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(+2)

[CW: discussion of suicide]

This is an unusual comment, but it's a reply to an unusual story, so I think it's appropriate.

Have you played The Beginner's Guide? It's a very good game. But there is something troubling about it, the details of which I will not spoil for you here. Players were left with at least a little reason to doubt that what they had witnessed was entirely fictional. And if it's not fictional, that changes what we should think of the game, and its creator. The game never fully clarifies this ambiguity, perhaps out of some sense of artistic verisimilitude, but it raises questions of player consent -- if it's permissible for the creator to cause the player distress over whether what they're seeing is real.

I do not feel as though I consented to what I was drawn into here. I have, in the course of my life, tried to talk down more than one person from attempting suicide, and witnessed many others whom I wasn't sure how close they were. It's for this reason that I took the conceit of your story very seriously until I was reasonably sure it was a fiction, and that took quite a lot longer than I would've liked. Some kind of warning at the start probably would have sufficed. You may feel that this breaks the fiction you've tried to create, but I hope that you will consider your responsibility to your players. You seem like a serious writer, and this is as serious a concern as any within the fiction itself.

That said...I thought it was very well-written. Kicking off what appears to be an ARG for a game jam is a bold choice, and I have to admit, I'm pretty curious about it.

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A serious concern indeed! I greatly appreciate your taking the time to bring it to my attention, and can only apologize for my error in failing to consider the need ahead of time - it is no purpose of mine to cause anyone distress by my actions here, and I've added content advice prior to the beginning of the story.

As far as "kicking off what appears to be an ARG" goes - I hadn't considered it in precisely such terms, but I suppose that is more or less what I was doing, isn't it? Though I feel I've done rather a poor job of it, and would have done many things differently had I thought it through more ahead of time, rather than acting out of a sense of desperation complicated by the effects of a prolonged high fever. I think the "alternate reality" in this case must thus have existed entirely within the confines of my own skull! Next time, if there is a next time, I'll try to do a better job of making the game's alternate reality more accessible to people other than we who live inside this particular head, and also of making it possible for those who take an interest to know going in whether the subject matter is anything with which they choose to treat, rather than risk putting someone in a place where they do not choose or care to be.

Perhaps that latter necessity will, as you say, make it more difficult to maintain narrative verisimilitude - if so, so be it; I'm not sure I am exactly a "serious writer", but if I'm going to engage in fiction of this sort, then I'm going to do so in a way which does not risk harm to its audience. No doubt this will be a challenge! It is one which I will develop sufficient skill to overcome - and in the meantime, I'll from now on use proper care, to err on the side of excess caution rather than that of excess risk.

Thank you once again for your kindness in bringing this error to my attention! I would not be able otherwise to repair it, or to ensure I don't err the same way again in future.

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Thanks for your thoughtful reply. And I'm sorry if I sounded harsh -- in the end, there's no hard feelings. I think I might've been a bit swept up in the style of your prose and written something a bit more grandiose than I usually would have. X3

I do think you've written something moving and powerful here, and you should take pride in that.