The recruitment process for this project has been such a great learning experience for me. Not only am I essentially perusing a limitless online gallery of beautiful drawings, paintings, computer graphics, and captivating essays and poems from various female artists from all over the world—I am also being asked so many questions! It feels good to be asked detailed questions, to really get me to think about the purposes behind my project, which then further fuels the fire I feel!!
A lovely poet I met through Instagram asked me about the type of game that the characters will inhabit, and I wanted to again publicly share my answer.
The best part of this project is that it doesn’t have a strict “video game genre”. While the package we’re going to send will be aimed at game companies, the actual product (as for now) isn’t going to be a game, but rather a collection of art showing female protagonists with interesting stories, who are also middle-aged or elderly.
What’s also cool is that there really isn’t even a “game genre” anymore, since more and more game companies are starting to incorporate cinematic mechanics, like a “choose your adventure” but for the entire game, a type of experience that looks and feels like a movie!
Games like Detroit: Become Human, Uncharted, Horizon Zero Dawn, Journey, Final Fantasy XV, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild… Just to name a few! There are typical game mechanics in those titles and others, like traveling around, collecting and using items, and fighting, but there’s also many cut scenes and other opportunities for a lot of rich stories and character development.
Games from the 80’s and 90’s understandably had young protagonists—characters tended to move about and battle with insanely youthful energy that developers perhaps thought could be believable only in someone portrayed as a youngster, not to mention most game-playing audiences were children. But times and computer capabilities have changed in such a way that it simply doesn’t make sense to only have young protagonists, especially women, since we also tend to disappear from other types of media as well after around age 40 (lest we get pigeon-holed into the nurturing grandmother role).
Besides, in the context of a game—in other words, a work of fiction—anything is possible, so why NOT have an 80-year-old woman adventuring and fighting with as much vigor and energy as someone less than half her age?
Some of the characters I’ve written can be in typical video game styles, with cartoon-y graphics and comical/magical lives, but others have more realistic stories that call for more realistic art, with a more serious tone and a lot of emotion.
And of course we will have a mix of both, and everything in between! The possibilities are limitless, and it will be an adventure in itself trying to figure out if we could make believable, unique game mechanics from each story and character as well.
The vision I see is that some of the stories we have at the end of April will be fun and spunky, with charm and wit, while others will be dark and somber, filled with pain, but also hope.
I would love for the stories to—as a whole—be inspiring, empowering, and motivational. …But also entertaining!