I don’t literally mean a game about Samwise Gamgee. That would require expensive licensing. I’m referring to something that author Robin Hobb once said about her first Fitz trilogy, that they were books about “the Sam Gamgees of the word”, meaning the protagonist of the story was a catalyst for major world events, but not the one enacting them in person.
What would it mean to write a choice game from the POV of a Samwise character? It could be the fairy godmother instead of the princess. It could be the lancer instead of the hero. The parent instead of the heroic teen savior of the world. Honestly, the options are pretty much unlimited. Take any supporting cast member of any archetypal story, and if they’re not a villain, mentor, or love interest, they could be this.
On the one hand, some players might roll their eyes and pass the game up. What do you mean? I don’t get to play the hero? I have to be stuck as this loser second-stringer instead? On the other hand, it gives you great flexibility and an interesting perspective shift. You could still be a part of a major, earth-shattering plot, but also get to shift the balance and show it a little bit more from the vole’s eye perspective. And it would allow you to humanize your protagonist, without sacrificing that sense of awe that the classically epic heroes have.
Of course, these days heroes can be literally anything, so maybe the only really relevant choice for a Sam Gamgee game is whether Sam, in the end, is willing to stay the sidekick or determined to claim a role as the true hero of the story.
And now, a quick poll:
- I’d love to play a game from the POV of a traditional sidekick character.
- I might like a sidekick POV, it depends on the genre.
- Actually, I think I’ve already played something quite like that.
- Actually, I’m writing something like that right now.
- No, I think I’d still prefer to play the grand hero.