Born in the early 90s, some of my earliest gaming experiences were had on my dad’s old PC. Back then, I had concluded that the monitor was in fact the computer, and that a computer was a machine you only played games on. It was on that big, sun faded box where I explored the point-and-click worlds created for children by Humongous Entertainment, quickly moving on to my first FPS titles such as Soldier of Fortune, Unreal Tournament, and one of my favourites, 1999’s South Park (where if you typed in CHEESYPOOFS you activated God Mode.)
Like many of my contemporaries, I would then grow up to play Pokémon, which I enjoyed on my purple Game Boy Colour, and Crash Bandicoot and Spyro on Sony’s PlayStation, all among a plethora of other titles. In fact, one of my fondest memories from my childhood was when dad brought home Pokémon Gold Version for me after work, despite mum’s orders to gift it to me on my birthday. I can still remember sitting on my parent’s bed, keenly examining the cardboard packaging. However, despite my affection for those titles from my youth, none would offer an experience as captivating as Lionhead Studio’s Fable, an open world fantasy RPG released in 2004 for Microsoft’s Xbox.
Headed by the progressive, (and eccentric) video game designer Peter Molyneux, Fable offered (relatively) complete player freedom, an experience that was new to me. Fable allowed the player to play the Hero their way. Not only were you allowed to choose what weapons you could master, most significantly, you were offered a range of choices that would both shape the plot, and the world. For example, if you’ve performed heroic deeds the citizens of Albion will celebrate and fall in love with you, if you’re known to murder innocents the people of Albion will flee from you, and if you’re known to pass gas and overeat the people of Albion will mock you. This communication which existed between the player and the world truly allowed for an immersive experience which many modern games still fail to replicate.
‘… we speak of reconfiguration when a player in this process of exploration is invited to give form to these worlds in an active way… “building the virtual world by selecting objects and actions from a fixed set of system-internal possibilities.”‘ – Joost Raessens, Computer Games as Participatory Media Culture, quoting Marie Ryan.
Thus, inspired by the work of Peter Molyneux, and inspired by the many games I’ve enjoyed and loved over the years, I’ve elected to create an RPG using the fabulous RPG Maker MV Toolkit. I’ll further detail my game in a future post and potential series of videos, however what I can say so far is that the game will be a post apocalyptic fantasy RPG set on Earth. The game will resemble a final fantasy title, however it will also involve some form of system where, similar to Fable, your actions and choices will shape the game world. Development has commenced, and here’s a sneak peak:
Raessens, J. (2005). Computer games as participatory media culture. In J. Raessens & J. Goldstein (Eds.), Handbook of computer game studies (pp. 373-388). Cambridge, MA: MIT
Ryan, M.-L. (2001). Beyond myth and metaphor: The case of narrative in digital media. Game studies. The international Journal of Computer Game Research, 1, 1. http://www.gamestudies.org/0101/ryan/