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Oh, and...

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There's also a second game idea I've been kicking around that I should probably write down before I forget about it. I think it's loosely inspired by a webcomic I once read but I don't remember where/what it was now; it also borrows elements from games like Fable.

The name I've given the idea is "The Cabal." The name refers to a group of characters in some undetermined, shadowy location, a boardroom and surrounding chambers. Each character has the same face, though they all have distinctive appearances, and each one strongly exhibits a single aspect of a person - Confidence, Cowardice, Violence, Ambition, etc. It's the kind of thing where a character's apperance reflects the characteristic they represent.

These characters, and the setting in which they reside, are the components of some kind of political machination. Alliances are formed and broken, power is seized and lost, and the goal of every character simply seems to be to dominate the central table.

However, while the player is frequently shown this location and the events transpiring within, they do not directly control any of the characters within, nor does any gameplay directly take place there. Instead, the player control an ordinary person - let's call him Ego - with the same face as the characters in the room. What does he do? He just goes about his life in whatever way the player sees fit. Attend work, don't attend work, talk to people, jump out of a window, steal a car, etc... it's all up to the player.

What's important is that the characters in the room represent the aspects of Ego's mind, and the actions that the player chooses to undertake in the 'real world' directly affect the political machinations of the Cabal. Talk to the cute girl next door? Love and Confidence gain a bit of power. Beat the crap out of the homeless guy outside? Violence chairs the table. And so on.

The goal of the game is ultimately whatever the player sees fit to make their goal; there is no built-in objective beyond manipulating the Cabal according to the player's wishes.
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Sounds like a potentially interesting concept. One thing I'm not clear on, though, is how the Cabal's political situation affects the player; IMHO just manipulating them "for the hell of it" isn't quite enough of a gameplay mechanic to really motivate players. If Violence does, indeed, rule the Cabal, then what does the player get out of it? There should be some kind of feedback/response system there so that players have a real reason to goof around with the Cabal's procedures.

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Perhaps the state of the Cabal affects the player's chances of doing things successfully - i.e. if they throw a punch at someone they will do more damage if Violence is in control. Makes a fair amount of sense - you need to get 'worked up' before throwing a really strong punch. Same sort of thing with chatting to the girl next door - perhaps the extent to which she favours you will depend upon Confidence and Love's standing. So you get a sort of double-feedback thing going on - you affect the Cabal and the Cabal affects you.

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