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This was so good. I didn't even mind looping through things I've already seen, because I could get through it quickly enough. It really encouraged me to experiment in ways I've never been motivated to do with other IF games. I managed to save the South, end up with Esteban, and save the world, but I didn't manage to save Suzette. I'm going to take a break then try again. And man, the sweetness of that last choice, when the title and the meaning of that single word hits you in the chest. That was pure poetry. Thank you for this game!

The name "Stay?" was one of the first things I knew for certain about this game! I knew that was the question at the heart of it -- which life do you want to stay in? 

It was very well done! Congratulations! 😊

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What I expected going into this was something short and strange. I didn't expect to be wrapped up for hours, not minding as the time passed, trying to get an ending where no-one died and everyone was happy. 

Even if Jo didn't remember their long trial, I'm so glad they got peace in the end.

This was a beautiful game, thank you for making it.

Thank you! I care so much about Jo's peace. 

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ohhhhhh that was deliciously excruciating. 19 loops. it was agonizing, on 18, to finally stop the comet. that choice staring me in the face, knowing i'd chosen to let so many die on that loop for the sake of learning the word. so i did it all again. loved jo, saved suzette, released veris. and then I stayed. I'm gonna be thinking about this game for a long time, and maybe after a while i'll even come back and play it. but not now. now i need to process and maybe cry a bit.

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Oh I'm so glad! That's a good life. 

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this is amazing. thank you so much, earning my happy ending with esteban and my friends, finally happy and safe, was truly something special. 

Oh I'm so glad! A good life 

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Gosh I loved this. Thank you <3

Thank YOU

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This was REALLY amazing, but I swear I was starting to lose my mind on my 30th retry. Thank you so much for making this, I couldn't put it down.

30! Wow!

bruhhhh omg

Thanks bud!

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Wow, this is one of the best text based games I ever played. All the characters are both intriguing and sweet in their own way, I found myself replaying to get to romance them all, *minor spoiler* including the ones outside the main storyline. 
The way the story allows for failures to be just as interesting as success makes it an absolute delight to play through again and again. Thank you for this lovely game!

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Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it

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Is anyone else having trouble getting past Esteban holding the gate in the second timeline? For some reason, the game keeps freezing in that specific spot, no matter what I do. Am I doing something wrong? Is the game supposed to be doing that?

That's a bug I'm working on! Have you tried loading an earlier save & trying again? If that doesn't help, there's something in the game I need to go fix... Thanks for the heads up!

Getting the same glitch, and that fix isn't working, sorry.

Thanks for letting me know! I'll try to get a patch up for you

I absolutely fell in love with this game. I saw it in a tumblr post a few weeks ago and I finally go around to playing it yesterday morning and I have been playing it during every second of my free time since. I think I've played through about 70 lives over 4 restarts and I think I've just about found everything to find. My favourite ending is still the first one I was happy enough with to actually stop the comet and even though I've reached several different endings since it's still one I can't stop thinking about. I healed the land stoped the war, prevented susette's death and stoped the comet, all while befriending everybody I could. I think I need to give the game a rest now but i'll definitely come back in the future to have another play through. Thank you so much for bringing this wonderful world into my life.

I'm so glad you enjoyed exploring this world! 70 lives, wow!

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admittedly a lot of them were almost a repeat of the previous life while I tried to figure out how to get the best endings but it was still great fun. Thank you

I found this game through Tumblr, and it is such a good story. I wish I wrap it up and put it on my bookshelf, even though I know it wouldn't fit exactly right as a book. This game reached into my heart and touched me. 

In the end, I chose combat. The land was healed. The pass was held. I lost her at the ball, but I was the one to lay her to rest, and I made sure to watch her go.

My favorite part of it all was calling the woman up out of the lake.

In the end, I stayed. A more perfect life was possible, one with Suzette still alive, but I was tired, and had lived enough. I married Estaban; I grew old.

I was happy.

