We’ve had two super spiffy posts about artwork in a row. Let’s talk about writing today. Specifically, the epic mythic fantasy yarn of impossible dreams and wishes we’re weaving — a.k.a. “finding a job you love that pays well.”
(MINOR spoiler territory. I mean, you learn all this in the first fifteen minutes.)
The basic setup for our new visual novel, Arcade Spirits, is that you’re a down-on-your-luck millennial in the year 20XX who’s trying to find a job you don’t hate which will keep you in the black. Okay — realistic so far. But the fantasy element is in the overall theme of the game, which is to take risks, chase your dreams, and find a career that will make you happy… with success and wealth to follow.
This doesn’t quite work in reality. In fact, part of me was a bit worried I’m sending the wrong message with my “chase your dreams and it’ll all work out!” plot. That it’ll read badly, people will reject it, and reject the game in turn because it doesn’t ring true.
Take myself, for instance. One of the best recommendations I’ve heard for creative-type people is NOT to quit your job and try to become a full-time artist / writer / streamer / youtuber / whatever, but to allow yourself to live off a stable income doing something you tolerate in order to fund doing something you love. That’s what I’m doing in not quitting my day job, unlike some of these characters. But does that make me a hypocrite for writing a game-long thesis on aspiration? I don’t know.
Regardless, I decided from day one that Arcade Spirits would aim for an optimistic tone with a zesty side helping of pragmatism. I can’t shoot down the core concept of the entire game just because it’s probably bad life advice.
And really, I WANT to live in a world where you can aspire to something more than tolerably getting by in life. I want to write a story about the world we could live in, even if we don’t really live there. About 20XX, not 2017, or even 2018…
It’s my job to write a convincing case for this life theory, in game form. If my story helps you feel a little better about life, good. And if it’s a hopeless daydream… at least it’s a nice one.