Coding and writing are both side hobbies of mine, and I’ve always been a (major) fan of these games. Since I will probably never have such an abundance of free time again, I’ve decided to dive headlong into creating a story of my own.
That said, I’ve got three major concepts swimming in my head right now, and some difficulty in choosing which one to pursue. The consensus seems to be to (1) choose something I’m passionate about and (2) stick to a manageable rather than ambitious plot. I’m really into every one of these ideas though, and given cautious constraint, I don’t think brevity will be an issue. So, I’m basically asking you to weigh in as a gauge of interest!
Film noir / detective / sci fi: I’m a big, big fan of the 1940s film noir detective genre. You know - shady people, moral ambiguity, world-weary wisecracks. It’d be a fairly prototypical format as far these games go; you would start destitute and unknown, then gradually build a name for yourself through increasingly difficult and high-profile cases. Each chapter would then deal with a case - investigation, interrogation, sleuthing - and meanwhile, you’re navigating all kinds of criminal and governmental politics as you solve crimes. I put “sci fi” there, but it’d feature in a lowkey way, mainly functioning as a vague futuristic setting. I suppose a better name would be neo-noir.
Classical whodunit: It’s cliche, but it works. Your character gets invited to a secluded mansion, along with, say, 5-6 other people. Someone gets murdered. You’re trapped there for a few days. Can you survive for that long AND deduce who the killer is? The operative feature here is constraint. I would only be focusing on a narrow frame of time, and a narrow group of people - which frees me up to trade breadth for psychological and exploratory depth. You’d get to interact extensively with the suspects, the mansion, and the time frame (the plan is to have different stuff happening at the same time at different places, which means you wouldn’t be able to solve the mystery without repeat playthroughs unless you’re a lucky genius).
Trashy gameshow: Think the Bachelor, the Apprentice, Big Brother, etc. These are shows I enjoy, uh, non-ironically, and I think would be hilarious to implement. The tone would be mostly tongue-in-cheek, and I think the format of player elimination naturally lends itself to a good game story. I’m thinking gossip, backstabbing, deluded temper tantrums… you know, the best in shallow TV!
I’ve got sketches of plots and characters for all of these, so there’s no dearth of ideas. Let me know what you think!