Peter Cadmon is the head writer/owner of a paranormal magazine called ‘The Second Man’, aimlessly wandering through his life keeping a relatively low profile, until he gains glaring notice when a notorious hacker prints his manifesto (to accompany a recent successful wall street hack) exclusively in his magazine. Peter then gets caught up in suit and tie intrigue and government anxiety, mistakenly thought to be an accomplice of the hacker, while he tries to figure out how these overloaded games are any of his business, what mystery the hacker might be trying to initiate him into, how it’s all interconnected in ways he cannot imagine, and perhaps catching on to turn the tables to run a few games of his own.
The year is 1997, and with the advent of new technology and the flourishing on internet culture, practically overnight subcultures have come to dominate online life and threaten to take over society through a revolution synthesizing the virtual and the real, the tangible and the intangible through an across the board open-spirited free-play of ideas. But that’s only half-true. The “threaten” part is what the mainstream media is promising. And the “synthesizing the virtual and the real, the tangible and the intangible through an across the board open-spirited free-play” is what the subcultures can only hope for. Because, a house divided, it is said, must fall. And if the house is made of cards, it is hard to even get it to stand. But if it is a house, of cards, on a computer simulation of solitaire, well… you see…
The gameplay is RPG based, with a top down live action battle system. Because the plot deals with a world where the government and media have become overtly oppressive, especially in regard to free speech and what media they deem acceptable, the gameplay is more self-conscious than usual. You will be interacting not just with the game elements, but also the fact that you are playing a game, and the conscious choices involved in what constitutes “game” from “entertainment”, and “acceptable behavior” from, perhaps what the media itself would call, “voyeuristic torture.”
Of course, I have my own very strong views on this issue, which is why I am making this game and putting so much time and effort into it. So it won’t just be something like a ‘Saw’ game-maker character devising schemes whereby you have to learn some lesson about morality from this antic anarchy. In fact, that is the furthest thing from the design of this game. I’m taking on issues like the evolution of horror movies into gore-porn in recent years “since 9/11”, and violent video games being blamed for school violence and crime, but these issues can’t be addressed except in very broad terms. So, instead of shooting zombie politicians, as a freelance paranormal detective, you’ll find yourself compelled to take a road trip cross country as you take on cases as varied as exploring a sect with scant traces on the practically brand new internet (‘97, remember) which has resurrected the Alexandrian library in an undisclosed location.. Or on a missing person’s case for the daughter of a wealthy couple who is probably now a member of a Californian cult, or traveling to the Land of Oz tourist attraction in good old Kansas, seeing the sites of honest, hardworking and weird as hell middle America. There will be dozens of cases that lead you on your immediate path, that will tie into the main story, which will take you through major cities like your headquarters in San Francisco, to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, New York, Tokyo, and New Orleans, and others. I don’t know how much RPG Maker can handle, so once I find out if it might lag with too much content, the game may need to be split into chapters or episodes.
I’m definitely serious about completing this. I’ve been working on it for the past, say, six months so far, and I started a tumblr about four months ago @ http://exxceptiondraft.tumblr.com/. I’ve been learning RPG Maker in that time as well as just figuring out how to write for a game and developing the background of the story, and writing the way I usually write, which is by reading everything I can on the various topics involved. I like to take my time on projects, so feel free to say, “when can we see a demo” but I plan on this project taking me the next five years or so. I figure, if it takes a novelist five years, or upwards of ten years to write a great novel, one that is truly classic, I can spend at least that long writing my video game. I think if you put a story into it, RPG Maker has got awesome enough graphics for me. Here’s to D-I-Y and anybody with an idea and $20 being able to make a video game with their delusions of grandeur..