Archive for February, 2022

Life is a Game, My Friend…

We all know the stereotype of a gamer: socially dysfunctional; lives in their parent’s basement obsessed with all things sci-fi and fantasy; only has a job so they can buy the latest updates on Steam…blah, blah, blah. For those of us who take the leap into game design, you would need to kick that stereotype up a notch. Now, you’re not just obsessed with games, you are obsessed with your game. It gets to the point where even your gamer friends (the ones you haven’t roped into helping develop the game) are putting you off. “Wow! Will you look at the time! I was supposed to meet Jared at the club for a game of racquetball. Ta-ta!” And before you realize that your friend doesn’t even know a Jared, he is off and running.

Beyond talking about A’Kyria, playing A’Kyria, developing pods for A’Kyria, drawing pictures and writing software for A’Kyria, and having Our Own Game Company meetings about things typically related to A’Kyria, we do stuff…life stuff. We have our J.O.B’s, spend time untangling our kids and their various paraphernalia, feed pets, liberate the chickens; the usual stuff. We keep on top of current events. We know that Scalia bought the farm and now Congress and the White House are going to start slugging it out again. We know that 150,000 penguins were wiped out of existence by a thoughtless iceberg. We know the Zika virus is poised to run amok in South America if it doesn’t mutate and kill us all. But our nerdy little hearts are singing for a joyously raunchy and irreverent Deadpool, that a new Star Wars movie is in production and the predicted chocolate shortage hasn’t hit us yet. Firefly is still a classic, Carrie Fisher and Stan Lee are going to be at the Denver Comic Con and all is right with the world.

Gamers of every stripe can appreciate a good obsession. While Our Own Game Company is firmly living in Nerd-dom, our obsession just happens to be something that everyone isn’t talking about…yet. Before you go off to find a Jared to play racquetball with, take a moment to check out the world of A’Kyria to see if “mi casa loco es tu casa loco”…my crazy house is your crazy house. You’re welcome!

We are Our Own Game Company…Playing for the fun of it!

A Monster is as a Monster does

If you ever decide to develop a role playing game, might I suggest conscripting a few kids to help you? I’m not talking about child labor, but a very ready source of out of the box imagination.

When we first started working on A’Kyria, my husband sat the kids down and asked them to create creatures for the game…and, man, did they deliver! We have a huge folder of the improbable, the weird, the impressive and the downright creepy that is still growing. There is nothing like a kid to bring the dreamy and the nightmarish to life.

Of course, it takes some tweaking by the grown-ups to make most of these creatures work. If my middle son had his way, every creature he has created would kill you just by looking in its general direction. Space Tentacles immediately come to mind. He came in with a picture and a name and an explanation that made us wonder how he ever gets to sleep at night! The creature essentially floats in low lying atmospheric asteroids and when it sees movement below, it reaches down, snags the unfortunate, springs it out of the atmosphere where it suffocates to death and then is slowly digested in its center mass. Yikes! How do you fight something like that?!

And there’s the rub of having children advisors. Reality, even game reality, has little to do with what they come up with, so you have to stretch your imagination to make it work. Take my daughter’s first creature installment: Pussy Willows. We were at a restaurant and she was doodling on her napkin. She shoved the napkin over and said, “Look! They’re pussy willows. They are tiny kitties that stick on you and you have to pet them and make them purr to get them off.” She, and we, had no idea what they did, but her picture and idea was something we kept coming back to. The Pussy Willows eventually developed into one of the more annoying nuisance creatures in A’Kyria.

There is also the challenge of bringing a child’s creature to life through pictures. What do you do when your son comes to you with a creature that has three legs, four arms, three mouths and numerous eyes, noses and ears? Well, you stretch yourself and try to draw something with three legs, four arms, three mouths, etc. and hope it looks like something that could actually wander the plains of A’Kyria. Enter the Kead; a sentient warrior race of creatures that would just as soon cleave you in half than speak with you. Excellent! Just because it seems implausible, doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

My sons cornered the market on the brute strength, instant death, monsters, but my daughter wins hands down for coming up with the creepiest. In fact, we are all a little scared of my daughter since she came up with The Black Widow. She shows us a picture of a little girl on one side of the page and a spider on the other. She then tells us that you will be walking along a forest, doo-de-doo, when you find a lost little girl who looks like she’s starving and alone. You bring her back to your camp and when night falls and everyone is asleep, she shifts into an enormous spider that poisons you, spins you in a web and carries you off to her lair to snack on at her leisure. Yeesh! Oh, and the little girl has solid black eyes and the shadow of a spider if she gets caught in the sunshine. We walked really carefully around our daughter after that one!

I imagine that, because of our little minions, A’Kyria has creatures you may have never encountered in a game before. And, yes, we really enjoy the creepy things our kids have come up with…and I imagine you will, too!

We are Our Own Game Company…Playing for the fun of it!

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