Thank you for sharing your life! I'm always so curious about where people choose to "stay"... 

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I found this game through the tags of a friend-of-a-friend's tumblr post, decided to play it on a whim.

It has changed. my. life.

It's so sweet and beautiful, heart-wrenching and so, so joyful simultaneously. I've cried over these characters and their highs and lows. I shared it with my friends after playing an 11-loop run in a few hours. One by one, they've all picked it up, and I've replayed it twice now, after seeing how much I missed out on. I'm in love. We all are. It's all we've been talking about for a week.

Props to you for making such a compelling game. The characters are delightful and complex, and the evolution of the player character's mindset over time is,,, amazing. Tangible. I'm gushing, but it's really amazing how well you constructed a looping story that didn't feel repetitive. Thanks for making this.

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I am overwhelmed. I just made all my housemates read this comment. I'm so glad it was a meaningful story to you. It was my first foray into IF (I'm a novelist by trade) and it was so rewarding to build. The response has been startling and exciting, and your response is really meaningful.

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Ahh I was playing this again and I just got the perfect ending! Managed to fix everything! That was wonderful! I played it like a week ago and got an ending I liked but came back because a) it's a wonderful game and b) I wanted to see if I could get it perfect and I did! 


I love every part of this game. Mostly I love that you can play as a nonbinary person, and that Jo uses they/them pronouns. As an enby myself, that's really important to me. I love all the detail, all the different lives you can live and how much things can change. 

Honestly, I can't imagine how much work went into this but it's amazing and I love it so much. Definitely going to play it again in the future to explore even more options but for now - that was the perfect ending and I am so happy to have found it. :D Thank you so much for making this amazing game.

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I'm so glad! This is my first time doing a game like this and it was such a delight to build and create. I know every nook & cranny so it wasn't clear to me if it would be actually fun to "explore" but I'm so pleased folks are enjoying that part of it especially. 

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This was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I got lost playing it for hours and judging by the comments it seems like I still haven't uncovered all the possibilities so I look forward to revisiting later :) The characters were all hopelessly endearing and it motivated me even more to get everything as "perfect" as I could so they could all be happy in the end. I found you/this game through SHC and I am struck by how beautiful and deep your understanding of characterization is, but not surprised. Each character feels distinct and realistic. The writing is also snappy and engaging, and still felt fun to read even 20+ loops later, which is a thing of beauty. All in all, this is a ridiculously lovely game and I look forward to whatever you create next <3

Thanks so much! I'm glad you had a good time and hope you have fun continuing to explore...

I'm not sure if this is allowed, but I need help! I've done 29 loops, and I still can't figure out how to stop the comet. I've tried so many things, but I think I've been playing for to long and I'm stuck in a box trying to figure it out. I've tried all three paths of study, I've tried running away to the southern lands, I've tried so many paths, I've talked to everybody, but I can't seem to get on the right track to stop the comet. Could someone point me in the right direction? 

I've been playing this game for hours and I love it, but I'm stuck!

OMG nevermind! I found a way! It took me 31 loops, but I got it!

THIS GAME IS AWESOME!!!!

Ha I'm so glad!!!

Spoilers! 

I loved this game! The writing was really good and it never got boring. It took me awhile to figure it all out (I had like 20 loops by the end), but I really loved all the lives! I especially loved the ending I chose where I got together with Jo (my favorite character ngl), had the university reunion, Suzette married Teresa, the South was  saved, and I was friends with everyone else! My favorite class was probably History just because I loved Jo and Suzette so much! I also have a soft spot for Esteban! Thank you so much for writing such a good story where I connected with so many characters!

Thank you! I'm so glad you had fun and the repetitive lives stayed engaging. Jo is my slightly biased fave as well, so I'm glad you loved them too ;) 

I love Jo too! I've come back to play and replay this game so many times, but Jo is always my endgame, my curly-haired partner.

Spoilers!

