The Beauty of Choice in Narrative Gaming: Frostpunk

Frostpunk, the game where you have to make some really tough decisions while leading your colony. I discovered something really beautiful as I began exploring the additional content, the added scenarios, and how much they bring to the story. They both continue the story in the past, present and future sense.

We start with A New Home, where we’re invited to fight out some tough decisions, in a world that is just filled with misery. Some of these decisions we get punished for, and some rewarded for, but we are left to wonder, was it really the right choice, once we finish the campaign. Did we go too far?

If you’ve seen any part of the game, you know that almost always there are choices which are between bad or worst. Like, there’s no winning, even when you “win”, it’s almost anti-climactic because you’re still stuck in this cold landscape and every next challenge could kill everyone in your colony.

As we continue on through the stories, the scenarios, we get a glimpse of what was going on elsewhere in the Frostlands while we were doing our best to survive in New London, we get to see glimpses of a story that never was, because it wasn’t the story we played. They didn’t make the same choices we did. We were continuously creating alternate realities within this universe.

It’s a game full of what ifs, and I feel like the accompanying achievements continue to bring those “what if?”. What if I save all the children from working, on every survivor challenge I run. It may be hard as nails, but it’s got to be possible.

So here I am, after a month of playing this game obsessively, since it became available via Twitch Prime (through writing about it. Writing about how I’m discovering this game, as if for the first time, because it is the first time for me, and I didn’t see many of the other scenarios from other people since they came much later (I don’t know the timelines, it doesn’t matter).

A New Home was a proof of concept, but set in a world rich with possibilities. Where we’ll look for allies best we can, as the world gets harsher and harsher. And I haven’t even touched the endless modes yet. I think this is a game I’ll be playing for a while, and then take long breaks from to come back and figure out more things again. Kind of how I play RimWorld even though it’s a completely different kind of story generator.

I wanted to give you something different in regards to this game, for you to share the experience with me, but I’m unfortunately currently unavailable to do so. Hopefully this post, and these thoughts may offer you a chance to try it out yourself. And maybe I’ll write something else down the line.

In the mean while, good luck, whichever path you choose.

If you’re enjoying reading these little articles or stories, consider throwing some support my way: via ko-fi or alternatives. I’m currently trying to cover my student loan debt payments and that will be my goal going forward too.