I decided to use Twine, in order to create an interactive fiction that deals with the concepts of karma and reincarnation. The interactive fiction can be played by clicking on the link below.
Here is a basic overview of the game from the Twine Editor. Each block contains a large piece of text (you can’t see all of the text because it has been minimized, in order to save space), and the arrows point to where each hyperlink in the interactive fiction leads to. As you can see, there are a lot of paths that can be taken.
A Statement by the Artist:
A few months back, during DiGRA, I listened to somebody talk about this game called Deepak Chopra’s Leela. Apparently, the goal of the game is to play mini-games that help focus your seven chakras. I became very interested in the game because I couldn’t remember ever seeing or playing a game that had such a major focus on spirituality, so for this project, I decided that I would work on something that would also focus on spirituality or other higher powers.
As I was thinking about what I wanted to work on for this project, I realized that most video games don’t focus on what happens when you die. If you die in a game like Halo or Grand Theft Auto, then you get some sort of game over screen, and the game forces you back to a previous checkpoint. There isn’t any kind of video game afterlife, so I figured I could create a game that had some sort of video game afterlife system.
I thought it would be interesting and unique to create a game that had a reincarnation system, but I wasn’t sure how I would implement it. Who or what you are reincarnated into all depends on how you behaved in your previous life, so I knew that I should force the player to make several karmic choices during the course of the game. Karmic events can take a lot of time to create on a visual platform like Flash or Unity, which is something I didn’t have, so I knew that I had to create an interactive fiction. I figured that creating an interactive fiction would allow me to be more creative with my karmic events as well. In order to work on my interactive fiction, I decided to use the application called Twine. This is because Twine has a very visual interface and a hyperlink system that makes creating interactive fictions and playing them very easy. After working with Twine for a while, I finally created an interactive fiction called Karma.
In Karma, the player experiences the lives of 5 different entities: a human, a buck, a hawk, a tree, and a spirit. I tried to make each of these lives as unique and interesting as possible, and during the course of each life, the player must make several different karmic choices that affect the rest of that life’s time. Eventually, each life will end in some way, and once that happens, the player must click on a “Get Reincarnated” hyperlink and get reincarnated into one of the other 4 entities. Which entity the player gets reincarnated into, however, is entirely dependent on the choices he or she made during the karmic events of their previous life (Reincarnation is random, if you are the tree, however. You can’t make many choices when you are a tree).
The five entities you can play as during a playthrough of Karma.