Writers Block and Family Block

Posted by Cha

[Includes spoilers for The Novelist]

The Novelist is about a family. It’s also about a ghost, which is our role in the story. The ghost is a device for exploring people’s thoughts, memories and desires, and deciding who gets what they want. The ghost whispers in the father’s ear and tells him what to do.

Why does the ghost exist? Since the father’s choices are the only ones given any importance why don’t we just play as him? Possibly to add challenge, or fit a restrictive definition of “game”. There’s already plenty of emotional challenge in compromising between family members, but the ghost adds a dash of more traditional stealth-based gamey-ness. On the higher difficulty setting it’s possible for family members to spot the ghost, and spooking them reduces your options slightly. So, a tiny element of risk without going as far as a hard fail state.


Beginnings / Nier Review

Posted by Cha

June has been a month of set-up and new beginnings for me. Here on Shallow Depths I began by deciding to overhaul the comment system, and ended up redecorating the whole place. I'm still tweaking minor things no one but me will probably ever notice. I'm glad this tendency of mine only applies to my virtual homes or I'd run through a lot of furniture and trimmings.

Meanwhile, my own game review column is starting up on Game People. As Microcosm Gamer I'll be looking at how games recreate elements of the real world, and how they inform my life. A bit wanky arguably, but I happen to enjoy that sort of thing. I know if I tried to write for a more standard review site I would get bored very quickly.