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.
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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.
There is no single path to take and many temples and buildings to choose from.
After this she finds a building dedicated to artisans and builders including a small shrine to Khnum.
In the Temple of Sobek Amy discovers the temple crocodiles and meets an elderly priest.
One of the priests hands Amy a Book of the Dead to make sure that all is in order.
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.
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.
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.