I decided on a concept for my first videogame project a few weeks ago, but I finally put some serious time in this weekend and it is starting to come together. I have practically no coding experience, and I just picked up Game Maker for Mac about a month ago. It’s turning out to be a very user friendly program, so I’d recommend it to any other beginning game makers (special shout out to Shaun Spaulding’s excellent tutorial videos on youtube). I’m using Pixen for sprites and animations, also very user friendly.
Essentially, I want to make a game that explores the idea of “games as male power fantasy”. I thought of a pawn in chess, who can only move forward, and is constantly being sacrificed, as a good symbol to start with. Chess works as an example of a power fantasy game, as it gives the player complete control over an army, battling to defeat another king and rule the chessboard. But as a chess player, we think of the pieces holistically–they have no individual importance other than helping us to win. If instead we were forced to be the pawn, and see ourselves sacrificed rather than see it as part of a broader game plan, will the player still feel powerful?
To incorporate the idea into the game’s mechanics, I’m designing the levels so that the player will have to sacrifice himself (a pawn) to allow other non-player-controlled pieces (knights, bishops, etc.) to undergo more traditional power fantasies, like fighting enemies and collecting treasure. The player isn’t in control of anything, except for moving the pawn forward to trigger the other actions.
For now I’ve only started on the first two levels, but I’m planning to make the puzzles more and more complicated as the game goes on. The player will need to sacrifice herself again and again to move through the levels. The art is going to get a makeover soon too, but I wanted to jump into coding the systems without spending too much time perfecting the visuals. I’ve set an April 14th deadline, and I’m planning to update this every week until I’m finished. Screen shot below: