I have a long and strange relationship with writing my own videogame, which I though might be interesting to share.
A year ago to date, I applied for a writing job at a visual novel place. I made it through the second round of interviews, but I didn’t get the job. Still excited about the semi-success of one of my scripts, I wrote three mock-ups which could eventually become full-length games:
- Alex to Alex: A dating sim in which all the characters are named Alex. Spoiler: They are all Alex Jedraszczak wearing different hats.
- Sherlock Holmes: Sherlock Holmes solves a series of mysteries, and in the final case, they all come together to form a supermystery, just like in Phoenix Wright.
- Scooter Ride: The Date: Las Vegas: I can no longer remember what this game is about, but the title seemed like a good idea at the time.
My plans to make a visual novel fell through, when I realized I’d have to learn programming and provide visuals! Also, it seems 90% of visual novels are either dating sims or pornographic, which is not exactly the field I want to break out into.
Four months later, I discovered a text-based RPG engine which can kind of be adapted to visual novels. And the company was hiring! I decided to make a demo out of the first chapter of a Sherlock Holmes book. The demo is still available online. I like to think it captures the feeling of reading the book, while pretending to give you control over the story when you really don’t.
Unknown to me, there was a copyright battle going on at the time, over who owns the rights to Sherlock Holmes—Group A that had nothing to do with producing the original material, or Group B that had nothing to do with producing the original material. The game company was afraid of getting sued, so they dropped my demo like a hot potato.
Once again, I did three mock-ups for other possible games.
- Boy Meets Worlds: A sci-fi parody epic, in which Corey Matthews (named after the core of the planet Matthews) visits a series of planets and solves adventure game puzzles. In a text-based RPG.
- Herlock Sholmes: The copyright-free Sherlock Holmes parody!
- Pride and Prejudice: Diana Gray and I outlined a game based on the book, and we divided the first six chapters between us. Thirty pages later, we’ve come to the conclusion that our writing styles are vastly different, and it’s incredibly obvious that the story was written by two people.
Six months later, the Sherlock Holmes lawsuit was settled, and I was told I could resume work on my game. By that time, I had completely forgotten the programming language and lost all my notes. So I guess I kinda have two projects I can move forward with, in hopes of having them picked up, but I haven’t touched them in months.