Saturday, May 23, 2009

Garbage day

Does anyone remember Cosmic Osmo? I think that was my most cherished childhood video game. Something about the atmosphere of the whole thing. Even though it didn't have a goal beyond "explore this weird solar system" I think playing that was the most immersed in a game I can ever remeber being. I'm pretty sure I've seen games since where the whole goal is just to run around and try to find what you can click on, but none of them had the same... just... MASSIVE SCOPE that made Cosmic Osmo what it was.

I was thinking that a point-and-click game of this variety would be fun if a big part of it was devoted to exploring a world like that. Like set up the Suburbs, the Basements, the Sewers, and Factory or something and cram them full of Easter eggs that you could always go back and root around for. The conventional style of point and click adventuring would allow you barter, trick, and deduce your way into more areas to explore in, but there would be plenty going on in the different rooms aside from the standard gammut of tools to pick up. Maybe also make it sort of a choose-your-own-adventure idea, where sometimes you have to choose between opening a path to one area or to another one completely, then having multiple endings available depending on the choices you make.

Originally I was picturing the characters in my head to be something bland and serious business-y. Like, a totally neutral looking model of a human that could be the nameless avatar for people to apply themselves to. Then I started wondering what motivation a totally average Joe-Somebody would have for rooting around people's garbage and going into their houses in the first place and stumped myself. Then as soon as I started giving distinct features and personalities to the main characters, the idea for the story really started to click itself together. It could just be a game about two bag ladies who ventured into the suburbs on the night before the bulk trash pickup because they know that people in suburbs always throw out the best crap. Then all the weird stuff starts to go down, but the creatures bait them on with the promise of treasure at the end if they persevere.

Multiple endings for the game would give completely different ends to the story, like there could be one where the two of them manage to do right by the shadow creatures and are eventually lead to piles of gold and treasure, another where they become the crowned queens of the underground beasties, another where they wake up back in their cardboard alley hut assuming that the previous night's shenanigans were all just a dream, things along those lines.

It's entirely too easy to take contrasting characters like these and give them diametrically opposing personalities as well, but I'm not sure I like the idea of that. I don't think there needs to be "a friendly one and a crabby one" or a "smart on and a dumb one" or even any clear one in charge who cows the other around. I think they work well as two generally well-meaning people, the short bandana-clad one being a little ditzy and gullible while the taller one is more prone to stress and second guessing. So both have flaws that give them some personality, but they're on respectfully equal footing in the friendship.


Yomi said...

Oh, man, this is freaking awesome. D: <3 I love the fluffy "NONE SHALL PASS >:O" monster so damn much.

justin said...

I like your ideas and your skecthes!

Cool stuff, your work always interests me!