Magician Game: Planning Meeting and First PrototypeCollaborative Unit
Adam shares his first ideas in the form of a prototype as we discuss the direction the project is heading in.
Attached is the full recording of the meeting.
We cover multiple ideas on how the game’s mechanics could work and how they would tie into the tribes brief. Starting from the point of potentially creating a new set of mechanics altogether – based on the techniques and practices of magicians – working through brainstorming ideas such as a card game (a card game about magicians, get it?) all the way down to narrative experiences along the lines of games like Virginia.
Adam has then presented his first prototype.
This initial idea works with the concepts set in our first meeting. Adam’s approach to creating games has been heavily inspired by ideas of mechanical deconstruction of storytelling as he focuses his efforts on the idea of what he calls a ‘story story game game’. Adam likes to focus on narratives which themselves focus on narratives, utilising the core mechanics as a primary storytelling device.
This prototype in particular puts the player in a situation in which he is confronted with a simple platforming challenge. Upon completing the challenge, the player receives a generic and unfulfilling congratulatory message and the game ends. Unbeknownst to the player, the game world hides a completely different area that is never accessed and that would have allow the player to observe and interact with the world in a different way. Adam uses this idea of perspective and misdirection while hinting at the overarching themes of stage magic. The question is, are the themes strong enough? Adam’s prototype works with interesting ideas but ultimately fails to work in the message we are trying to convey without unnecessary contrivance. Adam calls this prototype a ‘complete deconstruction of the game world’, which is a fascinating idea but the key to this statement is the word ‘game’. Adam has focused on deconstructing game worlds as opposed to the world of magicians. That said, the idea of using different perspectives to articulate the game’s message is one we kept onboard.
This idea of perspective ends up playing a larger and larger role in our thinking. It works itself into the larger theme of the magician trade being based on techniques like misdirection and sleight of hand which are used to deliberately manipulate the audience’s perspective in order to make tricks work as intended. This resulted in two possible paths we could look into: framing the game from the perspective of the audience as manipulated by the magician. The world as presented to the player is changed and manipulated behind the scenes while the player isn’t looking as the world itself is shrouded in a veil of misdirection. The second option was to present the game through the eyes of a magician, depicting a world in which the player still has agency over his sense of perspective, using it to manipulate this world.
There have been several concerns expressed by Adam, not the least of which is the idea of a ‘perspective puzzle’ game being relatively well-trodden ground. We need to avoid falling into the trap of recreating a game that already exists and for that a simple perspective puzzle gimmick isn’t going to do the trick.
At this stage, the game could evolve into anything and the primary form of engagement could turn out to be any number of things. While we are wary of simple puzzle games and are not holding our breath in terms of being able to innovate within the genre, the idea of perspective can be used in a number of interesting ways, ranging from mechanical to narrative.