EVERYTHING IN HALF (working)
Video game proposal
Escapism can be applied to any activity that we partake in daily. We think of escapism as a negative concept: something that only the lonely do, the unhappy. While this is true to a certain extent, happiness is a relative concept, maybe even an imagined one. What we think will make us happy is always out of reach, and somehow we convince ourselves to constantly strive for this created notion. Those who partake in blatant escapism (fantasy role-playing, game play, online interactive social networking) are somehow belittled, or looked down upon for not conforming to social rules and regulations. Those are the ones we call unhappy, or lonely, to make up for our own struggle with the happiness complex.
Escapism through video games has been an extremely popular platform for the past thirty years. Nerds, geeks, losers, loners, and outcasts alike all flocked to this budding medium in the early eighties, attracted by the control of another life; something that they could live through that wasn’t their own. Whether is be fighting rebel spaceships, or saving an 8-bit princess from a giant gorilla, you were able to become someone else, and live through someone else’s (fictional) life that was most certainly better than yours.
This form of escapism is what I find most fascinating, the act of replacing your own life with another. This differs from other forms of escapism, such as seeking improvement towards utopian ideals, and is the most accessible to today’s public. I wanted to create a game that critiques this form of escapism, albeit blatantly but relatable. I want to comment on this form of escapism through a platform people use to escape.
This game will be about the player, through the use on an androgynous main character. The character is the typical aforementioned unhappy person who seeks escapism, although they prefer to read scientific magazines. Having read a particular issue one day, the character reads about a scientist who is as apparently lonely as they are, and has maybe created a cure. The character seeks out this scientist, and stumbles into his seemingly abandoned laboratory. This is where our player begins playtime. They will explore the laboratory searching for items (some that will be added to their inventory, some will not). Most of the objects in the laboratory (tables, microscopes, lamps) have somehow mysteriously come to be a half of themselves. At a certain point the player will come across a machine that is switched on, and is then approached by the scientist who exclaims that the machine isn’t ready to be activated yet and proceeds to escape through a door. When the player follows him, he is not there, but instead behind the door is a black hole. The player falls in and is transported into another dimension. The medium (or look/artwork) of the game changes as you fall through this vortex. The new level is now stagnant, but you are able to walk around and explore this new space. Again, every object is somehow disrupted, or in half. The same rules apply, wherein you search the space for scientific objects, and once as a certain number is obtained, a new black hole appears. As you transfer through the new black hole, you transfer into a new reality (which also has a different look/medium to it). The ending is still a mystery to me, something I need to figure out.
My ideal game would exist on the Internet (I believe it is going to be built with flash) so that it is accessible to everyone. For the purposes of finishing a game by mid-May, it is going to be a turn based game, wherein the visuals of the game are stagnant, and they react according to where the user clicks on the screen. I would also like to try to manifest this in a live action interactive form, using some sort of motion censor system. The idea behind the project lies in the fact that there is a constant struggle to find happiness, through observing dissatisfaction with ones current reality. Though this act has proven frivolous is social terms (the rise and fall of the modern cult, religion), it is a constant struggle for modern society. Is escapism frivolous, or necessary? Do video games keep us sane? Why is there the social pushback towards users of this specific form of escapism? Why is there a constant search for happiness? These are themes I hope to work through with this simple game.