Turn out the lights.

Hey there. Been quiet for a week, and likely to be for another week, because we’re about to move cross-country to Seattle.

(Incidental note: anybody out there living in Seattle want to hire a guy who’s pretty okay at writing to do… anything? Just let me know.)

So the lights here are dimmed for a little while, which…

… huh. Light.That’s interesting. Light is important; we use it to see, and sight is pretty keen. Sight takes up a lot of the brain’s processing power. Light is one of those metaphors which cross cultural boundaries… light is good and knowledge, dark is evil (or at least suspect) or ignorance. But how often is light used as a gaming tool, beyond the obvious “make sure there’s enough to see everything”?

Offhand, I can think of exactly one: Jackson Tegu’s delightfully nutty Game Chef contribution: Handle With Care. Takes place in the dark, in a city of cardboard boxes, where the players are giant monsters or a municipal light truck and just read it already.

Done? Back? Okay, well, I haven’t played the game… I don’t have the space or the boxes… but I’m keying onto the interplay of light and dark and the power structure it creates. The holder of the light is empowered, literally, because his output can destroy monsters. That’s great! There’s an emotional impact tied to a literal force! That’s one of my favorite things, the overlap of the physical universe and the game narrative. It’s not tactile, technically, but it’s got the same benefits of tactile game interactions… narrative being re-enforced at a gut level.

What else could this be used for? My heart is suggesting a crime and punishment angle… more specifically, a vigilante justice angle. Perhaps one with mechanics that center around the manipulation and trade of cards, which are invisible in the dark and only revealed when the lights come on, freezing the narrative. RIGHT, we have narrative that occurs in the dark and mechanics which occur when the lights are on, that could be interesting…

… oh wait, I’m supposed to be talking about how I’m not going to be posting for a week or two. Right. Turning out the lights for a little bit… I’ll try to have something fun to say when I get back.

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