19 11 2007

Nov. 21st edit: I just started reading Shooting the Moon today, and a lot of the ideas I had for Created— the obstacle stuff especially– already exist in Emily’s game, and are awesome and elegant. I think that, should I finish Created, it will be a really odd hack of StM. (I should find out if Emily will mind.)

So these are the notes I wrote up during my four-hour layover in Cincinatti. I realize that two-player relationship games have been covered pretty thoroughly, but this is kind of approaching self-realization through the back door of interpersonal interaction, I guess. The point of the game is to discover who your character is through what your character wants. And to demonstrate an important concept: just because it’s meant to be, doesn’t mean you can’t screw it up.

This is super rough and missing a bunch of things even in what’s already been written, so bear with me.


“I dreamt you
I drew you
Long before I thought that I might never find you
I chased you
I traced you
And held your picture up into the light”

-Mike Errico, “Ever Since”

The characters in Created meet under miraculous circumstances; one character makes something which affects the other, and brings both together. Decide what these circumstances are, and what the object is. Here are some examples:

  • An artist paints a series of pictures of a woman without reference, just from his imagination. During his exhibition, a patron asks him how long her roommate has been posing for him. The artist explains the paintings were done without a model. The patron offers to introduce the two.
  • A man happens to be in a bar one night while a no-name musician is passing through on a small road-trip tour of the country. One of the songs is so heartwrenchingly beautiful that he can’t stop thinking about it for weeks. Despite her lack of fame (and her resulting obscurity), the man is determined to find her and let her know how she touched his life.
  • A woman buys a handmade rocking chair from a flea market; the chair is lovely and comfortable and comforting, and signed with a small carved symbol. This chair becmes part of the woman’s nightly ritual, and as she becomes more enamored with it, she becomes more curious about the carpenter. She goes back to the flea market and tells the seller that she wants to buy more things by that artist; the seller has no idea where the chair came from originally, but gives the number of his supplier. She follows the trail until she finds the carpenter.

Character Creation

Each person has a paper doll; there are six places on which clothing can be attached to the doll, and twelve articles of clothing; two per slot. Each piece of clothing represents a different quality. Each person takes turns choosing an article of clothing; the other person gets what is left. Choose what your character longs for, not what your character is. Choosing goes in this order:

  • Feet: down to earth vs. in the clouds
  • Legs: adventure vs. home
  • Hands: building vs. touching
  • Arms: embracing vs. striking
  • Chest: armor vs. vulnerability
  • Mask: wit vs. beauty

The doll you have is, in fact, the other player’s character.

“I looked up at your window
Hand out as if to touch you
You used to be so perfect
Why did I ever meet you”

-Lucky Boys Confusion, “South Union”

Now you get to decide a conflict. Each player comes up with a reason why their character should not get involved with the other. Maybe their character is moving in two weeks, or is already involved with someone, or has taken a vow of chastity, or comes from a wildly different social class or culture. Each character should bring their own conflict to the table; obviously the conflicts are problematic for both characters, but the one you choose is the one most important for you.

Finally, on a small slip of paper, write down the one thing your character wants most from the other: not love or devotion, but a specific sign of or sacrifice for that love or devotion. It can be informed by the other character’s conflict and traits; it should not be something easy.

Play is staged in six scenes; each scene involves struggling with and trying to solve the relationship conflicts while discovering the differences between the two characters. The scene order is: mask, chest, arms, hands, legs, feet. There will be interesting mechanics and more stuff talking about scene framing, and at the end you figure out if what you thought you wanted was, in fact, accurate; sometimes the relationships we learn the most from are the ones that show us that we don’t always know what we want at all.




One response

7 05 2008
Who I wish you were « Dissolute Games

[…] I wish you were So I had a breakthrough on my paper-doll Pygmalion game, Created, yesterday at work. Everything in that post still stands, pretty […]

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