For my first creative project I decided to created an IF game with Inform7. During the brainstorming process I kept revisiting the idea of creating an allegorical game such as Passage. I appreciated Passage so much for its simplicity and its message that I decided to create an IF that had the same qualities. I chose to create my game based on the outdoors and hiking because I enjoy them both so much. I came up with “Paths and Gates” and I feel that with the time I spent on it, I created something that was close to what I desired. I do not want to fully reveal the meaning of this work (as Jason Rohrer did with his game here), but I do wish to provide some insight for anyone who plays the game.
The overall message of the game pertains to life and the different “paths” that people take. These paths can be viewed as ways of life (excuse the cliché). I have boiled these paths down to three (the names of the paths are very important to the understanding of each path). Also take note of the description of the trails on the signposts, and pay attention to the size of each trail. Frustration might occur regarding certain gates, but that is not by accident, it is part of the message I am trying to convey. The paths names, as well as their characteristics, are all carefully chosen to depict an aspect of that “path” of life. For example, there is a reason that two of the gates are at the end of the trail, and one gate is at the head of the trail.
The objects you encounter are also allegorical. The keys and the backpack play an integral role in the meaning of the work, namely when one seeks to open the Charis Gate. In the same regard, the point system is also set up in such a way to represent a truth about life (Ok I might have stolen Jason Rohrer’s mentality of the point system in Passage). When I say that these things play an integral role in the meaning of the work, I certainly do not mean that they are essential in winning the game.
Reaching the Summit is the ultimate goal of the game, and truthfully only one trail will take you there. The only way to lose the game is to give up, or to never try taking that trail to the top. Now here’s what I came up with. Happy hiking!