I’ve got a recommendation for a game with a real social conscience—but it may sound odd at first.
In my novel Player Choice, the game designer Glen wants to create a game that will make a difference in the real world. One that empowers its players with a feeling of agency, and inspires them to see the world around them in a new way. If Glen actually existed, I think he’d be pleased with the content of the PC game The Witcher 3.
If you’ve heard of the Witcher game series at all, you probably know it as the one where the white-haired guy goes around killing monsters and sleeping with sorceresses. But let’s put those aspects aside for now. What I find fascinating about The Witcher 3 is the setting: a dark-fantasy world torn apart by wars among different human kingdoms and empires. You’re the guy who sees the effect of these destructive wars on regular people.
In fact, besides the aforementioned monster-killing and sorceress-shagging, your character spends much of the game helping ordinary townsfolk and villagers with their problems. There’s a humanity to the people in this game that is still incredibly rare in video-game storytelling. And players can’t help but come away from the game thinking about the terrible effects of war on regular people, no matter how “glorious” the causes of those wars might be.
This is surely no accident, as the Witcher development team is Polish. Poland’s entire history is a history of suffering from war. From the devastation by the Mongols in the 1200s to the ruination caused by both Nazis and Soviets during World War II, the country of Poland has been at the crossroads of war for a long time. So we can learn a lot from their perspective.
Anyhow. Here’s a heads up about my serialized horror novel, The Pseudo-Chronicles of Mark Huntley! Part 3 (of 4 total) is now available for pre-order, and it’ll release next Tuesday, November 3. Just in time for your local elections, if you’re in the U.S. You’ll find the political undercurrent of Mark Huntley to be . . . relevant, this time of year. 😉 (Start with Part 1 if you’re new to the book.)
I’ll be appearing at an author event in Rochester, N.H., this Sunday, November 1, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. You might also see me if you attend any of the “Writer’s Journey” flagship events during New Hampshire Writers’ Week next month (Nov. 8 – 14), since I organized them and will be attending most of them.