Will o’ Wisp

About a month ago, Mattie Brice tweeted about how she’d like to see a game where you play as a forest sprite who lures travelers into dating you. That got me thinking about will o’ wisps, which led me to create this short game in RPGMaker VX Ace. I liked the idea of playing as something that is usually a background object. The game becomes deciding what the fate of what would normally be another game’s protagonist will be.

Your goal is to protect the fairy treasure from human hands. Using your irresistible desirability, you get humans to follow you. Once they’re hooked, you can lead them away, or into the jaws of many different solutions. Curse them, spook them, seduce them, kill them, whatever it takes to protect your gold. Of course, if you end up liking them a lot, there may be a way to forsake your mission for them.

After my last fairy-tale inspired game (Mother She Killed Me Father He Ate Me) I discovered the absolutely amazing tumblr Medieval People of Color. I had used an all white cast in that game because it simply hadn’t occurred to me, and if it had I probably would have just said that since it was based on a Grimm fairy tale that could justify not taking the time to include POC. After taking in the wonderfully researched and cited artwork and papers, I resolved to never make that lazy mistake again. The people you lead around are equally likely to be POC. Also, as with Benthic love, you can create a queer ending if you wish. I’m not saying this to get kudos or anything, because honestly it was the bare minimum of effort I could do. I’m saying that if you make a game without any marginalized characters, or the option to create a woman/POC/LGBT protagonist, you are literally lazier than me. That is not a high bar to reach.

I’m not entirely satisfied with this game. I kind of wish I had gone more abstract. Maybe even without any dialogue. I think the fun of a game like this is as a vehicle for the player to create their own stories. You’re deciding the fate of this random traveler, and so you get to decide if they are doomed or saved, if they are to be a king or a pauper, a lover or a loser. I don’t care how you play, but I would want you to think about what stories you are making. I think I could have done more to lead the player in that direction.

I also don’t know how happy I am working with RPGMaker in general. Next time I use that engine I’m definitely going to be making my own resources rather than using the RTP resources or fan made custom resources in the same style.

None of this should stop you from playing this game though! The game is fun and filled with secrets to discover. You also get to murder people or smooch people depending on how you feel. Cathartic! Interactivity! Video Games!

Hell, you know what would be fun? Play this game, then make your own game about one of the travelers you led around. Use this game as just a single event in their life and continue forward or backward from there. Use this game as a tool to create a new story! Seriously, if anyone does that I will host your game and think you are the coolest.

Download Link

Controls: Arrow keys to move, space bar to interact with something

Update: I’ve already found a few bugs since releasing this game and corrected them. As with all my games, there are probably some more bugs. Please let me know any you find and I’ll patch the game accordingly.

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5 Responses to Will o’ Wisp

  1. Clint Emsley says:

    Oh crap i really like the idea of making additional games with the character. gonna play this and maybe do that? I think I bought RPGMaker VX Ace a while ago.

    • joffeorama says:

      It would seriously be cool. Especially if then someone made a new game from some event in yours. A daisy chain of RPG narratives.

      • Clint Emsley says:

        Played this finally today, it’s really cute! I like the idea of exploring other characters in an RPG that don’t usually get the spotlight.

        I led a woman who wanted to save her family farm out of the forest because I couldn’t bring myself to murder her, haha. I’m going to make a game about her visit to a town afterwards from the point of view of a merchant. I’ll let you know when it’s done 🙂

      • Clint Emsley says:

        Oh, and I really liked the variety of traps and things. I found a forgetful fountain, a man-eating plant, and I seduced at least 4 adventurers. I tried to get them stuck in that marshy swamp with the bones in it but they didn’t seem to want to go in (wisely). Come to think of it, I meant to lead someone to the treasure just to see what would happen but didn’t get around to it. Oops.

        I also liked the idea that this is just a will o’wisp’s job, like, hey get to work leading adventurers into death traps and things. It’s not some sort of mystical quest or anything, just what needs to get done.

  2. Pingback: Abnormal Mapping 19: Gameography: Mike Joffe | Abnormal Mapping

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