Our first Fringe Buster Critical Screening last night was a complete success, thanks to everybody who came out to discuss A Closed World! The discussion was great, and I can’t wait to do it again next week.
A Closed World is a game from the MIT GAMBIT lab, which is a group trying to explore new directions for the development of video games. Here, they’ve tried to tackle a subject as tricky as homosexuality through the lens of a JRPG-style game.
You begin as a young kid in a JRPG-style fantasy setting and you are told “There are demons in the woods, you must face them … or wander the woods forever.” You are then free to explore the woods, finding artifacts along the way to fight your demons.
The fights themselves are actually arguments with demons that represent the judgement of others about your character’s sexual orientation. You can use Logic, Ethics or Passion to fight back and you either have to wear them down or walk away. You can always take a deep breath and regain your composure, which is what stands in for health in this battle. Otherwise it’s a standard, but very simplified, JRPG battle system.
You can see our playthrough last night captured below. Sorry for the audio issues (you can barely hear my mic). It’s my first time broadcasting this way — I’ll try to get the issues worked out for next time.