We have a guest post today. This guest post is brought to you by my having learned colleagues who watch Public Information Films. Because they - enjoy seeing children perish in unlikely circumstances? Don't ask me.
Anyway, I'll now hand you over to Reecey.
Five Things That Would Make Good Video Games.
(Guest post by Reecey of Nine Over Five.)
Sometimes I start thinking about the kind of things that would make great video games. This is a side effect of reading Cracked, as well as the large amounts of missing time and disorientation. It’s a lot like being abducted by aliens in that respect.
So here are five things that I think would make great video games.
The Day of the Triffids.
Basically, this one would be your standard zombie survival game, except that you’re one of the few people that can see, pretty much nothing works in the world at all and instead of zombies there are giant monster plants that shoot huge spikes at you and always seem to know where your eyes are.
Now, I’ve not read the book myself, but my sister assures me that the triffids are terrifying.
They’re huge, venomous, carnivorous plants who may or may not have been bio-engineered in the USSR and can communicate with each other and move.
Oh yes, giant, evil, and possibly communist, plants who want your blood.
Combine this with the fact that most people seem to have gone blind and there are people who are willing to chain the sighted to the blind, and it just gets worse.
Also, the most terrifying aspect of this all is the setting.
Imagine different levels of difficulty depending on what gender and ethnic group you’ve picked.
Social commentary through game mechanics. Awesome.
There are different directions you can take this in, I think I’d want a more actiony game, but if Telltale Games got their hands on it, I’d be happy and my sister would be less likely to strangle me.
Now, this one doesn’t have any actual Apaches in it.
Sorry about that, but let me give you a quick explanation of why (although if you know what I’m referring to, you don’t need it).
Back in the 1970s, small British children loved playing Cowboys and Indians. (Of course they didn’t mean actual Indians, that would just be two groups of very confused people and some jalebi for nibbles.)
I don’t know why! I grew up in the Nineties, this shit was well over by the time I was a lass.
But if you watch anything about childhood in the Seventies you’ll note all the Native American paraphernalia the kids had and the fact golliwogs were still apparently a thing.
This didn’t appear to carry over to the Eighties, for what it’s worth.
Now, the reason this is at all relevant is because Apaches was a Public Information Film shown to small children about a group of other small children who played Cowboys and Indians on a farm and all died horribly.
I want a survival horror game about a bunch of small children from the Seventies dying horribly in totally inappropriate outfits.
You’re on a farm with some mates, you start playing Cowboys and Indians, one of your mates dies and then from that point on the rest of your friends start dying too in a way not totally dissimilar to the actual Apaches PIF, but with more of a supernatural bent to it.
Your mission will be to try and not die and to stop your friends dying, but the malicious spirit of a child wants to play with you and if the film Apaches has taught us anything it’s that practically everything on a farm can kill you.
Three words: American McGee’s Alice.
Okay, I don’t want a platformer. Something more like an action adventure game with a strong lean towards the ‘adventure’ part of that equation would be perfect.
Honestly, when it comes to Labyrinth, I work on the principle that it’s all taking place in Sarah’s head (a la Alice in Wonderland). It is clearly an allegory for growing up.
She quotes a god damn book about this exact situation both at the beginning of the film and during the climax for crying out loud.
Whether or not Jareth actually exists and really steals babies is almost totally irrelevant to the fact that it’s so painfully about growing that I’m frankly shocked that it’s apparently slipped past some people’s notice.
She starts the movie as a whiny teenage girl who is convinced that she’s a special snowflake and her stepmother has brainwashed her father and they’re both out to ruin her life.
Which, frankly, I don’t blame her for. Being a teenage girl is hard, especially when you have a dead mother and a baby half-brother who is diverting attention from you.
Also when your parents expect you to babysit for them. Parents need to stop doing this, it is a dick move. I think most teenage girls who have been expected to babysit have felt like Cinderella at some point or another.
By the end of the movie, she’s largely learned that you’ve got to grow up and take responsibility, but that doesn’t mean having to sacrifice who you are.
Also that men like Jareth may be sexy, but they’re also massive dicks.
I don’t think we get that message quite enough in video games.
The Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water.
I’m imagining another survival horror game here, where you’re in a small English village or town in somewhere like the Lake District and it’s very, very rainy and there are pools of water everywhere and your only hope of escaping the town is to complete some set of objectives for a man named Doctor Foster (thematic, yay) and you have to make sure you don’t drown to death.
I get the feeling that you could do very well making survival horror games where groups of small children get picked off one by one based on Public Information Films from the Seventies.
Also, man, this guy is cool. If he’s still alive, get that voice actor in. It would be awesome.
Speaking of groups of small children being picked off in Public Information Films from the Seventies…
The Finishing Line.
This wouldn’t just make a great video game, you could turn it into a movie, a TV series, a novel, virtually anything because the premise is pretty damn strong.
In the Public Information Film itself, the idea is that a little boy is imagining various dangerous activities as school sports day events.
In an adaptation, you’d have to strip the framing device and instead have a dystopian world where children are killed routinely.
Now, this could easily end up being like Battle Royale, where the point is just to kill teenagers for the sake of placating a terrified public, or like The Hunger Games, where the point is for the Capitol to flex its power and entertain its small and uber privileged population.
However, instead of that, why not a hyper competitive society of Randian dicks?
You could have parents pushing their kids into this shit because they think it’s good for them and will teach them about the world and that they did it when they were kids and they turned out great. Besides, all the greatest people are those who did well in these games.
Or, basically, they’re pushing their children past the point of logic and safety for the sake of being able to brag about their achievements to other parents.
Sacrificing children for the sake of adults, only in a way that isn’t intended to end with death.
It’s closer to what actually happens in real life, because like the unreasonable expectations of real parents, this can lead to lifelong suffering and has the bonus effect of normalising awful parenting so that they choose to do it to their own children later down the line.
So, what kind of game would this be?
Again, it would probably be best as a Telltale Games game. While there is a lot of action in it, most of the drama would come from getting to know other characters and making decisions about training partners and team mates.
Like The Walking Dead or a hypothetical Day of the Triffids game, you’re in an awful situation outside of your control and the real drama comes from the interaction between the individuals themselves rather than the situation that they’re in.
Although, fighting venomous, carnivorous, communist plants would be super cool.