Become A Game Writer (1.1)
GAME #1: Shadow of the Colosssus
Team Ico’s 2005, Shadow of the Colossus (SotC) is a third-person perspective, fantasy game. Within the game, you play as a character by the name of Wander, who is tasked with defeating 16 beasts in order to resurrect his loved one, Mono. I believe, where SotC succeeds best at its gaming narrative is through the implications of its gameplay. After defeating each beast, Wander is quickly chased down by black tendrils that protrude from the deceased creatures. An attentive player may notice Wander becoming more bruised and unkempt after each slaying, even beginning to develop pale skin and horns. The narrative becomes a quite tragic and heartbreaking one as players may realize (perhaps before Wander even does) that the deal that we’ve struck with Dormin (the mystical being overseeing the game world) was not one you could even escape, nor was it one we might survive. From the start of the game, the bridge you use to enter the game world can’t be accessed anymore no matter how hard you try. The beasts in SotC are not easy to kill, but as you triumph, Wander sacrifices himself a little bit more in order to bring Mono back, and the longer we play — the more we may wonder if Dormin will actually revive Mono as promised. While SotC is largely dialogue-less — I’ve found that my wanting to push through the narrative hoping Wander doesn’t meet a dark fate, harmonically and emotionally would bind me to the main character and his relentless hope of saving someone he held close. If nothing else, SotC became a game I’ve always deeply related to and without a doubt, is one I can’t seem to forget.
GAME #2: Silent HIll: Downpour
Konami’s 2012 survival horror game, Silent Hill: Downpour, is the seventh entry in one of their most renowned franchises. It follows a character by the name of Murphy Pendleton, a prison inmate being transferred to a new facility after being convicted of murder. Unlike many of the Silent Hill games, I’ve found myself intrigued by the concept of Downpour but not necessarily captivated the way I was by previous narratives. For one, this is the first game of the series to implement a “choice system” to pair with their usual hidden “karma system” within the franchise. In most karmic-related game narratives (ex. inFAMOUS, Telltale, Fallout, etc.), players are given choices that will directly affect the game world with rewards and consequences. Downpour actually doesn’t work that way, and if anything, might make a player’s choices feel futile (regardless of whether your choices affect the ending you get). Many times throughout the narrative, Murphy may have the choice to save or kill an NPC, yet the outcome of either choice is often the same. This might be confusing or frustrating at times for a player, specifically because, if neither scenario teaches a player more about the characters, the game world, or even rewards them for a choice — what was the point? For me, this was often emotionally tedious to deal with — I felt like I had to replay the game as a chore and not really as an experience to learn or grow from. If you’re going to give me choices, I want the opportunity and agency to defend or debate those choices. Why place a mechanic in a game if it’s not going to clearly reiterate a theme or emotional core of the experience?
GAME ANALYSIS & COMPARISON
At their cores, both Shadow of the Colossus (SotC) and Silent Hill: Downpour are narratives about tragic characters wanting justice or the resurrection of someone they’ve lost. These two games tackle their stories pretty differently though — not only contrasting in genre, but also through philosophy. SotC decides to prioritize its gameplay experience and leave its narrative minimalistically bare bones — allowing players to fill in the blanks and craft their own emotional experience. One player may decide to run straight through the narrative, slaying every beast and being treated to the full story in about 10 hours. Another player could decide to freely roam the world and take in the designs of the developers, find collectibles or simply ride their horse to de-stress. In secret, you are practically allowed by Team Ico to becomeWander and imprint your feelings onto him. Downpour takes a more maximized approach though — asking players to tackle the first “open world” experience in their series, engage in new fighting mechanics, and pay indirect attention to actions you prefer making. Most players will experience the same game for its 16 hour runtime, spending very little of that time getting to know Murphy as a character or how he feels about the game world. Players are essentially encouraged to watch Murphy either struggle or mow through monsters (depending on a player’s prowess) and then more or less be ranked by the developers via a cutscene on their play style. If you murder a lot, you get this ending — if you cower from every enemy, here’s another. I might feel completely different about a story like Silent Hill: Downpour if it were a film or book perhaps, simply because I can’t interact with how it flows. But, if I had to choose, I think I’d rather be a part of a narrative that gives me moments to truly become one else — if only for a couple hours.
is a multi-talented actor, recording artist, filmmaker, and entertainment entrepreneur with M. StageScene Communications, Corp. Royale is a graduate and adjunct professor of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music (where he also earned a minor in Cinema Studies). Royale also is a graduate of the acclaimed Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, where he studied Drama. Royale hails from St. Albans, Queens — a neighborhood that was once home to many legendary musicians, such as James Brown, John Coltrane, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, A Tribe Called Quest, and Count Basie.