30 January 2015

Digital Games: Week 18

This week has mainly centered around the Global Game Jam, an event that I talked about in detail here.

In theory we ran through the first and second media age and spent a good while questioning what is time, stating that the virtual is real and everyone carries their own reality. It is a very theory heavy class and Ashley promised us the next ones won't be so head-achy however the second media age is an area that interests me quite a bit and I'm hoping to set aside time to read more on the subject.

The game a week continues and this time we had to create an economic system. Maybe it was the fact I had traveled around eastern Europe all spring and summer, or the fact that I have been playing a lot of This War of Mine recently, but as Justin presented the challenge, my mind instantly traveled to a soviet area. The goal then is not to amass a huge wealth but to survive in a world where an unstable political background might affect weather or not you can buy bread the next day.

My first instinct was to talk to friends who's parents had lived through those times and they supplied with very interesting stories, both bitter and funny. A lot of inside jokes made it into the game, from the cabbages, to the shadow characters, the names of the counties, to the very expensive bananas, I originally wanted to vaguely follow the history of Czechoslovakia which had a very interesting good first years, called the kind face of communism, up to the Prague spring in 68. Mechanically, it could translate quite well into an easy start of game before hitting 1968 where things would get more difficult. But a lack of time meant condensing it into something completely different.

The most fun part was drawing the world and giving the characters life. A few students on the course from ex-soviet countries all smiled at the buildings and commented how their neighborhood back home looks just like that. (Comments that made me clench my fists in silent jubilation.) This game is by far the one with the most of my soul in it to date and also the first game I've designed and created completely on my own. I really would like to fix bugs and polish it into a more complete piece.

Play the game here.

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