Jump to content

Kiz, Met: A story inspired by a City of Heroes 'Play-Dream'


Recommended Posts

Play-Dream: an emergent narrative imagined by way of unintended interactions or consequences in a video game that go beyond any explicit lore or scripted events developers have included in their game.


Going all the way back to early Might and Magic games (the ones with random map generation, mind you), X-Com, Civilization, and more, I've often found myself imagining causal relationships between disconnected events or game systems. All the flavor, suggestion, and style of those games frequently provoked my imagination to create my own narrative that went beyond (or even in the face of) scripted events.


While RPGs do seem like the most natural place for such imagined meta-stories, I find that the specificity of character, plot, and setting often preclude creativity. Most often, it is strategy games with procedurally generated maps, factions, and events that offer up the most satisfying Play-Dreams for me, so City of Heroes surprised me by planting a tiny seed that I grew into a short story.


Playing Kismet (a Kinetic Melee/Energy Aura Scrapper), I'd noticed that Energy Cloak (like Cloak of Darkness, Steamy Mist, Shadowfall, etc) allowed for fighting enemies from one spawn VERY close to another spawn without alerting any of the enemies in the second spawn. Setting the team-size to 5 in a warehouse map happened to create two all-minion spawns that were nearly on top of one another. After clearing most of the enemies, I realized that there was one minion left standing to the side, faced away, who had somehow neither heard nor seen ANYTHING.


In a bit of RPing, I decided that Kismet would merrily skip past that one lucky survivor, leaving him alone in a field of the fallen to try and explain to his superiors just what had happened.


That tiny, likely unintended (or at least entirely unscripted), moment stayed with me and grew into this story:


DISCLAIMER: I am NOT looking for any kind of critique on the story or the writing. Seriously: no.


What I am curious about is what experiences other people have had with odd interactions of game elements or procedural events coming together to create narratives that fall outside anything the game developers could have intended? What's provoked your imagination that happened between the frames of our comic book game? Has anyone else been moved to write a story of their own?

Edited by Sairvell
Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Create New...