I was talking with Liam last night about a bunch of thematic stuff in regards to Addict; naturally my computer crashed in the night, I did not have the foresight to save the log, and I barely remember the conversation because it occured at 1 AM. What I do remember seems pretty important, though, so I’ll post about it, and I’m sure everything else will show up in bits and pieces later.
I’ve got an important question, and please, if you’ve been stopping by here much at all, I would love if you’d answer it for me: to you, what do you see this game as being about?
Liam doesn’t like the rules which tie the characters together socially and emotionally, because he believes this game is just as affective if it’s about four drunks dying alone. I was surprised, because– as I keep saying– this is not supposed to be a game specifically about substance abuse. It’s a game about recovering from dysfunction and obsession, whatever those dysfunctions or obsessions are. The game in my mind was centered around dysfunctional relationships– because your relationship with your Obsession is so dysfunctional, ALL of your relationships become dysfunctional. I am starting to get the feeling that this is not what my game does well.
I’ve spent a lot of time and energy trying to appropriately model the experience of addiction and recovery, which can be a rewarding narrative on its own; since addiction is such an intensely nuanced thing, I don’t know that there’s room in the system for even more relationship-based mechanics than I’ve got, or how much that would muddy the experience. And, I mean, addiction is essentially a relationship between the addict and the obsession; everything else really is incidental. So if this really is where this game is headed, I can accept that.
I’m thinking that once I’ve got Addict in a marginally workable, first-draft-completion kind of form, I’m going to take the lessons I learned here and write a game that really focuses on quirky, broken dynamics between emotionally close people, within a family or close group of friends. Probably with a lighter tone, because man, addiction is Sadville USA, population: one.
Maybe someday I’ll write a game about happy, functional people having healthy relationships and, I don’t know, hugging puppies and planting flowers. We’ll see.