This game is amazing T>T Can anyone tell me how to go with Myka to the lake though? I'm trying to find the word for the gem and I've already rerun so many lives already :'>
CHOOSE YOUR OWN HAPPY ENDING
Welcome to Elaia, a magical city nestled in a high valley. It's the end of your first year at university & time to choose your major.
Find yourself among potential friends or lovers-- young people with secrets, dreams, fears, and tragedies. Learn about the history & breadth of Elaia's world, and decide what kind of mark you want to leave on it.
WHAT IS "STAY? " ?
- An interactive fiction story.
- A dating sim wrapped up in a fantasy adventure puzzle.
- A quest to find your own happy ending in a world where you always get a second chance.
HOW TO PLAY:
Select "Run Game" or "Load Game." Read the text that appears like it's a story unfolding, and select between the bolded options offered to you.
HOW TO SAVE:
Use the SAVE button to preserve your progress as you explore Elaia. Any refresh/reload of the web page will clear your existing progress. Many phones will automatically drop any idling webpages, so save before you leave the browser app to go to another application or tab.
If the game "freezes," choices stop appearing, or it has other issues in execution, we suggest closing the browser, then reopening it & reloading your most recent save. (Do NOT save at the place the error occurs. Only use a save that already existed.) This has helped with most the commonly seen bugs.
If the game won't load at all ("Run Game" does not appear), try deleting your cookies.
Made using inkle's INK - inklestudios.com
Written by E. Jade Lomax - ejadelomax.com
Ink by E. Jade Lomax
Save Function provided by Adam Rubin
Photo by Curt Lomax
Beta testing by Jules Lomax, Adam Rubin, M. Esty, J. Loginov, R. Kellum, A. Rowland, K. Su, H. Barnard, N. Oguri, S. Hayes, M, Grace Li, and many wonderful helpful others!
Liked the game? Check out my tumblr ink-splotch for behind the scenes content and my other works. I'm also on Twitter @ejadelomax.
Want early access to future games, "making of" posts, and other tidbits? Consider supporting my patreon at https://www.patreon.com/ejadelomax
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Does anyone know how to find the right word or words for the gem? I'm stuck on it rn.
Can I end up staying while still being with any of the "outsiders", like Len and Fezzi? Or is that a no-go?
I LOVED THIS GAME !! Came here from ao3 .
Thank u for sharing this <3
Took me 14 lives to beat it, but what a fantastic ride it was. I went into it knowing nothing and really enjoyed it. The only criticism I have is that after the first few "runs" it gets super repetitive. I ended up just skipping most of the dialogue.
One suggestion would be to allow the player to set a "world state" for that particular run before starting it based on their past lives. So instead of going through all of the dialogue you could essentially "warp" to the next logical step in the story if that makes any sense.
really neat and cool game
im dropping it at 7 lives due to my detest of repetition, but the end seems close yet far. i feel like the only piece im missing is to hang out with jo more in the next life but... the cost of time doesn't seem like a good exchange XD
17. made it in 17 lives. wonderful game
this game is so beautiful. i just reached 15 and i havent figured out how to stop the comet yet but i'm so close i can feel it. managing to heal the south with jo and have everyone live only to have everything destroyed is pretty extra heartbreaking. i'm gonna figure it out though. i love this so so much.
went through 27 lives .
each different from the others.
died so many different ways, and lived so many different lives.
this game made my existential crisis worse, but also gave me perspective.
it made me appreciate my own life .
As so many others have said, this was such a powerful and moving experience. I'm someone who struggles with indecision, with the fear of regret, with the weight of all the "what-ifs". Being able to live so many lives, to go down all the paths and explore possibilities to my heart's content... and then to see that -- if I didn't give up -- there were truly no wrong answers, that any path could lead to happiness and contentment... it gave me a sense of calm and freedom I haven't felt in a long time. And it made my final choice all the more meaningful.
So thank you for that, and for these beautiful characters, and this fascinating world, and your wonderful words.
And thank you for all the work you did to make it real! I've been writing an IF game in Twine for the first time and it is so. much. work. But you've inspired me!
I'm glad you're living in this time-stream, and that I'm here to appreciate this creation.