I love this game! It took me a few short runs to get the good ending, and a few more to get the best ending [imo, healing the south, having the university reunion and being partners with Jo (I imagine the reader having a QPR with them. They are amazing.)] Don't know if there is any better ending, but so relived the south was healed and the MC became friends with every character! Thanks for the game! Btw, would you mind if I wrote my own little fics about this? ^^' I'd definitely give credit!

Fic is great! There's one up on Ao3 already actually so you'll have company :)

I hope to find it!

I found one! (And also wrote one, pls add more to keep the two of us on AO3 company! *laughs*)

 Ok wow this is INCREDIBLE. Slight spoilers in the rest of this comment. It took me 23 loops to get to the end I wanted to have (although I still haven't finished reading fire and blue in the deeps and I might speedrun the game again so I can finish it.) All of the characters are so distinct and so charming, and every loop felt new. I managed to figure out the Phoenix gem around loop 8 but I could not figure out how to stop the war or suzette (Mostly because I got rather attached to Gemma and kept choosing combat.) I am definitely tempted to play again, and I've recommended this to all of my friends. I spent hours playing this and the story is just incredible.

Gemma can be very distracting XD

This is so good! Took me ages to get to an ending, so many loops, but I loved it! It was so fun to play and explore and learn more about the world. It's a wonderful game, it must have taken so much work to make! Thank you for making this amazing game and letting people play it for free.

Thanks, I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

[Spoilers]

It looks like there's a bug going under the lake for the second time, I have tried getting to this point several times while taking similar but slightly diverging options and everytime I end up going under the lake to read the word I get to no more options after reading it.

Here's an example save file slightly before the point where it occurs: https://pastebin.com/2DpERGRe

(I've tried going back to an even earlier save file, but if I make the same decisions to get here, even if they're in slightly different orders, the same thing happens)

Interesting!! I'll check it out. Thanks for the bug ticket!

[Spoilers]

I'm also running into this same bug, every time I attempt to return to the lake for the second time, after having learned the archaic word there. Reloading a previous save and continuing a different route works just fine, but even coming back to the lake on later loops gives me the same problem: the options for when you're attacked simply never appear.

Yes, I'm also encountering a bug when going under the lake for the second time. After passing the fish, the game "freezes" and choices stop appearing. 

I'm uploading a fix tonight that will hopefully solve this issue! Thanks for your patience -- what a end of the year it's been! 

I'm uploading a fix tonight that will hopefully solve this issue! Thanks for your patience -- what a end of the year it's been! 

I'm uploading a fix tonight that will hopefully solve this issue! Thanks for your patience -- what a end of the year it's been! 

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[Vague Spoilers] That was beautiful. My first run I sprinted through trying to figure out how to stop the comet, and managed it in 5 loops. I took loop #6 to put things how I wanted them, and thought that was good enough. But I couldn't help feel like there were more questions I didn't even know about yet, so I started over... there's so much more than I thought! Getting to know everyone, watching my character grow more weary loop after loop. I didn't even discover the South until loop 10 of my second run, and it took until loop 16 before I figured out how to heal it. That's an ending I'm happy with, even if it means I couldn't be a part of anyone's life. I wonder if there's a way to have the best of both worlds? I suspect not, that feels like a choice that needs to be made. But who knows...

AHHH I WAS WRONG THERE IS A WAY

;)

after 21 goes I finally found my happy ending ( that almost made me cry). what surprised me was how much even those lives where I was so frustrated the I just left still help and impacted the story.  Even though I got to a point where I was so very happy with what I stayed as I still found things I could go back and change. all in all a beautiful story that i have spent the last 15 minutes recommending to all my story loving friends. 

I'm so glad!

...How many times have I failed...

Ahaha it's a good game!

Thank you!

Thanks I'm glad! Yeah, playing this game right means a lot of "failing" but it's all part of the journey!

this was so fun! 

Thank you!

This is one of the best experiences I've ever had. If you ever set up a Patreon or Ko-fi please let us know, I would welcome the opportunity to support you!

