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A story in the details

I am fascinated by a game series called Five Nights at Freddy's. For those of you who don't know, this is a series of indie survival horror games where, basically, you must keep a bunch of murderous Chuck-E-Cheese-style animatronics from catching and killing you. I'm not really a fan of that kind of gameplay, I find it too stressful, but the underlying backstory of the games, seeded very subtly in environmental details, clues in off-hand remarks, and the subtext of not-explicitly-explained events, is RICH AND FASCINATING. I watched a series of excellent videos by Matpat, who meticulously analyzed all these little details to discern what the story was. He really does some amazing analytical work, and the amount of narrative that's ALMOST ENTIRELY SUBTEXT AND BACKGROUND DETAIL is so amazing. I'm really impressed that the designer could include it all that way, and that this Matpat guy could find it.

It makes me want to design a game where you get the story through subtext and environmental clues. I always like the idea of a game like, say, Gone Home, where you figure things out based on examining the the artifacts of a family's life in their house. I wasn't particularly impressed by the main story in Gone Home-- other than [Spoiler (click to open)]some minimal freshness imparted by the LGBT themes, it was about as basic and predictable as you can get --while being slightly annoyed at how it had a respectful and loving daughter digging through her family's private things for the sake of functional convenience.

Given that, plus my love for period pieces and mysteries, I was imagining a piece-together-the-clues-type game where you played a maid girl in a big house. I like the idea that a maid is allowed in the personal things of a house, so she would have a reason to see intimate effects and secrets, plus a good maid is practically invisible as she goes about her work, so no one would notice her as she investigated. She could realize there's something fishy going on and start piecing together the clues to figure out who committed a crime, or what dark secrets lurked within the house and history. That could be really cool. Maybe I could do it as like a Twine game or something. I hear Twine is easy for novices to work in, since I'm not a programmer, and that might suit the format.

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Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
laurion
Mar. 3rd, 2016 03:13 pm (UTC)
Twine is pretty easy, but has some narrative limitations. I've been told (by others overlapping in this space and in the LARP space) that Inform isn't -too- hard once you get the hang of it, but still may be closer to scripting and programming than you want to get.
breakinglight11
Mar. 8th, 2016 09:01 pm (UTC)
Oh, thanks for the tip! I'll have to explore it.
jducoeur
Mar. 3rd, 2016 03:46 pm (UTC)
Of course, this sort of thing is the heart and soul of the Tabula Rasa games. Folks are sometimes boggled when I say that I wrote 500 pages for Tabula Rasa II, but it requires an *enormous* amount of context to make a game like this function. Much of the effort involved in writing one of these is puzzling out what sort of contextual clues can be laid down to give the players a fair (but not easy) chance of understanding what's going on, as diagetically as possible...
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

About Me

My name is Phoebe. I'm Boston area theater professional and English professor focused in writing, acting, directing, and modeling. I'm known for having lots of interests, lots of opinions about those interests, and a very high estimation of the value thereof. This blog is for talking about whatever's on my mind, from my daily life to my activities to musing on any number of abstract topics. Thanks for taking the time to read.

My productions:

Upcoming Productions:



MRS. HAWKING part 2 and 3


at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016

presented by The Chameleon's Dish

Vivat Regina
by Phoebe Roberts

at 2PM

and

Base Instruments
by Phoebe Roberts

at 6PM

Saturday, May 13th 2017
at 274 Moody Street, Waltham, MA

Other Achievements:

"The Tailor at Loring's End" screenplay
Quarter Finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Competition 2013

"Adonis" screenplay
Top Ten Percent in the Bluecat Screenwriting Contest 2015

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