I spend quite a bit of time trying to keep from getting bored, so I play video games. I find that they satisfy my desire to be part of a story. Television is okay, but it’s passive entertainment, as are books, to a degree. Video games let me not just follow a story but guide how the story is told and, in some games, offer multiple endings depending on what choices I make as I play. They also let me see how a particular character might play out or give me new ideas on how to present a characterization.
Case in point: I recently invested in a game that’s in development. It’s in Alpha production, which means it’s playable, but expect the game to respond in unexpected ways. It is very much not finished (it’s barely started), and the players are part of the community that helps the developers iron some of the wrinkles out of the code. Some games make it into Alpha production, but no further, while others go on to become smash hits, like World of Warcraft.
This new game is set in space, it’s not my usual D&D-style hack-n-slash. The only other space game I play (EVE Online) has a play style so different that I got frustrated and almost rage-quit before I got the hang of what I was doing. This new game, called Star Citizen, has been a challenge to get going. It spawned a new idea, and I jotted down a few thoughts that could turn into more than just a vignette.
“I awoke in a strange place. The surface upon which I lay was soft and pliable, but the entire rest of the room was made up of perfectly smooth metal.”First impressions of a new game
This is the initial impression of a new character as she wakes up in an environment that is far, far beyond her experience. She is scared, but not one to give up on trying to figure out what’s going on. I have more notes that I can expand on, and have the start of … something. (Now, if I could figure out how to get to my spaceship, I’d write more.)
I know as writers, we get our ideas from various sources. My brainstorms often start in gaming worlds where I have characters. Eventually, those characters and settings morph into something similar, but different. I can hardly wait to see where this idea goes.
This tangent is part of the saga of the Alterian family as they tell me of their journeys across time and space. While some will find themselves in a medieval setting, others in more modern settings, and still others in a distant future. The sky’s the limit, both figuratively and literally. In the meantime, I’ll learn new games and come up with more ideas.