March 25th, 2004

[fades] browns and reds

game ideas that I will probably never develop, part 12 in a series--

I've noticed a recent gaming trend toward esoteric "concept" games--it's not a big trend, but games that have characters like Neil Gaimen's Endless, games based on childhood terrors, rather than simple plot structures.

Here's a thought, which might be half-baked, but whatchagonna do.

A game where the principle characters are narrative structures--plot tropes given sentience.

So, character "races" might be "Dragons", forces interested in the Heroic Quest, the Champion story in its many forms. "Harlequins," forces based on the endless variations of the romance story. And so on.

Each of these would draw their power from reiterating their central mythic structure. The concept of the Romance, True Love, et cetera, grows with each person that, after trials and tribulations, finally gets hitched (or at least settles down into a long-term partnership with a person of the appropriate gender and orientation). And the more people that believe that True Love *Can* Conquer All, the more people willing to go along with the story, and the force that feeds the Harlequin species is stronger.

So, each of these forces of narrative causality would want to guide people to become champions, to believe in true love, or to accept the moving job that's beyond their capacity, and invite their bumbling friends along. They could take human form to manipulate the world directly, but have a non-focused "omniscient narrator" form to help steer events.

The enemy? The Postmodern Myth, the existentialist view that there is no rhyme or reason to human life, that meaning exists only where you can find it, and that Harry can meet Sally, dump her, and have a series of meaningless relationships that leave him broken and alone at the end of his life.

So, active conflict, transcosmic characters that have a desperate need to work with human beings. I'm pleased with this idea.