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Thank you! I do actually -- I have a patreon  under "ejadelomax" & my last posts were even about deconstructing Stay?, if you'd enjoy that! 

 https://www.patreon.com/posts/43948254

I've also got some novels (ebooks free to download) at ejadelomax.com. 

Thanks! Happy to be a patron!

So happy to have you :)

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All these people in the comments, talking about getting their ending in 10 tries, or 15 tries, and then there's me, having reached an ending I want to keep at, oh, 30, I think? I was starting to be scared there wasn't an option to GET what I wanted to get but THERE WAS and the 30 attempts it took me to get there were WORTH IT. 

This was lovely! I am amazed at what you've made an especially at the tiny shifts in narration with consequent runs (e.g. getting the names of the people down south once you've been there once!) 

I think my favourite subquest/puzzle piece was everything around the lake - it was the first stumbling block for me, extra frustrating to get around because it seemed to be in the opposite direction of the people I most wanted to get close to... but then I got invested in the subquest, and the tiny casual options to solve it in every run thereafter felt so GOOD.

I don't want to talk specifics in these comments bc spoilers but aaaa everything ties together so beautifully! Tiny parts of How To Fix This scattered across lifetimes, and it is SO REWARDING to put them together into a life you can let yourself keep living. I had so much fun!

Thanks! It sounds like you played a really thorough and full set of lives, which always delights me. I'm so glad it was enjoyable to you.

played this game over 30 times(over computer and mobile), and am so glad that I finally got the ending that these characters deserved. the prose is delightful, and the details and differences in between cycles are simply delightful. I'll be thinking about this story for a long while yet, thank you so much. : )

I'm so glad, thank you so much!

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this was. so good?? it took me way longer than average run through based on comments below (i took 20 tries, with a few runs ending early because of the no-further-choices error at the burning city) but oh. it was worth it. it was so worth. i even loaded up a save i'd made towards the end so i can get happy endings for other people, not just myself, and - beyond words, it was lovely and soft and beautifully written. thank you for sharing this with us. <3

There's a few different "endings" that all have different average lives to get there -- so you may be more *thorough* as opposed to less fast! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. It started out as a thought experiment, but it really grew a heart & I'm quite happy with it. 

Such a cool game! I found a dead end spot where no choices appear, and unfortunately I didn't see the instruction not to save before closing and restarting until it was too late.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QqcGcmkWCPw_UM4ZF3fx2_sXboIvuADZNxxBcZ-NlJ4/...

Going to have to restart, but looking forward to trying a new path anyway. :)

Ah, I'm sorry! As far as I can tell, those are infra bugs and not in the story code -- but the save reloading (of a *previous* save; don't save at the bug!) does seem to fix most instances

I just read your file & what a dramatic end to hit that bug on... Hoping your next try works out!

Jumping in, I had the exact same bug on the exact same part (although my circumstances were different - I was not there alone). I had a safe save a few screens old, but even that did not help me. I refreshed, reloaded, closed and relaunched a dozen times, still can't make it through this. :/ No matter, this try brought me new info either way, but maybe there's an actual problem there?

Sounds like there might be, thanks! I'll check it out & see if there's a fix to be made.

I'll be on the lookout, because I got stuck again trying to get to this part another way and now I don't know how I can finish if I can't do this bit. :x (apart from that, this is a WONDERFUL game, I am floored by the endless choices, the minute changes that make even the 10th try feel brand new, the kindness you show to your characters, and the wordcraft in general. Amazing achievement, thank you so much for sharing this with us all!)

(the weird thing is, I had gone through this scene in an earlier try, before I knew what to look for, and I was able to continue. So it's not like the node is always a dead-end. I can't figure out what parameter makes it bug now...)

This is an issue we had on my SHC quiz, too. Paths that worked in one play would dead end in another. But refreshing the whole page and then reloading a save prior to that dead end seems to help... The quiz didn't have a save, so we couldn't use that fix there. 

