Recently I experienced narrative games for the first time in a very long time. Armed with a little experience with online narrative games I set out to create my own. While playing several online narrative games I voiced my concerns in regards to the genre and how problematic it can get. I introduced the concept of the educate and engage spectrum to the table and how you want your game to fall somewhere in the middle. Also I explained why being on any one end of the spectrum is problematic, if you lean too much on the educational side things tend to get a bit to boring and players are less engaged as a result. On the other hand if you find yourself on the other end you tend to get no satisfaction out of playing the game, you reach the end and find yourself asking “well, what now? am I done?” I’ve found it’s important to maintain a balance between being factual, engaging and informative. I also found that it is important to set a clear end game and audience for your game.
So as a result I plan on creating a game that targets people in their late teens and early twenties. The topic has to do with substance abuse on some level (how deep I decide to get into it is still unclear). This game draws inspiration from two other games I played recently, Spent and the Depression Quest. In that it has a relatively clear goal and deals with a serious matter that doesn’t get much thought.
In my game I plan on having the player take on the role of a character who’s in his early twenties, the player takes hold of all the dissuasion making in the character’s life using a series of multiple choice questions. Right from the start the player gets to choose whether or not his character gets hook by navigating through social gatherings and dealing with traumatic experiences. As I pointed out previously it’s important to have an end game and so far I’ve come up with three possibilities.
1) You refuse getting sucked in
2) You get sucked in and get help
3) You get sucked in and inevitably die
This is how I see the game playing out.
I am still unclear on a lot of the details but have a general idea on the path I want to take. I am currently thinking of ways to approach the subject but this is what I have so far. I’m using this blog as a checkpoint in my process, I’ve found that sometimes finding words for your ideas helps in forming a clearer picture of what you want to do. Any feedback on the matter would be very useful, tell me what do you want to see in this game? Whether you would be interested in playing it at some point (possibly beta testing it) post it in comments below.