From Big Think:
Confession: I’ve been trying to finish a screenplay for almost a year. I have an outlet for it, it can help my career — I’m just terrified it’ll be crap. So here I am, picking at the thing, crippling my prospects instead of making it happen. It’s Writer’s Block. And fear. And a big damn problem.
I think this video game might be my solution.
Elegy for a Dead World is a game we’ve written about but never played before. Created by indie developers Dejobaan Games, Elegy puts players in the position of an astronaut exploring three beautiful, abandoned worlds. All are colorful and rich, but desolate and broken. Their designs are inspired by three landmark poems: Ozymandius by Percy Shelley, When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be by John Keats, and Darkness by Lord Byron. It is the astronaut’s – and player’s – job to investigate each world, catalogue the remains, and piece together the mysteries of each civilization by completing 27 writing challenges. The worlds are merely prompts for writing, and the goal of the game as Dejobaan sees is it is “everyone can write.”
So I gave it a shot.
“You begin on Shelley’s World, now devoid of life,” Dejobaan explains on the site. “A bloated, red sun scorches a landscape of towers, sculptures, and cryptic machinery.”
. . . .
I know Ozymandius, but I remember nothing about burned skies and broken machinery in it. As I walked through an empty planet full of wreckage, the wreckage implied a story. That was a puzzle in need of a solution, as Dejobaan explains:
Each world offers multiple sets of prompts. Each intended to inspire you to write a different story about it. Elegy might ask you to write a short story about an individual’s final days, a song about resignation, or a poem about war… we like to think of those as puzzles — writing yourself out of a corner, so to speak.
The first prompt didn’t match up with the poem. Neither did any of the others. With no other clues to go by save what I saw, I wandered the desolation forced to stitch together an answer myself.
I started filling in the prompts. Small ones at first. Timidly. Blathering words out through my fingers as quickly as they popped into my head. They were silly. They were on the nose. They were crap. But they were writing, and they were helping me advance through the level.
. . . .
From there, I played my way through the other two worlds. The Keats world was colorful and bright, like a Bob Ross painting of a Miyazaki film. It’s prompts were more abstract and personal than the Shelley one, asking me to do things like write a letter back home and write a song. Truthfully, it took me a few passes to get comfortable with those prompts. They were more personal and required more reflection and vulnerability than I expected to put into this game. Writing those prompts was much harder than simply writing observations about the scenery, especially since the scenery was so cheery and the prompts were decidedly not. But they were a good stretch for my creative muscles, and jibed well with the screenplay I need to finish. I appreciated the challenge.
Link to the rest at Big Think and thanks to Dave for the tip.