Sunday, October 19, 2014

Confined, a Story of Death and Shadows

We are all going to die eventually. So when the time comes that death greets us, embrace it. Accept the death; accept the dark. Or forever be lost and confined in the false glimpse of light. [tyridge77, from Confined]

tyridge77 and two collaborators designed a game, Confined, a Story of Death and Shadows, for a Roblox game creation contest, and won!

Roblox invited tyridge77 to San Francisco for a day to show what he does at a San Francisco Science/Tech event, Discovery Days at ATT Park. I'm a believer in the value of events like this, both for Roblox and for anyone looking for a way into tech and programming, as well as storytelling and writing.

Here's a good interview with tyridge77, with insights into the game creation process and the thinking behind Confined: Meet the Team Behind the GCC Winning Horror Hit, Confined 

I wrote a bit about tyridge77 getting me up to speed with collaborative coding tools. Apparently they used similar skills to good effect, collaborating remotely on a very short schedule.

The game speaks for itself. Superficially it is a haunted house simulation, in the 'horror' genre -- not in the modern Halloween style, but in a more subtle emotionally laden acknowledgment of uncertainty. 

Playing it for yourself is its best description. You can find some YouTube play-throughs, but they don't do 'Confined' justice. Some elements went over the heads of the few commentators I watched. Perhaps the players are too young to appreciate their own mortality? In any case they all were expecting specters to jump out at them, and none had presence enough to try flipping a light switch or turning on a lamp. Shadows reign, more real than light.

We had no idea that tyridge77 enjoys and writes 'dark' poetry, one short stretch of which informs and narrates 'Confined'.

Here's a bit from an informal Skype chat with tyridge77, about the game and literature he enjoys:

"The game, and the poem that is [about] how some times we cling onto light, and what we're comfortable with, instead of moving on or adapting to the dark."

"Edgar Allan Poe is my personal idol. Him and Nathaniel Hawthorne. I love the free interpretation in poetry. Poe and Hawthorne do this quite well which is why I enjoy them so much. Although Poe does usually give you more factual "down to the point" information with a bit less space for interpretation than Hawthorne."

Here's another of tyridge77's poems he graciously shared, "...about an individual who is battling with himself over multiple ambitions (or sides), and being unable to clearly see and set forth on his path of life."
He stuttered tremulously as his mind decayed. His thoughts failed to evolve into words. The thoughts he craved. He felt lost, helpless, stumbling in vain. 
Stumbling into the very grave he made. He needs to change, he wants to try. He's leading astray, his path will die. 
And die it did to be reborn again. Back into this world of two foiled kin. Wrong as he is and mundane as night, its purpose lays hindered by his dim casting light. 
So yet again it fades before his eyes. He whom has fallen has let the other fly. Yet a force is needed to rebalance these tides. Never so quickly fall the tedious sands of time. 
A mend of balance is a mend of light. Illuminance solely fuels such a strife as life. To live with self virtue is to sacrifice. 
So quell the threat, let these two foes be undone. Help yourself, let two become one."
[Some parsing of paragraph breaks is mine, apologies if I mangled the intent.]