For being a first foray into choice-based storytelling, you absolutely knocked it out of the park; the characters are amazing, learning more about the world as i went along was a delight, and it's hard to overstate how much i enjoyed the experience.
Thanks for making it!
This is INCREDIBLE. I did not expect the range of things that we can do to be this varied. Definitely one of the best out here!
This game. It-it's so good. I love it, I love how you slowly put things together. It's well written, and very, very nice. Good job! Wasn't expecting to feel sad that I completed it, but I do feel sad. Things link together well and I enjoyed it.
I’m glad! The “epilogues” section at the end was one of my favorites to write, because I wanted every ending to feel satisfying no matter your path.
I played this about a year ago and I lost my progress- which is fine but like, I was looking so hard for this game and I'm so glad I found it again, the storytelling is really amazing
I almost gave up but after 24 tries, I finally got the happy ending with EstebanT_T this is so good
Hey! I really love the game and i was replaying it, and spoilers for anyone who hasnt played yet, however after the first time, despite knowing archaiccccc and bringing myka to the bottom of the lake i cant find the lion statue there anymore nor the word for 'protect'. ive gone through it several time so just letting you know in case its a bug, or im just doing something wrong
started playing this during some downtime at work (bad idea) and am currently on my 30th playthrough (pls don’t judge me)
i’ve loved so many of the endings i’ve gotten (esteban and len, my beloveds) but i have still not managed to stop the comet. tried a lot of the different paths (all 3 areas of study, methods of stealing the gems) and i’ve managed to save suzette and the south and avoid the war but i cannot figure out the gosh darn comet! would love to be able to accomplish all that and still end up with soft artist esteban at the end
i feel like consistently, if someone posts on here that they can’t figure out how to get their perfect ending—their very next loop they figure it out. so my hot take is to post and you’ll figure it out!
thanks for such an amazing game!
I played this game 9 times over before i finally decided to stay, and although the ending was beautiful, I enjoyed the game so much that I immediately wished I could keep playing. The writing and characters are both gorgeous (I think Esteban and Suzette were my favorites) and I'm so impressed that you managed to create such a natural storyline and still allow the player's choices to have an impact on what follows. Thank you for creating this wonderful game!
Thank you, I’m so glad! This was my first foray into choice-based storytelling and such a delight to make
i've played this game on and off again (without saving. yes it was painful.) and i've amassed what must be a solid... 90+ lives? and like even though i've stayed a few times, I finally got what I think is the best ending. spoilers from here on out besties.
bae I'm just so emotional over getting to befriend everyone. i got the ending where I became besties w/jo and suzette AFTER encouraging esteban to get back into painting while we stole the gem. and then jo is so brilliant. i literally had no idea that jo would be able to mastermind a way for us to save suzette (because I forgot how to discover suzette's spell and steal her research early on!!!! so every "Good" ending still ended with suzette dying and that's legit unacceptable) AND heal the lands AAAAND RETURN TO ELAIA. bro I'm just so.... MC deserves this.... they deserve this ending. every single "fuck it" life was just gorgeous and I got so so sad making bad decisions but justifying them with "please I just want to get through this. mc is tired. I'm tired." and like I'm such a hoe for angst, so what I really love is the concept of mc regretting their poor decisions. i love the concept of mc just saving the world, staying, and having this unresolved angst over all the people they didn't save in their previous lives. anyways, esteban is mi amor and I'm so fucking happy that i was able to talk to everyone at that party. that suzette and teresa reach their happy ending, that myka's as brilliant and alive as she deserves, and that ossani is as free as she likes.
when i say i love worldbuilding done well, this is what i mean. I'm invested in this story like nothing else and your way of communicating this world was just gorgeous. there's nothing quite like it. thank you so much for sharing. i can't believe i happened to stumble upon it in one of your fics. so grateful. so so grateful thank you i love this and you have a wonderful day, month, and year, and life. goodness. heart broken successfully and beautifully.
Thank you for sharing your story!! That is such a good ending and I love hearing about people’s adventures in Elaia. I miss this world!
