Death & the Afterlife
MA Digital Games: Design and Theory
An educational game, or as I term it, a game that happens to be educational, The Living Talk follows Amy who has recently lot her mother. A Reaper named Eric embarrassingly admits that he lost the paperwork to know which afterlife Amy's mother has gone to and asks for Amy's help in finding her.
The pair travel to many different afterlives learning about what people have done with their dead throughout history, and how different cultures and religions approach death and what might come afterwords.
Based on an educational book that I never got to finish during my first time at university I set out to create a game the uses the Procedural Rhetoric of games in order educate young people about an aspect of life that is often overlooked, death.
Unless you are very well traveled you are likely to have a very narrow view on what should be done with the dead, and what if anything happens to people once they die. More importantly you will probably find what other people do strange or even abhorrent. I wanted to teach children that other people will look at you the exact same way you look at them, and that in the end no one is really right.
A puzzle game that makes use of audio dialog as well as mechanics I wanted to move away from educational games that are boring. In the same way someone might play World of Warcaft and unintentionally learn things about the story of the world, I wanted children to learn about ancient Egyption burials and Papu smoked corpses.
CLICK TEAM FUSION
Bellow are examples taken directly from the games design document where my artistic abilities aided in communicating ideas and concepts for the game that could not have been executed with the software available, but would be implemented if it came to generating a full game.
The Storyboard bellow follows the player controlling Amy on a trip to Ancient Egypt. By this Point the player has completed several other missions, all of which can be done in any order. These sketches were used in conjunction the a Ludic Sketch of the game to demonstrate the overall concept.
Following her first meeting with the Reaper named Eric, the player controlling Amy passes through one of many doors in her house that lead to differnt afterlives. She can complete them in any order. After visiting several different afterlives and gaining help from different spirits along the way she travels to Ancient Egypt. There is no single path to take and many temples and buildings to choose from.
Amy first finds the Temple of Ra and learns some of what the gods role is within the Pantheon. While here she is asked to bring the Canopic Jars to the priests of Anubis. After this she finds a building dedicated to artisans and builders including a small shrine to Khnum.
From the artisans Amy has gained a Heart Scarab which Eric will keep in his rib cage for safe keeping. She is told it need to be delivered to the Embalming Room. In the Temple of Sobek Amy discovers the temple crocodiles and meets an elderly priest.
To aid the old priest in his work Amy must feed the sacred crocodiles lumps of meet from a stick. For aid Amy is given the honor of bringing the sacred Ankh to the embalming room.
Eric leands you to the embalming room. Fortunutly all the messy stuff as been finished with already, but Eric does note the the cat is eating the woman's brains as the Egyptions did not think the brain was important. One of the priests hands Amy a Book of the Dead to make sure that all is in order.
Amy realise that not ALL the messy bits have been finished with. The organs still need to be put into the correct Conopic jars! Some of this Amy has already learned from speaking to the other priests so she know which jar to put the lungs into. Trail by errors works but so would going back and asking the correct priests. Amy also give them the Ankh and Scarab to complete their work.
With Amy's help with the body completed Eric is able to take her across to the Ancient Egyptian afterlife, or at least the first part of it. The pair find themselves on Ra's very own Sun Barge.
Amy meets the spirit of Henuttawy the woman who she aided in embalming. She introduces Eric and Amy first to the god Khnum who is steering the boat. and as they pass through the first game the sun god Ra. Waiting in ambush on the other side to strike with deadly fangs is the snake of primal chaos Apep. Ra is left unconscious but is defended by his two Cobra guardians the Wajet.
The other passengers on their way to the afterlife are left in. The boat is however not defenseless. Around the barge giant Ankhs for deffence and Scarab for offense. But without the aid of the passengers you can not hope to guard it all alone. Eric allows you to summon one of the spirits who agreed to help you, a shield maiden from Fólkvangr one of the Norse afterlives. Though she cant fight a giant snake with her sword, she can take the helm from the god Khnum so he can aid you.
Created in Multi Media Fusion the Ludic sketch was a very basic example used to demonstrate the overall concept of the game. I created simple assets using Photoshop. Though shown top down, as you can see from the storyboard the real game would have been first person.