and my For the Win, to name three) with a unique take that he dubbed "Snow Crash meets The King and I."
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