Personality Test / Adventure

Voice Card  -  Volume 10  -  John Card Number 12  -  Thu, Nov 9, 1989 11:28 PM

This is a response to Vol 10 Larry 10 ("Can the blind date")...

It looks to me as if there's enough interest here to do some serious talking about this Personality Test Adventure Game idea.

I agree that we should not limit the scenario to a blind date and I would just as soon avoid gender differentiated versions, but I fear we cannot. Gender is a damned nuisance (you can quote me on that if you like, Paul) in computer adventures because many situations are gender specific and also because it's hard to avoid the use of "he" or "she" altogether in adventure text.

What happens, for example, when the player meets a male (or female) character? We have to program how that character reacts to the player and what he/she says. In most situations these reactions will depend entirely on the sex of the player!

Most current computer adventure games assume that the player is male. Thus the player is called upon to rescue fair damsels and the like. This must make female players feel a little silly.

Although it is possible to create only unisex scenarios and make sure the user never looks into the mirror, as it were, the result would be bland and uninteresting. The most interesting and revealing situations would involve SOME recognition of the player's gender. And we can hardly ignore one of the most fundamental aspects of a person in game that is supposed to explore personalities!

There are many other questions to consider. First, I think we need to define the project more clearly. Are we all familiar with adventure games? The basic idea is to create a linked set of written descriptions. The player is presented with the description of a situation and then responds in some way. Depending on his-or-her response, a new situation is presented. There is usually some kind of goal involved like finding treasure or rescuing damsels.

So what we have to do is to describe some interesting situations, anticipate ways the player might react, and describe the results. The fun in playing an adventure is not knowing what's going to happen next, so unfortunately the creator can't really play his own game, but perhaps we can surprise each other.

So how are we going to do this? Do we divide the game up into separate areas and assign each member an area? Do we use each other as guinea pigs? How do we work together on this?

HERE IS AN IDEA! Since adventure games are primarily sets of linked paragraphs, let's use our existing voice card apparatus to try out possible scenarios! It would be kind of like the Crab Epic, but with perhaps a narrower range of options at each decision point.

Here's my proposal. Each of us should begin by inventing an interesting situation that has the potential to reveal some aspect of the player's personality. Create a voice card and write a few paragraphs in which you describe the physical setting and the parameters of the situation. If you like you can hint at a small number of possible responses (e.g. describe a room with three exits).

When the next voice volume hits the street, each us should respond to AT LEAST one of the other situations. Just push the Respond button and type something like "I choose to walk through the small green door."

The NEXT time around, each creator should respond to AT LEAST one choice with a new scene which presents more choices. We may also wish to comment on how different choices might be interpreted personality-wise.

Let's keep this loose. You don't have to worry about the gender of the player if you don't want to, and for now don't worry about how everything gets tied together or what the final implementation would look like. This is pure brainstorming, a chance to see what works and what doesn't. Let's just play around and see what happens.

To get the ball rolling, I will create a quick opening scenario on the next card. Paul and I used to do this kind of thing all the time, and it's a lot of fun. If nothing else, this will give us all a little adventure experience, as both players and creators. After awhile we can pause and re-evaluate. So please make a brief response to the next card, everyone, and PLEASE PLEASE make some starting scenario cards of your own.