Plus It’ll Heighten The Effect When The “Bad” Isn’t So Bad, And The “Good” Isn’t So Good

This is an odd one, but bear with me.

Recently I started working on a proof of concept for a story idea I had. (Because in many ways being a writer is like being an alcoholic, even when you say you’re done you’re never that far from your next one.) To greatly oversimplify it, it’s a sort of dual timelines story that follows what happens (good and bad) after a critical event that could easily have gone either way. (Just take my word for it that’s it’s more original sounding in practice.)

Yesterday I showed this proof to L’s Mother, and she got a little sad because I started with the “good” timeline (“Good . . . bad . . . time will tell.”), so she found the “bad” timeline especially depressing.

This reminded me of when I read that the original design for Civilization II had “Dark Ages” where the game became significantly harder for a time, but play testers found that unsatisfying; so they retooled the idea into “Golden Ages” where things got easier for a time. Essentially the same basic effect on gameplay, but one approach was simply more enjoyable.

So that’s why the “bad” timeline now comes first.



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