The sidekick is a role that a character might play within a work of interactive fiction. The NPC as sidekick can be recognized by his subservient relationship to the PC and the sidekick's habit of staying with the PC; either the sidekick continually follows the PC or the PC carries the sidekick. Together, the PC and his sidekick form a small team.
The inanimate analogy of a sidekick is a multipurpose tool. The player might think of the sidekick to be part of her inventory, and expect that the sidekick's attributes and talents could be used to help solve some of the game's puzzles. Sidekicks are generally very amiable with the PC and are often more willing to follow the PC's orders than other NPCs.
Sidekicks typically have multiple uses within a game.
- Sidekicks provide impromptu commentary which may contain backstory information, suggestions, hints, direction, humor, or praise.
- Sidekicks may be more resilient or lucky than the PC and be able to take greater risks.
- Small sidekicks might be able to squeeze through tight openings, or be thrown to reach out of reach objects.
- Sidekicks may have a specialized talent that is useful in limited situations.
- Sidekicks can carry out actions that are unfair to expect the player to think of.
- Sidekicks can effectively let the player character be in two places at once, with the sidekick in a second location as the PC's proxy.
Examples of Sidekicks
- Floyd in Planetfall (Steve Meretzky; publisher: Infocom; 1983; Z-code).
- Tip in Seastalker (Stu Galley and Jim Lawrence; publisher: Infocom; 1984; Z-code).
- Trent or Tiffany in Leather Goddesses of Phobos (Steve Meretzky; publisher: Infocom; 1986; Z-code).
- Leo the Lemming in Phlegm (Jason Dyer as "Adjacent Drooler"; 1996; Z-code).
- Ralph in Flat Feet (Joel Ray Holveck; 2005; Z-code).
- The goblin in Adventurer's Consumer Guide (Øyvind Thorsby; 2007; Glulx).
- Trig in The Lost Islands of Alabaz (Michael Gentry; 2011; Glulx).
Notably unusual examples of sidekicks:
- Dr. Watson in Sherlock: The Riddle of the Crown Jewels (Bob Bates; publisher: Infocom; Z-code). Watson is the PC and Sherlock Holmes is an NPC, but Watson is still the sidekick. Future Boy! (Kent Tessman; 2004; Hugo) has a similar setup.
- The conflict between the two PCs of Max Blaster and Doris de Lightning (Dan Shiovitz and Emily Short; 2003; TADS 3) is mostly to do with which is the hero and which the sidekick.