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List of games with 'forced input'

Recommendations by dutchmule

This is a list of games which use a specific text effect, which I call "forced input" here (don't know if it has a better name): it's when the game shows you a command prompt, but regardless of what the player types, the command that appears on the screen is the same.

I'm really fond of this effect, and would like to see how often it has been used and to what effect. The list is sorted chronologically. If you know of more games using this, please let me know!

CAUTION: contains mild spoilers!

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1. Shrapnel
by Adam Cadre
(2000)
Average member rating: (145 ratings)

dutchmule says:

According to Duncan Stevens in SPAG 20, this is the first game to use the effect.

Shrapnel is a thought-provoking piece, with lots of cool programming tricks and time-based text effects. It uses this effect in the "You have died!" screen, so that the game restarts no matter what the player types, and you have to keep going to uncover the whole story; in fact, dying is integral to the experience and the story.

2. Pick Up the Phone Booth and Aisle, by David Dyte, Steve Bernard, Dan Shiovitz, Iain Merrick, Liza Daly, John Cater, Ola Sverre Bauge, J. Robinson Wheeler, Jon Blask, Dan Schmidt, Stephen Granade, Rob Noyes, and Emily Short (2001)
Average member rating: (88 ratings)
dutchmule says:

In the response to >undo, the game rewinds time and shows "you at the beginning of your previous turn" ; the action that (supposedly) led you here is then spelled out using forced input. The game being a one-move game, the only 'undo' there can be is one at the first turn, which means going back in time; forced input is used here to, essentially, "relive a memory" of your PC.

3. Pytho's Mask
by Emily Short
(2001)
Average member rating: (63 ratings)

dutchmule says:

Upon the arrival of the comet, everyone shall toast and drink... Your protagonist is in a social situation where it would be rude/stupid not to do what everyone else is doing -- but also, something more is hinted at, in line with the world and its magic, that you almost don't have a choice because of what the comet does to people... This temporary loss of agency at the crucial moment is a nice way to convey the magic and the comet's power.

4. Filaments
by FibreTigre
(2003)
Average member rating: (6 ratings)

dutchmule says:

The protagonist's sidekick is being annoying, and you're so ashamed/enraged the game makes you >STRANGLE JONAS -- before saying "no, but you wish you could". So here, we have forced input as something that reveals the protagonist's thoughts and what she wishes she could act out in real life/the game.

5. Being Steve, by Anonymous (2006)
Average member rating: (5 ratings)
dutchmule says:

An attack piece spawned by online argument, which is really not very nice. However this is remarkable for a few reasons: forced input is used here to show you another character/player and their actions: you're not yourself, you're watching 'Steve'. And furthermore, the whole game is like that, except a little part at the end: this doesn't seem like it has been done before, and reminds me of what the VN scene calls 'kinetic novels' -- except the format here is a parser piece. So, even if it's a mean game, it's kind of interesting formally.

6. Taco Fiction
by Ryan Veeder
(2011)
Average member rating: (73 ratings)

dutchmule says:

Used when moving inside the taco joint: the protagonist realises something, but doesn't finish the sentence, and the next line is a command prompt that spells it out.

Taco Fiction has a particular parser voice, somewhere between inner voice and sidekick helping with the robbery; it often contradicts the protagonist's thoughts or instincts, and addresses the player directly (for instant spelling out the plan, and the commands needed, to rob the place). So "you" is the protagonist and the player, and the game's voice is the sidekick or the voice in the protagonist's head trying to convince him/her to go through with the robbery. This makes the moment the aforementioned realization occurs sound like both characters being surprised at the same time and talking in unison. So, forced input acts here as a way to reinforce the distinction between game voice on one side and protagonist and player on the other - interesting!

7. Endless, Nameless
by Adam Cadre
(2012)
Average member rating: (36 ratings)

dutchmule says:

At the beginning, the game simulates a BBS interface, and you are presented with a few command prompts, but the game doesn't actually offer different options -- no matter what you'll type, it'll choose the option that boots the game. In this case, forced input is used to simulate somebody else's input in a command line; the player 'sees' someone choosing the option that will start the game.

8. Monkey and Bear, by Carolyn VanEseltine (as the opposite of sublimation) (2014)
Average member rating: (11 ratings)
dutchmule says:

Forced input is used at the very beginning of the game, in a dream sequence where the protagonist sees a sequence of 0 and 1, and attempts to fit in -- conveying the fact that the player doesn't have total control over the protagonist's thoughts (this being a dream), or that the protagonist doesn't have control over their dream.

9. 50 Shades of Jilting
by Rowan Lipkovits (as Lankly Lockers)
(2014)
Average member rating: (11 ratings)

dutchmule says:

This game is one-move, and incorporates forced input as one of the "50 ways to leave your lover" (when you look at your inventory), which takes "several moves" that are shown using forced input. The few moves are a somewhat clever way to solve the problem, and this is meant to show the solution, which is funny given the nature of the "object". So here, forced input walks the player through a series of non-obvious moves, using the conceit of having the PC have an idea to solve a problem and execute it.

10. Sourire de bois, by Natrium (2015)
Average member rating: (2 ratings)
dutchmule says:

The PC is a wood puppet, and the scene which uses the forced input trick is one where the kid is acting out a little scene using you, the puppet: forced input is used when the player litterally doesn't have control over the protagonist, a nice use of the effect reinforcing the theme.


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