HOW PLS IVE BEEN TRYING TO REACH THIS PERFECT ENDING SO MUCH
this game is so amazing, i dont even have words to express how engaging it was! i spent hours playing and playing just to try to get somewhere and then after twenty-something finals i made it what is, for now, the ending that i liked the most!!
thank you so much for this!! <3
I certainly didn't get all of the endings, I'm sure, but I got many - around twenty four or so - and the hours spent doing so were certainly worthwhile. I liked Esteban at first but Jo ended up absolutely stealing my heart.
Overall, it's an intriguing game with choices that genuinely feel like they have an impact on what follows. Thank you for giving us this experience. <3
I adore Jo so much, and am so glad when they sneak up on people’s adventures. I’m so glad the choices mattered to you— I wanted to build a story where you could change the world.
I loved playing this game. l loved the frustation that it made me feel every single time i died because it made reaching my stay extremely statisfying. Even if I had to restart over 16 times before deciding to stay because the end was really worth it. :)
Thank you for this wonderful game! <3
I have to admit that I didn't fully read the game description before hitting play so that reset genuinely startled me after Jo's last loop. Me AND my character out here going ???????????? LMAO
I think I made it to 10 loops before I finally decided to stay. Maybe 11? I don't think I saw every possible iteration of the timeline (a combination of an unwillingness to be callous and a desire to make sure everyone is if not happy then at the very least alive) but I unlocked a significant portion of the lore, so I'm happy with it.
I surprisingly ended up at the Epilogue with Esteban! Not sure how that happened: one moment we're vandalizing public property and the next we're happily living together. He's so cute... I love me a soldier boy with a sentimental soul. <3
The game is wonderful. It genuinely made me emotional and I ended up falling in love with ALL the characters on all the routes, minor or not. (Alive or not.) I can't imagine what it must feel like for the main character to spend their entire lives in love with someone, creating a home together, and when the comet hits realizing that the only proof that those years ever happened are the memories that you hold. I don't think I'd be able to stay sane, after that. I think that's why I decided to end the loops so quickly: my character was starting to fray at the seams.
Explains Jo at the start, though. I hope they managed to find some peace after their loop. (Or maybe Jo remembers, after a while? In the History route they mention feeling like they've seen things before so...)
I never did end up going south! I stopped to grab a snack and ended up finding a new family and a cat. Something for another loop, perhaps? I did save just before I decided to stay, after all. ;)
Thank you for sharing your story! I love hearing about the paths and choices people take through Stay?. And I love thinking about Jo at the start, and all the things that kid has been through… feeling more and more camaraderie with their echo through the story is one of my favorite things.
I haven't finished a full playthrough yet, but I want to make sure I'm actually understanding the premise first. So, it seems like I continue reliving my life until I solve the puzzle and figure out how to make the world not end. (Haven't done this yet; I've solved some things, but not everything.) But I'm assuming the game doesn't end there, and at that point you figure out how you want your actual life to end in a somewhat more free choice style rather than finding the correct answers? Am I understanding that correctly?
Yes, exactly. Once you solve the “puzzle” you begin to have the option to “stay” at the end of each life— then it’s up to you to decide which life you want to keep.
The whole time I had to restart over and over it made me want to cry a bit. I can't imagine having to try so many times to save the world and seeing the people you love die again and again. Once I got the "stay?" I felt so relieved. it felt like everything I worked for was worth it in the end and I'm glad it was a happy ending. (Esteban ilysm qwq <3) thank you for this wonderful and oddly emotional game!!
24 full runs. i went through 24 iterations of a life led by our protagonist before i finally made one i wanted to stay for. in some lives, i was too jaded to care and too angry at the circumstances that i gave in to callousness. in some, i was curious and went down different paths just because i could. and in other runs, i treated the characters and this story with the greatest care and the reverence they deserve.
wow, i must've spent upwards of 5 hours reading through this story !! this was so incredibly well-written that i found myself genuinely lost in this world you've made and got invested in the lives of these characters. i felt the bone-deep resignation in unsuccessful runs like it was mine; felt hopeless frustration at the repetitions and the seemingly never-ending loop; felt the loneliness under the crushing weight of a world that i had to save even though it shouldn't have been my responsibility. i felt the contentment of finally settling down and giving these characters an ending they deserve. the way the plot is slowly revealed is brilliant. i feel there's still so much of this game that i haven't even touched ! but at some point, you have to stop.
concepts like this are always so interesting when done right, and this is one instance where it's clear that it's been handled with so much skill and love that it's difficult to step away once you've started. this—and you—are beyond brilliant. thank you so much for sharing this with us !! xx
Thank you so much! I loved writing this small world & I've been loving watching others explore it.
