Sat, 08 May 2004

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prince of persia: the sands of time

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I don't know how this popped into my head today…I have this weird recurring vision of a character riding a comet into the raging fires of the sun (the way that guy rides an atomic bomb in "Dr. Strangelove) and I'm trying to turn it into a story somehow.

I guess I'm just mulling over the basic idea of crafting a story, and the problems of killing off your main character (or one of your main characters.)

In any case, this reminded me of the cute little conceit that the video game Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time has. The idea is that the protagonist is really narrating his adventures (which is where the gameplayer comes in.) Now, despite the protagonist's pretty amazing capabilities of climbing up smooth sheer walls without equipment, and a hang-time that Michael Jordan would envy, every so often, you (the player) will cause the protagonist to splatter across a palace courtyard or get impaled on iron spikes or get dismembered by spinning razor-sharp blades. The gameplay, naturally, ends at that point, but the protagonist then intones, "No, no, no, that's not what happened," and if you choose to continue, you get to restart right before the fatal event occurred.

That's the kind of detail that most game designers just don't pay attention to these days. Once upon a time, there was this idea that video games would basically become interactive literature—a more immersive telling of a particular narrative. Now most games are all about blowing up or eviscerating as many people or misshapen creatures as you can.

13:56:40 8 May 2004 > /computers/games > permalink > 4 comments

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