I’ve had a bit of a lapse in posts on My Childhood on the RS Anthony, mostly due to going to the Queerness in Games convention this weekend, and a general amount of work getting in the way. I’ve been thinking a lot about the game, though, and about some decisions I’ve made about the questions I posed in the last post. Here, I’m going to take those questions and write out some answers or some attempts at answers. This is going to really reflect how I think about design and what I think about in this phase of the process. In the end, I’m going to come up with some deeper questions, which should be addressed by next week.
For a class I am taking, I have to create a concept document explaining the idea I have for the game that I want to make this semester. Since I already know a lot about the game I’m trying to make for the class, I thought I would share it with my few readers. I went back to look at my other posts on The Epic of Sadko, and I realized that they don’t really explain much about the game in concept. This seems as good a time as any to describe it.
So, for the past month I have slowly been working on a game project for a class I am taking. The class is Language and Learning in a Digital Age, and a lot of it is about literacy, or how we as individuals morph and understand language, particularly in this age where language is everywhere and is evolving in new media. That being said, I approached this project a bit in the wrong direction. Today I’m going to try to wind it back to something that fits with the class I am taking.
I have been working on deciding what to do for my research project for a course entitled “Language and Learning in the Digital Age”. Those of you interested in language, literacy and education might note that this has the same title as this book by Dr. James Paul Gee and Dr. Elisabeth Hayes. If you did realize that, then it might interest you to know that Dr. Hayes is the instructor of the course. In this course I have to do a project that falls within the scope of the course (which leaves a lot of wiggle room, when you think about it). The “traditional” research project is a research paper. This is unsurprising, as it is an English course about literacy research, and I am in the quintessential research program: rhetoric and composition. However if anyone knows anything about me, it is that I don’t always do things the “traditional” way (for example, just tonight I asked why no one tries to make new methodologies, rather than use established ones). So instead of the traditional research paper, I am making a game.
So, yesterday I popped Catherine into the 360, pretty much knowing what to expect by playing it. Adult drama with a puzzle game attached. And I played the game for about three hours before I put it away. I might not go back to Catherine for a while, but that’s ok. Three hours was enough for me to really evaluate what I wanted to out of it. This was the nature of the game’s difficulty in relation to its story.
Now, I could go into a rant here about games and story and how story is treated in Raph Koster’s A Theory of Fun (On page 86 Koster even says, “my background is a writer, so this actually pisses me off.”). Instead I want to talk about how Catherine is fun and what it is teaching us. I will needless get back to story and challenge just that which Koster is so pissed off about.