I'm uploading a new fix for this bug tonight! Hoping it works for you, too. 

Aaaah, I'm so happy!! I was too invested in the game to want to start over (i wanted to see this version of me through!), but I was devastated at not being able to "finish". What a joy it'll be to delve back into this. I'm still floored at what you've achieved here, it's mind-boggling in every single aspect. 

I'm uploading a new fix for this bug tonight! Hoping it works for you, too. 

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I thought I reached the best ending and then I discovered that the world was much bigger than I had imagined, and then it happened again, and again, and again, and your writing is as incredibly beautiful and powerful as ever. Also I have no idea how you managed to organize all the tiny little paths and contingencies and changes, it is absolutely spectacular. Thank you for this.

Thank you! It would've been impossible to build (for me at least) in anything other than a system like ink -- it was so fun to play with! I'm glad you found so many of the corners of the world

this was incredible! i managed to stop the comet in 8 runs but i had to play 1 more because i flooded the lake in the 8th run and i didn't want that to be the 'final' ending i stayed in.

Ha yes -- first step, stop the comet. Second step, live a life you actually want to keep on living. 

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Really great game, thanks for this! Well written, extremely engaging, and impressively tight game construction; I hope this isn't your last IF! (Ran across it via https://www.metafilter.com/189418/Will-you-Stay).

Thank you! It was a lot of fun to build & I'm very likely to try another...

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enjoying this a lot, it's very good! hit a spot with no further choices, tried a reload, saved a log
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1r6f9w928gFv4Q2Y8A3OHLGxo4ReHPYyIHvmI9mROGAg/...

I hit the same dead end. Any fixes?

The exact same spot? Leaving the burning city? Or just the same error type?

Thanks for letting me know! 

yes, where it says you see Esteban holding the line and stuff

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I'm about to upload a fix for this! Thanks for alerting me. 

Thank you! I'll take a look and see if I can figure it out. Did you close the entire browser & reopen & re-start the game, or just reload using the in-game button? 

Saved, closed entire browser, opened browser, reloaded

Thanks for the info!! I'll see what I can find on my end, and let you know if I do an update to fix it. Let me know if it happens again. 

Do you have any save files further back? That sometimes fixes things, starting a few steps back, according to some of the friends who tested this. 

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I'm about to upload a fix for this, I hope! Thanks for telling me about it. 

so soooo good. Took me a number of hours to play through to the end and loved every minute of it! So sweet and fun and interesting!

Thank you! I worried the looping would make things repetitive so I tried to seed things in 

i actually really enjoyed the looping. It was fun to keep seeing the little details that sometimes changes like the colors of the bubbles or what happened at the graduation. I think I ended up getting to around 15 loops? And accidentally closed my first time that was up around 10 and reopened in a new browser to replay. 

this was really fun! it took me 14 different 'wake ups' to figure everything out but it was a very fun time throughout! really great job<3

Thank you!

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The ending of this game had me close to tears. I finally got the ending I wanted, with the person I wanted, and it was beautiful. I loved every second, and I already know this is a game I'll be replaying a lot. Thank you for sharing it with us!

I'm so glad! I tried to build it to make replays rewarding so I hope you have good new adventures!

This took me a loong time (14 goes) but it was very satisfying and fulfilling at the end :) totally worth it!

I'm glad, thank you!

I loved this, and I think it's interesting that most of the loops lead to new information or something new to do.

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I wanted to try to keep a sense of forward momentum and change -- I'm glad it came through!

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I think it took me around 12 goes but lemme tell you this was so entertaining and I really wanted to solve everything and get a peaceful ending. Good job!! 😄👍

Thank you, I'm glad you did!

took me nearly 9 goes, i think, but finally got the chance to end it all peacefully. what a wonderful game!

I'm glad, and thanks for playing. 9 is a pretty efficient life count, too, from the feedback I'm getting, so nice job!  

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