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Interactive Non-Fiction: Choose Your Own Morality
I guess I spent a week making something weird again
Several months ago, I had an idea to make a choose-your-own-trademarkedkindofjourney interactive piece about different viewpoints people might have on lying. I quickly figured out that Substack wasn’t really built for this, and began badly procrastinating figuring out how to do it.
Months after this, I made friends with a pretty good internet dude named Josh Duff, and was boring him to death with my list of articles I wanted to write but hadn’t yet got to, and mentioned this idea. There are probably about two people who have ever written an entire light-weight interactive fiction engine. Josh, it turns out, is one of them.
In a very real theological sense I don’t really believe in coincidences, which meant it was time for me to dust off 23-year-old Geocities-based markdown language skills and get to work. The result is this game, which I’m linking to with a lot of extra words so it’s more visible. It took forever to make.
This is a weird project, and I’m not at all sure that it’s “for” anyone in the sense that there’s some person out there who has been clamoring for this exact thing and will intuitively get what I’m trying to do with it. I’m not sure I even know in a way I can easily explain, but here’s a quick attempt at a guide:
I am not sure expert philosophers really exist, but whether they do or don’t I’m pretty sure I’m not one. Caveat Emptor; you probably won’t agree with all of it.
The general purpose of the document is not to break any new ground or to debut any unique, pioneering thought. The stated purpose of it is probably something like “to give you a chance to think about the morality of lying in a different way”, and the not so secret hidden purpose is to give you a chance to disagree with me and, in the process, reinforce your own thinking on things.
This is a big, big document compared to a normal article but many of the individual paths you might take through it are quite short. If you find yourself “done” with the game within a minute or so, I’d encourage you to poke around through some other paths - some of them are nearly readable.
I think I caught the majority of the errors and typos, but please let me know if you see any. I’m hard to embarrass, so you can do so either by leaving a comment or emailing me at email@example.com; I’m not bothered either way.
This is very much a project I’m willing to edit and add to. I can’t promise that every complaint or suggestion will get an edit, but a lot of them will; don’t be shy. At the very least we can chat about it.
Once again, please don’t forget my really big hard to miss link to this game. And props once again to Josh - thanks for helping me out on this, man.