Bar Banter: Romantic Comedy The Game
ÂI can already see people grabbing their pitchforks to try and do harm to me. Why do we want more “Casuals” in the gaming sector, but hear me out before you make any threats! The video game industry is a relatively young industry even with that for the past 30 years or so, games have kind of played it safe with their audience. They for the most part cater to a male audience between the age of let’s say 13-30 roughly. And while there has been some leeway in that with games such as Tetris, Guitar Hero and Wii Sports, for the most part video games remain a boys’ club.
What I plan to present today isn’t a ground-breaking endeavor, but would be something that isn’t often done in the video game industry. Creating a romance-centric game.
As I said before, the romantic genre, especially rom-coms, aren’t new grounds in the realm of movies or television, but they aren’t often done in video games. There are games of course that have romantic subplots, and there are even games like the Mass Effect series, which allows you to actual grow and develop a relationship, but even then its such a minor part of the game. What I am suggesting is taking the elements of a romantic comedy or anything really and making it the center point of a video game.
The first question that comes to mind is how do you make that work? Luckily for me, I’m not a game developer so I don’t have to answer that question though I will use some ideas that I’ve experienced in gaming before.
Epic Mickey is the most recent example I could think of, where there was a mission in the game where you aided a pirate in winning the heart of the girl he liked. The quest starts off with you finding out that he has a crush on the cow (not an insult!), and then getting to know her likes and dislikes. You see the pirate knows that she will either enjoy ice cream or flower, but not both, and if you get her the wrong thing you spoil the entire relationship. So you take hints and clues offered by the female and based on that you pick the item she desires. In this case, it was flowers so then you go into town and find someone who can make you a prettyÂ bouquet. Of course, this being a video games things aren’t that simple as you need to track down just the right flowers to make them pretty.
Its a simple concept really, but expanded on, offers a great avenue to make an interactive experience. Three parts to any mission, recon (can vary from talking to friends and neighbors to simply talking to your interest), resource gathering (finding a place that provides the service, gaining money for a dinner, buying movie tickets, whatever) and execution (how well you do on the date.)
The other problem, I guess would be time. Honestly, how do you craft an 10-12 hour game out of dating someone? And the honest answer is you don’t. You make the game replayable by allowing forÂ multipleÂ routes to the relationship. Not all of them will end in success, but that’s the nature of the beast in real-life. Perhaps, randomize the other party’s traits (there’s no reason this game couldn’t include you trying to date a man, or even gay andÂ lesbianÂ couples) at the start of the game, and make the gamer discover their own path and see how it works out.
Now in order to do this, it probably won’t be cheap. I expect something akin to the LA Noire facial animations engine. I mean part of any human to human interaction is being able to read body language which is doubly true when trying to learn about someone you potentially want to do/are dating. And of course really voice acting would be theÂ clincherÂ for this entire package.
Seems like I did have SOME ideas on how this game could be made, but theÂ bottom-lineÂ is this, if the gaming industry wants to remain healthy and grow, it will need to cater to wider demographics in all facet of the industry. There’s no reason that a bulk of console market is catered to the 18-35 year old male, while things like smart phones and Facebook has shown there’s a world of untapped potential just waiting for the right invitation. I won’t promise success, but it is a start.