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EdgarVerona

Suggestions for Satirical Game Idea...

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Okay, so during 4e5 I had an idea for a potentially hillarious game... due to various time restrictions, I never got to work on it. But now I'm thinking of doing it dispite 4e5 being long over. What I'm wondering is... is it worth it? Would anyone out there play it (even if it was free) provided that it succeeded in its attempted gameplay? Would you have any suggestions for how it could be improved upon? Here's the idea: The game was going to be called "Schadenfreude". It was set in Germany (Europe), involved the same-named emotion as the title (for Emotion), allowed you to create merchandise during the course of the game (for the Emblems), and focused around you selling that merchandise once you made it (for the Economy). Basically, the goal was for it to be utter and complete satire on Capitalism and the media's seeming desire to profit off of the suffering of others. The goal: you are a businessman, and your objective is to shamelessly exploit tragedies, human suffering, and controversy for personal gain. I envisioned the game as having five modes: 1) "Surveying the Horror". Your character would be watching network television in this scene, and you'd be able to flip through the news channels to select a different natural disaster/conflict/etc... that he wants to go to in order to come up with unique merchandise for his trendy mall store. Picking a particular unfortunat event brings you immediately to step 2... the Photo Shoot. 2) "Photo Shoot". This would be a 2-D side scroller, where instead of hopping on enemies or other side-scrolling acts, you'd be armed with a camera. Your character would move around the scene of a tragedy/catastrophe/political debate/etc... and a rectangle taking up ~1/8 of the screen could be moved around while he moved. Your goal in this phase would be to take pictures of things that are either humorous, tragic, or both... and if nothing of that sort is going on, you try to cause it (using humorous items such as steel-toed boots, mace, rubber bands, plastic fetuses etc...) without drawing the anger of the crowd. You are allotted 5-10 pictures per Photo Shoot session, and each picture taken is saved in memory (along with an internal tally of what the picture consists of). Later, these pictures can be applied to merchandise to give bonuses to merchandise that you sell. For example, a picture of a little girl crying would net you +2 sympathy if it were on a T-Shirt. A picture of a pile of smoldering corpses would net you +5 shock, +5 macabre, and +3 awe. (These attributes come into play in the next two phases) 3) "Merchandise Design". At the end of every Photo Shoot round, you'd be given an MS Paint-like display where you can use standard paint controls (paintbrushes, colored text, spraypaint etc...) along with the pictures you took in the previous "photo shoot" round to create merchandise designs. Depending on the content of the merchandise, it would appeal to different customers during phase 4 while disgusting others. Pictures have inherent bonuses on them due to content, but everything can have values by giving them "intent points". For each design, you'd have some set number of "intent points" to give to anything (let's say 10 for a round number). When you make a text object and place it on the merch design (for a slogan perhaps), you can decide the way that people will percieve the message contained therein by assigning intent points to it in any of the categories (such as the "sympathy", "shock", and "macabre" categories previously mentioned). (I only do it in this manual way because determining the intent of text would be an extremely non-trivial problem, especially given the sarcastic tone of the game) You can also devote 3 points to "reverse the meaning" of a picture (the game would then take the picture and put something in it to mock the situation in the picture. For example, the picture of the girl crying would suddenly have an arrow pointing to her saying "Stop whining you little brat.") Doing so would instantly turn the postive attributes of the picture into negatives, and give positive points to the opposing statistic. To further the little girl crying example, the picture would instantly become -2 sympathy and would gain +2 to another attribute, apathy. Now you can apply the merch designs made to merchandise for the next round of trading. 4) "Trade Session". Once your merch has been designed and applied to bumper stickers, T-Shirts, underwear etc... you would begin a Trade Wars 2002-style negotiating mini game. Customers (some returning from the last Trade Session round if they were satisfied, others new to make up for those you disgusted or turned away) would approach you to buy some merch. You would have to use their blatent stereotypes to offer them merchandise that would appeal to them, and then proceed to charge and upsell them to kingdom come on it. Customers would have attributes similar to the attributes on the picture. The greater their hidden (though shown through stereotypes in the appearance of the customer) attributes match the merch's attributes, the more they'll pay for it and the more markups they'll be willing to add to it. If you give them a good match, you may not only be able to sell them 50 shirts of the same design, but you may be able to sell them warranty packages and memorial "I bought this shirt" certificates. They'll also come back for the next round, so you'll be ready to appeal to them. If you give them a bad match, or push them too hard on extras, they'll become disgruntled and leave, never to return. That's okay, more suckers will take their place. 5) "Upgrade Mode". After you sell to all your customers for the day, it's your turn to go buy. You can purchase mischevious weapons/items/costumes to cause more chaos in the next "Photo Shoot" or reduce your chance of being caught causing the chaos. You can also spend money to upgrade your own character's attributes, which I figured would be something like the following: * Brawn - Force of physical attack if you must defend yourself. * Coersion - Ability to convince others. Affects sale prices and upgrades. * Athletics - Speed of movement, and ability to evade physical attack. * Inconspicuousness - Ability to perform evil actions un-noticed by people around you in Photo shoot mode. * Resolve - Your ability to endure witnessing horrendous acts. (With a resolve too low, you may not be able to take a picture of something particularly gruesome... everything in the game would have to have an "opposing resolve" value that your resolve is compared to along with a random modifier) * Gall - Your ability to CAUSE horrendous acts. (Same type of check as Resolve, but if too low it would prevent you from doing something like kicking the little girl with the steel-toed boots so you can take a picture of her crying) * Disguise - Your ability to hide your true identity with costumes. * Scapegoating - Your ability to blame an action on someone else. Can be used to evade an angry mob who caught you - for example - kicking a little girl or spraying bicycle racers with mace as they approach a jagged cliff, or throwing a plastic fetus at a pro-life/pro-choice (either way would probably get a pretty dramatic response) protester. After you're done with upgrades, you'd go back to step 1 until one of the following happened: 1) You were killed by an angry mob/other danger in Photo Shoot mode. You become a martyr for other merchants who follow your lead and usher in a new era of "Post-Post-Consumerism, now with 20% more Calcium!". 2) None of your customers returned for the next round (in homage to Paperboy, you have to have at least one "return subscriber" from the prior trade round to continue. Customers get more finnicky with each passing trade round to increase difficulty) As you board up your establishment, you turn your head to see the happy customers walking out of the nearby "McArsenic's" store with "I'm Lovin' Rat" T-Shirts and bags of goopy slop... and you remind yourself that you were just in the wrong business. 3) You reach some pre-determined money goal, in which you become the Hero of the Modern Consumerist Era and spend the rest of your life being interviewed by morning talk shows and Oprah. 4) You go for some pre-determined amount of rounds without doing any of 1-3. In this scenario, the government eventually finds out what you did and sends you to Guantanamo prison as a Terrorist and confiscates your store. When you finally get out, you find that the agents who arrested you are now running the store in your stead with funding from the Federal Government. Okay, so what do you think? I know it sounds gross if you take it seriously, but remember: it's a satire. Historically, satire is meant to be shocking/over the top to express the insanity of what it's satirizing. If it was done well, would you play it? EDIT: Made some minor changes to the examples. [Edited by - EdgarVerona on June 12, 2007 11:58:17 PM]

