John Walker, RPS hivemind member, made a little post here that details his desire for a game where you can’t die. I thought I’d try and come up with ideas on how that game would work, and ended up falling into a bit of a storyline trap, being that I’m a writer rather than a games designer.
Still, maybe you’ll find it worth reading. I warn you, though, it might be a bit Molyneux when it’s done, all wild ideas that just aren’t feasible. That’s why it’s fun, though.
Right, the game starts off with you in your mid-late teens, fumbling back on your way home from school. This is the evening where your invincibility kicks in. Naturally, as is game-lore, your walk home is about a trillion times more dangerous today: speeding cars, falling bricks from buildings sites, corner shop robberies gone awry, muggings, all that jazz. The closer you get to home, the more dangerous your journey becomes, until you are pretty much likely to have a run-in with something that should kill you.
The main idea of this is to provide a way to stick the starting point for the game proper in a number of different locations. For example: You start the game and make it half the way home before you run into a bully from school, you and he have a little tussle and, during the fight, he knocks you into the road where you are subsequently hit by a car. You bounce off the car and come to a halt a decent enough distance away, the screen tints itself and a “Game Over/Continue” box pops up, MGS style. People cluster around you, the box suddenly vanishes, and you slowly get to your feet and brush yourself off. Everyone is amazed of course, but its not the first time such a thing has happened. Flash forward a few years to adult you leading a normal enough life, pretty much blind to the fact that he’s invincible, the car incident long forgotten.
Scenario 2: You make it past the bully, beating him in the fight and avoiding the car, good show! You make it a little further and blunder your way into an armed robbery at the corner shop. You disturb the robbers and they shoot you in the chest. You fall, they run, game over screen says hello. You writhe around on the floor in pain for a while, but some of the customers in the shop come to help, plenty of witnesses. They try to tend to your wound but, shock horror, there isn’t one! Just a bruise where the bullet hit you and a misshapen chunk of metal on the floor next to you (which used to be a bullet of course). Flash forward again. Future you is tied to a bed in a hospital, creepy scientists experimenting on him to see how far his invincibility will run. The player then has to escape this facility as the first mission.
It’s only a rough idea, on account of the fact that I’ll never have the opportunity to realise it, but I still might expand it at a later date. Still, the basic idea is to make a game that illustrates how the situation around the realisation of the power can impact how it develops. As for the actual gameplay mechanics, I suppose that would be something I’d talk about in another post, if anyone wanted to hear it.