Hello Ejadelomax 😀
I discovered your game through your Ao3 account and spent too many hours on it 😀
I love it. The details, the multiple possibilities, the characters etc...
I need some help :
I managed to save the South with Jo and come back to the city a month later. But when I save the South with another character I can't come back nor save Suzette. Are there other paths I didn't find yet ?
And when I choose the magic or combat paths, I can't save Suzette neither 😔
Thank you very much for this game. I spent a lot of qualilty time with it 🙂
There are other paths -- you should be able to save Suzette in the magic or combat majors; and you should be able to save both Suzette and the south. There's a few ways to do this-- I'll let you explore. But let me know if you keep getting stuck!
Sadly, I'm still stucked 😔
If you find out enough about Suzette's research, you'll learn how she does the spell (so ask her lots of questions in the History path & be nice). Then in future lives, you'll be able to find the spell (before she learns it!) and destroy it. Then she'll be okay (for that life), even if you later go south.
Alternatively, befriend Jo & steal the relics & take them south with you. Jo will ask Suzette to help, and this will give Suzette enough of a purpose that she won't have the same breakdown later on. Suzette loves a Cause.
If I got to the lake city twice in a row, there’s a dead end right after the fish.
Thanks for letting me know! I've been trying to fix that bug, but I haven't quite gotten it yet...
I just spent like 5? 6? hours playing this and had to leave a review. Very strong Steins;Gate and Outer Wilds vibes, both of which are games I adore (and that have a similar mechanic, highly recommend to anyone who enjoyed this). I "stayed" 3 times, each subsequent one driven by finding out about other things I could do. The first time, I was immediately drawn to Suzette, I guess I kinda have a thing for the smart girls. Didn't figure out how to prevent the war, but saved the city and ended up with Suzette. Did the entire first playthrough without saving, so I had to reset in order to keep going. Started trying to work out how to save the south, then trying to figure out how to end up with Suzette while also saving the south, and instead fell in love with Myka after spending more time with her (who reminds me of my one true waifu, a certain other experiment-loving genius girl). And so the second time I stayed, I had saved the south with Myka, saved the city, and proceeded to travel the world. After talking to a friend (who had recommended this in the first place) and reading some comments, I learned about Suzette and Tereza and how to get to the school reunion. And so the third and final time I stayed was with Myka, having saved basically the world, and having scones with Suzette. A good life indeed. 10/10, will recommend. Even if it does end up consuming one for an entire afternoon and into the evening. It was well worth it. Loved this, a lot.
Imagine saving the land, hooking up with your dream waifu, and then letting the world die just so your friend does not give up painting.
I found this game and I loved it, so very much! I had a bad day yesterday and this game wiped all of it away, for which I am so thankful! It's beautifully written.
I'm at a point where I basically have most of the ending I wanted, but for the saving the South thing with someone other than Esteban (who I loved as well btw, all the characters are so very vibrant), I tried just taking the relic and staying and I can't seem to find a way to do that? If it's not possible I'm not going to be actually mad, I still love the ending I get.
You can save the south with folks other than Esteban, if that was the question?
This was really beautiful. I love all the characters, but especially Myka!
Thank you so much for making this.
I loved this! I played it the whole evening yesterday, and also today. I do wonder if there's a way to combine saving Suzette with the ending with Esteban & the saving of Veris, the southern lands & the world. It seems to be either the one of the other, and I feel really bad for Suze.
this game left quite the impression on me! i truly left the game on my most perfect ending - i saved suzette from herself, i got to be with esteban (he was my favorite), saved the witch from her curse, diverted the comet and warned the generals about the snowmelt. i would love to play again and see what else i can uncover but i am so in love with the story and i started truly caring about the characters and story. thank you so much for this!