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If it helps, this is a sketch I did up of what the Photo Shoot would be like...

Note that I'm a programmer with poor art skills (and it shows by the "borrowed art" and line graphics in the picture... ideally if I really wanted to do this up I'd write the general engine with a generic rendering component and use some programmer art until I found an artist willing to help with the satirical effort =) ).

Anyways, as you can see in the picture below, you move your character (the guy that's just walking in front of the taller building) as well as the camera reticule (the blue rectangle around the unfortunate event). The building's on fire, and the equipped molotov cocktail suggests that this wasn't a natural disaster. I figured when you snapped a "photo" it'd give a brief pop-up of the stats that the photo had when it was taken so you knew what you got from it (as the ugly green text next to the camera frame shows).

My apologies for the horrible ugliness... and again, I have to pause to remind that it's satirical. If this was the theme of a serious game, I'd probably be in need of some mental help... hell, I might be anyways. =) But please take the concept as a satirical game. I'd try my best to make it obvious that the game shouldn't be taken seriously.

If you could see this, you'd see a pretty horribly drawn/cobbled together picture.  Be happy that your browser doesn't support it.

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I'd play anything with the word "Schadenfreude" in the title, this game sounds like it could be fun.

Tell me though, have you played "Dead Rising" for the Xbox 360? It features photo shoot gameplay predominantly and tracks of all the various "emotions" present in the scene - that's funny all by itself.

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If it looked as silly as it sounds I would play it. There aren't enough games out there focused on comedy as it is. It sounds like it could be a good quick casual game if you pulled it off. I say go for it.

I would also like to see a celebrity golf game staged in Hell. Where the celebrities currently in Hell are used for golf balls (Their heads!). You could use their classic bylines to add funny comentary while they are whacked around some wicked courses. And its ok to make fun of anyone that has gone to Hell cause they deserve it.

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Dead Rising eh? Aye, doesn't ring a bell... but I don't yet have a 360 ( =( ), so I'll have to go look for some gameplay footage videos. lol, I thought the idea was 100% original: but I suppose if there's one constant in the world, it's that there's a whole hell of a lot of people and one of them probably has already thought of your idea. =)

But I'll definately check it out, it is good to know that such a model worked enough to make a published game at least out of it! =)

I'm going to try and make it as silly as possible (and indeed, I think I'm going to go for it)... hopefully by the time I finish up the "programmer art" version of it I'll be able to find someone willing to make the visuals. I think to really pull it off as being funny, it's going to need some well thought out and executed imagery.

But I'll keep you guys abreast of progress as I slowly inch toward it. =)

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Ooh, that's a good idea! I hadn't thought of the random level idea, but it would add a bit of diversity to the game. I guess as long as the central disaster/conflict was happening somewhere on the map, it would be challenging to have everything else vary (so you don't just memorize the map and get right to it).

That's a great plan! I'll see what I can come up with on that while continuing design.

Does anyone else have any ideas that they'd like to see implemented in this sort of a game? Perhaps the equivalent of a "boss battle" is in order? I feel like that kind of thing is the only big mechanic missing... that is, the game really would never hit a climax in action, just get progressively harder until you hit one of the endings.

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