(play audio for optimal reading experience)
After brainstorming for a bit during class, our team of three rejected the idea of developing a text-based Sherlock Holmes thriller. It was too cliché according to us, and after much thought, we decided on a game, central plot of which is based in a locked cabin. A player finds himself trapped inside a coffin, his hands handcuffed. Is this too dark for you already? Wait for it! He gets out of the coffin only to find his helpless friends across the transparent walls. The time has already begun, and if he does not act fast enough, his friends are going to die in the weirdest of ways. But what if he turns out to be a self-absorbed person? After a certain period of time, a dragon enters the cabin and eats him alive.
Initially, the player would need to move the coffin to find a key to unlock the handcuffs. Our team is figuring out the details of the story. This is where working collaboratively proves to be an advantage. Each one of us has read or watched related works, such as The Exam and the best-selling thriller And Then There Were None, which has helped us think about our plot right from the onset.
For further motivation, Tong is looking into existing room escape games on various platforms, such as mobile applications and web-based 3D games. Her critical thinking ability is greatly valued, and alongside Julia, she plans to sketch the storyline, set up puzzles, and determine the player’s superpowers, if any. As a Computer Science & Engineering major, my objective is to gauge the feasibility of our design, build a minimum viable product (MVP), and see if advanced features can be incorporated successfully. In addition, Julia will oversee our progress and critique the project as and when appropriate. I think our biggest challenge while working as a team would be finding time to meet, given that all three of us have packed schedules.
So far, our work resonates with the writing process of The Unknown in which the authors “began with a general scenario, but … there was little conscious agreement about how the plot(s) might proceed.” (Rettberg, S., Stories and Storytelling in the Digital Age, pg. 192) Nevertheless, we agree to review each other’s contribution to get a sense of the “context” before proposing any changes. As we look at other similar games, we try to decipher what designers of these games have encoded for their players. In the process, we may draw parallels with how we envision our game to function, and “in turn generate crossover fiction.” (Thomas, B., Harry Potter Fanfiction and Narrative as a Participatory Process, pg. 212) This is especially fascinating to me because we are acting as reviewers and authors (or designers) of texts simultaneously.
Trailer of Exam (2009)