Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Symbolism of Deserts

I made a bunch of online games many years ago, and the setting for each one was super important. The style of game was like a minimalist statistical adventure game, and I tried hard to make the theme function well with the mechanics. (Read about theme in game design) I also decided that games, like any human creation, can have meanings and mythic relevance to our lives, and I tried to think through some of the symbols and meaning in my games. Over the next few months, I will post little pieces about particular ideas.

Today's theme is 'The Desert'

The desert is a place where all extraneous things are stripped away. Life is reduced to some of its bare requirements. You get to examine some core concepts directly, without the interference of society. Life, death, eating, breeding, building a social structure.

The deserts found in my online games are hinted at being not 'natural' deserts, but deserts left behind by some terrible cataclysm that occurred in the world. There are old bunkers and robots in the midst of the wilderness. Nobody knows where they are from exactly. These deserts represent a chance to start over, a chance to build new societies, and contain warnings to people of what didn't work before.