|Summer 2011 Prototype | JRPG | Adobe Flash (Windows / Macintosh*)|
Have you ever been so frustrated, so fed up with where you are, that you just want to throw it all away and run off to somewhere new? In A Closed World you play as a young person who has decided to do exactly that. This console RPG-like game puts you in the shoes of a young resident of a village just outside a forest that everyone says is a place of no return. Supposedly home to hungering demons and a beast that would destroy the village, the forest is forbidden and nobody knows what's on the other side. However, our hero's beloved -- tired of the oppressive attitude of the villagers -- decided to go there, as anywhere would be better than home. Now it's your turn to follow after. Are you willing to risk everything to find out what's on the other side?
A Closed World was created to be a digital game that deals with queer issues, something that's very uncommon in games right now. Game designers and marketing professionals alike have cited a number of reasons for this, ranging from a perception of institutional homophobia in game culture to a genuine desire on the part of game designers to "get it right" and create games with compelling queer content, rather than feeling that the element is merely "tacked on" in the end. The goal of this research was to present the design team with the challenge of creating a game that had this compelling queer content, and to observe the ideas and hardships they considered and encountered along the way, so that we could learn more about how to approach those challenges in other design contexts. The project left the ultimate message of the game open to the creators; what was important to discover were the challenges the team faced trying to include queer content in the game, and the strategies they used to tell the story they wanted to tell. The result is a game that asks us to carefully consider what we think of as "normal," and what is needed to live in the world and be true to one's self.