The lights are on
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Hello everyone, and welcome to day 13 of my 31/31! I’ve been having a crazy past few days, especially with traveling going on. In addition to that, my family recently expanded, making me wonder what my house is going to be like this last year I’m there before college. So the thoughts about home naturally wondered into thoughts about homes in gaming. Gaming is something that has a multitude of beautiful locations. Unseen worlds, crazy creatures, and places as diverse as the imaginations of the games creators themselves are something we get to experience. Yet, it always seems that the home aspect of gaming is ignored. If home is where the heart is, then why does it seem to be ignored so frequently? The first thing that comes to mind is the concept of adventure. Ever since we were little kids, many people like to imagine themselves off, out of the house on a grand adventure. Heck, that’s how I’m feeling about going to college right now. However, a home can be a unique place in its own. Here’s a few arguments for the inclusion of more home-related plots in gaming:-Families often have the craziest characters: This is a known fact among many people. Just the dynamics of having to live with someone can breathe more life into a character than a few hours worth of dialogue. Gamers often refer to Nintendo’s Miyamoto as a “crazy, fun-uncle type figure in the gaming family”. This analogy alone is not only accurate, but also reflects just how interesting family figures can be.
-Families can make entertaining stories: Just look at the T.V. show Duck Dynasty. While yes, we might not all have families like that, it does go to show that the best stories can start right at home. You live together, you laugh together, you eat together, and you share moments together. The characters in a family often already have a deep connection with one another, so this helps them relate to one another.
-Homes have nostalgia: Looking at not just the family aspect, but the location aspect as well. Thinking back to the movie “Monster House”, a house can easily have a personality of its own. It’s a classic setting for a horror game, and it can also do double duty for being a supporting location in an adventure or sports game. Just think how cool a sports game would be if the “Be a Player” modes could find a way to incorporate training at home.
-Houses often have interesting neighborhoods around them as well: Again, taking the location aspect into account, houses can be a part of something bigger. The aim of this blog isn’t to convince you to think that a game should feature a house as a game location exclusively, rather it is to show my thoughts as to why I think it can be a great supporting location, and why I think they should be included more. For example, a game that does a great job showing location through neighborhoods is Animal Crossing. In the game, you go through simple tasks while attempting to coexist with fellow animal inhabitants of your area. Despite the simple plot, the game still manages to create fun and interesting gameplay in my opinion.
-Homes are relatable: While everyone has a different housing situation, some with big homes, some with none at all, everyone has a place that they go back to when all is said and done in the day. This is a huge help to the story of a game, and just creates a bigger emotional connection with the gamer. In addition to this, homes have the flexibility of being generic enough that they can be a clean slate. The sheer flexibility that a house can provide is astounding. It can be eerie, it can be cheerful, it can be whatever you want it to be. While many may argue that the change of pace that a setting outside a home brings a greater development in a character, I believe that some of the best stories of development can take place at home. Take Pokémon for example; while we may jolt off to become the Pokémon master after leaving the house at a frighteningly young age, many of our experiences involving the creatures occur before we even turn the power on, when the character might be watching a gym battle on T.V. I for one, would love to see a game in the series include some focus on the time spent as a youngster at home. The inspiration for this came from Pokémon Ruby, where the player has a dad who’s a gym leader. After seeing that, I’ve wanted this to happen ever since. Well, that’s all for today’s blog. Do you agree with my thoughts? Disagree? What are your favorite memories of home, and do you think they would translate well into a game? Feel free to leave a comment, and I’ll respond as soon as I can. As always, thank you so much for reading.