Console dreams

by pinstripeowl

Sometimes, I dream video games.

I play them fully immersed, aware of game principles yet conscious within the game avatar who, typically, is a little like me, a little like Link. The worlds have a Nintendo-esque feel to them, sometimes, owing to both Zelda and a bit to Banjo Kazooie, I’m sure. Sometimes I see through the character, sometimes I can take in the whole scene, craning my eyes as the camera does its best to make me die or miss a handy if easily overlooked plot point. Sometimes I die, respawn, spend a whole night trying to get past a dungeon. Not necessarily successfully.

There are puzzles I wake up from wishing for a pen and pads of paper, to trace out their intricacies. Other times I get lost mapping out large caverns of water complete with an almost insurmountable enemy to evade, my paper renderings never able to fully render the dimensions, or the sheer, terrifying drop from the ledge.

I find these dreams interesting: how are they differentiated from the more standard Indiana Jones-esque fantasy? The roving perspective, the concept of task/quest, the multiple lives – Why are these in any way relevant to talk about here? Well, mainly because they’re food for thought for gamification of narration, which is just another way of saying, accessing and choosing a path from a plurality of perspective. (Plurality for all!)

I’m currently working on a beta for a game that uses the Story Nexus platform. The Failbetter team are doing something rather fab at letting the engine loose on the world and the possibilities for new ways of experiencing stories are rather exciting. My world is based on Jean Arp’s Sculpture à être perdue dans la forêt, because it’s beautiful in name, concept and execution. If successful, the player will experience a forest through its fallen leaves. But we’ll see. I’ve much to be getting on with!

Jean Arp - Sculpture to be lost in a forest

Jean Arp – Sculpture to be Lost in a Forest, 1932