I just got to the end (a end?) only after 10 loops and this was quite the story. I love the mystery and trying to figure out what needed to be done. Also getting to know the characters and befriending them. For the first few loops I would only date Suzette, but once I got to know Myka, I stayed with her. I really liked how not going on a date didn't make it feel like you weren't getting closer with that character. I didn't date a character every loop, only when I felt like it's been 'slow burn' long enough for me.
Great story. I'll have to see if there are other ways to get to the end of this game.
Also! I really like how you can tell different character about the loops and ask them to help with plot points. That was great.
Thanks! Yeah, it was important to me that befriending and romancing a character were both equivalent "win states."
just played for about 2 hours - started with combat and then switched between magic and history for a bit and went back to combat. i always defended jo first, burned the reference docs for suzette, and though i couldn't go for drinks with suzette in the combat and history routes, that was one of my favourite parts. also really loved the way myka reacts when you say it's not a date, and suzette's "i'm...NETWORKING". i've finally ended it on a flooded town but still having protected the world, but i'm gonna read the comments and see if i can retry it with a better result. suzette was probably my favourite character and i just loved seeing her transformation and the way she came into herself after elaia was invaded (when she's yelling at roger!). so so ready to replay it a bunch more times. it's absolutely captivating writing and it makes me think (most of the choices leading to the best outcomes are ones where you take action, and where you listen more, and apathy leads nowhere. it's not always applicable irl, since sometimes your body and mental state control things more, but it's a fair bit of advice to take the chances and opportunities for friends and experiences that you get).
I'm glad you enjoyed it! There's definitely more to explore if you want to... ;)
You can keep retrying in-game, in character. Even once you can stop the comet, you can drop the stone and not "stay," it will take you back to the beginning again with all your same knowledge.
I found this when you mentioned it in your latest ao3 update (neither red nor gold) and have created an account here to tell you that I adore everything about this story so much! It's got such a lovely amount of whimsy and delight in the characters and the magic, underlaid by a very real sense of exhaustion from the main character and the toll this is taking on them. But at the same time, it's not a defeated sort of toll, and the ability to take a few quieter and more light hearted loops (your descriptions of going down to the sea are so evocative, I love them) really make everything worth it.
You said you were interested in hearing the story we all went with, so here's mine: I focussed a lot on the magic / history routes at first and only went through combat later, and the loop I stayed on was the first loop I ended up with Esteban. It just felt right that the interactions with him had all happened for the first time, whereas with the others I already knew so much more about them than they knew about me.
I then went down and read the comments, realised there was more stuff I hadn't found, and reloaded the save to loop again until I'd met the other Mister Pent and gone to the reunion, then one final loop to end up with Esteban again. Thank you so much for creating this, it's absolutely amazing and definitely a story I'll treasure!
Thank you for sharing your story! One of the things that's so fun about game writing is there's all these stories and experiences new to me and unique to the player that get to happen, and I love to hear about them. Esteban is a treasure and I'm glad you liked the sea!
I played this ages ago when I first came across it, played until I could achieve a "perfect" ending (with everything resolved nicely, far as I could tell), and then immediately wished I could play it again. I then recommended it to everyone I could, and my girlfriend and I have spent a lot of time now rehashing other scenarios in this wonderful world you've created with our own characters. I came across this when I was having an especially difficult time and it touched me in a really sincere place, especially because you've managed to fit in so many of the tropes and themes that connect with me so strongly.
This story has occupied so much space in my brain and thank you so, so much for making it. Your writing and the heart that you managed to convey was so wonderful, and I'm really looking forward to when I inevitably decide to return to it again. It was just puzzling enough to make me satisfied when I found the pieces I needed. I felt the calm and the finality of choosing to take a life just to live a little, away from everything else, and the determination upon my return back again. Everyone was so wonderfully charming and every life with someone new felt well-spent.
I figured this media has occupied enough space in my brain and my heart that it was only right I finally come and leave you a little comment! Thanks again for making such a wonderful little story. I'm looking forward to seeing more from you <3