Saturday, February 18, 2012

Journal #3

Protege: Story Structure

I have always been interested in chess as a game and as a way of analyzing the world. This gave me the idea that instead of having a traditional structure I would have the overarching narrative structure be backwards - by this I mean that the narrative will start at the end of the story, and the player will progress through the game in a sort of detective-like fashion, replaying events that have already happened. In this way the player will in a sense discover what happened throughout the course of events leading up to the the introductory cut scene. However, after every 2-3 missions the player will be transported back to that first scene where more will be revealed about the story and about his opponent/teacher.

(I’m not sure if this is what you wanted for journals, but I find myself wanting to explore and develop the idea for this game through these weekly writings.)

First Scene (non-playable):

Name: Grant Heckler

Occupation: Master Thief

Current Predicament: Shot and pissed off

Grant stumbles through the unlocked door, his vision shifting hazily from the window to the outlined shape of a man sitting at a chess board. The soft light coming in through the curtains barely lights the room, but Grant can still see that the man is troubled.

“My only question is why.”

“Why can be a powerful question, one that can’t always be so easily answered. You should know this by now. Perhaps if you sit and share one last game with me we will come to an answer.” the Old Man said, gesturing at the board and the empty seat across from him. I can feel the blood slowly trickling down my arm to my wrist and off each digit of my hand. The bleeding has slowed; but not enough.

Lowering myself gingerly into the offered seat is difficult, as you might imagine, and doing it with a loaded gun clutched in an unsteady hand is not helping the fact. I place the gun on the side of the board, aimed to the right of the Old Man so as not to tempt fate. A black pawn is already sitting out on the board waiting for its competitor.

“I respect your choice to always be white,” sighed the Old Man. “Sadly, it is not an affectation many can afford to have.”

“You know just as well as I do it’s not a choice with me. I just don’t have it in me”

“Ah...that’s where you’re wrong my boy. You, more than anybody, should know that everyone has it in their nature to be evil.” The Old Man said, grinning sadly. “The human mind, and body, cannot exist without this opposition. Even when we play this game it is simply a distillation of the ongoing struggle we have inside our own shells.”

“We will see, that I can promise you.” I said moving my own pawn out.

“The very nature cannot but help but express itself, even in this playful medium...we have played together many times; you should trust me by now on this.” The Old Man said, considering my play.

“Old Man, this will be our last conversation. I would hope that the least you could do was be honest with me.” I said, taking the glass of whiskey he handed to me.

“So this is to be the way of it then? Very well...our time together has meant a great deal to me, and I wouldn’t want you to think that I was not aware of your sacrifices.” He takes a drink, quiet now in his thoughts. I can see his eyes tracing the outline of the gun sitting next to the table. I wonder if he has one stashed away inside his coat; maybe under the table or behind the chair.

The game progresses past its opening moves, both players feeling out the other, waiting for a weakness, a dropped guard, a mistake. There is no sense in holding back any longer; everything they are will be revealed on the board, and left there after they are gone.

“First question: Was there ever a real patron?”

“No. There has always been only me.” said the Old Man. He looks sadly at me. “There won’t be anything left of either of us after we’re done here will there?”

“No, there won’t.” I said

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