I like the concept behind my game “Silent Conversation.” The words of a piece form the physical structure of a level that is shaped by the setting, events, and feelings of the work’s content. Unfortunately, “Silent Conversation” is, well, not a very good game. It’s slow, because I wanted to encourage people to read the pieces. But it’s way too slow to be fun. The idea of certain words being “powerful” is promising, but the dodge-dark-red-things gameplay is more annoying than engaging.
A lot of people really resonated with the idea. I heard plenty of compliments for the visual interpretation of the text, and for making the text interesting to read, and for the potential of the game for education… but no one really said the game was fun. So here’s a question for you: how can I make a spiritual successor to “Silent Conversation” that’s actually fun? I’m seeking your help here.
Here are the criteria for the sort of game I’m trying to design:
- The words of a textual work are arranged into a physical level structure that relates to the content of the work.
- The game encourages reading and comprehension; the player shouldn’t want to just skip through the work without reading it. Likewise, playing through a work involves the linear traversal of the entire work.
- The game is fun, with challenge that is tied somehow to the content of the story. Something that’s not explicitly violent would be great.
- The game design is not tied to a specific work; players should be able to create their own levels from arbitrary works (with a bit of work arranging the words) and share them with other players.
- The game should have very low amounts of punishment. It should offer variable challenge for various skill levels, preferably without players having to choose a difficulty explicitly.
So, I’m open to suggestions. What do you think the sort of game I just described should be like?