Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Video: Learn to Write in a Game

Can a computer game really teach us about becoming a good writer?  Ichiro Lambe and Ziba Scott, the creators of a of a game called Elegy for a Dead World that recently got funded on Kickstarted hope so.  The pair debuted their game at last year's E3 with a brief introductory walkthrough.

The game contains three post-apocalyptic worlds based on a trio of Romantic poems: Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley, Darkness by Lord Byron, and When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be by John Keats.  In the game,  players explore these worlds like any other platform game, but as they traverse the worlds, they are repeatedly confronted by writing prompts through which they themselves flesh out the backstory of the game.  Players are then encouraged to share their final stories with friends through sites like Blurb and Lulu.

It’s hard to know whether or not Elegy can really improve a person's writing, but KickStarter backers are hoping that the experience may provide more inexperienced writers with the motivation needed to overcome the daunting task of filling those blank page.  After all, the first and often most daunting obstacle faced by a new writer is simply finishing their first story.

Here's the Kickstarter pitch:
You can read other players’ works, browsing through the most-recent, the best-loved, and recently-trending stories. In our gameplay tests so far, players have expressed a variety of thoughts about what happened in each world — the silhouette of what looks like a telescope to one player looks like a rocket ship to another, and a planet-destroying weapon to yet another.

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