Sunday, June 14, 2015

This game gave me a ton of new design ideas


A fortnight ago, I played Ross Cowman's wonder-filled map-game Fall of Magic. In it, a group of travellers cross kingdoms and oceans to discover why magic is leaving the world. In play, our game felt like a Rankin-Bass animated film with Bright Eyes as the soundtrack. We only got 2/3rds of the way through our story of a giant, a raven martyr, a tired hero, and a kin-slayer with a hand ruined by magic.

It will probably be one of the great unfinished games in my life.

Yesterday I (re-)discovered that Jackson Tegu had written Fall of Electricity: The Return of Grunge. It uses the same moving-across-a-map technique to explore the lives of a rock band on a surreal tour through America.


That combines some of my favourite things:
  • Fall of Magic
  • the grunge scene
  • surrealism
  • road trips and tours
Just looking at its characters and the map's finishing point, I immediately want to play it.

But more than that, now that I've seen Fall of Magic, Life on Mars, and Fall of Electricity, I think I understand the potential of this format. A few ideas have already leapt at me, particularly:
  • using the structure to create a choose your own adventure, potentially with plot loops in it
  • a format for the Kafka game I've been trying to write for years - along with a way to involve some online interaction.
Fall of Electricity is available as a bonus game when you buy Fall of Electricity's album 'The Grunge Era' on Bandcamp: https://fallofelectricity.bandcamp.com/

Are there any games that have inspired you to start designing in a new direction?