My group (me, Iris Fu, and Matt Fay) is creating a superhero game in which the player can choose between three superpowers: super-strength, the power of flight, and invisibility. With the limitations of their ability, the player must navigate one of three different scenarios assigned to them by probability/chance. All three scenarios feature the player (superhero) confronting and trying to defeat a villainous force. Each scenario is written to favor one power, thus limiting success by chance and ability (superpower). Even though certain scenarios are more adventitious for a certain power, the outcome of any run of the game is not as clear as win or lose. For example, the player might be successful in saving the day but still end up in jail; life isn’t black or white, but it’s messy and gray.
In the introduction of Literary Gaming (2014), Ensslin states that literary games are “designed to make players reflect on conventional aspects of games such as fast-paced action, rule-governed kinetic behavior, goal-directedness, and simplistic friend-and-foe binary thought ”(7). Indeed, our game fits within this framework of literary gaming as our game delineates from traditional aspects of fairness. For example, many traditional games start with players on equal level fields; regardless of the race you choose in Skyrim-whether Breton or Argonian- you will get the same quests. In our game, however, players are assigned scenarios that are easier or harder depending on their power. Even beyond the realms of game or narrative, our game asks players to question their experience of life in terms of the choices awarded to them by chance and/or ability. How does privilege affect your circumstance? What abilities or lack thereof affect what you can do or accomplish? How much “luck” do you reward to your current situation in life?
Like many literary games or really games in general, our game is a collaborative effort. Using Rettberg’s definition, each team member is a conscious participator- we all know the restraints, nature, and our role in the project (137). For instance, each of us is writing one scenario that favors one superpower: Iris is doing super-strength, Matt is doing flying, and I am doing invisibility. Even though we each write a scenario, we have to be mindful to balance our stories in terms of length and difficulty with each other’s. Additionally, we have to be mindful not to make our scenarios to similar to each other. One challenge or difficulty of working in a group of three is that we can’t read each other’s minds; we have to continually communicate about how our scenario is evolving. Also, in terms of the division of labor, our method (we all write and code) is inefficient. It delineates from traditional group work that assigns a role to one person, such as one person coding and another writing the story. On the other hand, our method offers a greater variety of game-play and lets each of us participate in storytelling process. If I were to create the game alone, I would not have the time to create 3 scenarios much less have the creativity to ensure that they each represent different points of view.