Often, as creators, we take inspiration from the myths, legends, or work of those who came before us – game developer Ziba Scott has taken that to a whole new level with the game Elegy for a Dead World, available on Steam (a gaming platform that any serious computer gamer should have).
Elegy for a Dead World visualizes for us the end-of-world poetry of three British romantic poets – Byron, Shelley, and Keats. We, the player, are immersed in the worlds of these lost civilizations and are instructed to keep a diary that we send back to the homeworld (a communal archive of sorts on Steam that other players can see) with our observations – in the form of stories, poetry, songs, etc. We can choose if to tell ‘their story’, ‘my story’, or keep a ‘scientific journal’. The game itself guides you through these worlds as you explore via constant side-scrolling motion, and can prompt you to construct various literature. You can edit your prose before sending it to the homeland for good, to make sure it’s as cohesive and stunning as possible. Other players can view your entry and rate it – and you, in turn, can see if others saw the same story that you did in these ancient worlds. No rush, however, to ‘publish’ your work; the game never requires you to make your work visible to other players unless you wish to.
The game is different from the typical gaming experience in almost every possible way – there are no levels or quests, no time limits and no way to be wrong or lose. But Elegy for a Dead World could be the kind of alternative gaming experience many would enjoy as an introduction to creative storytelling, by prompting them with gorgeous imagery based off of the work of three master writers. It seems like a great way to combat writer’s block and a great introduction to descriptive, imaginative writing for those new to the craft and unsure of what to write about. I can’t wait to get exploring when I have some free time myself!