Man, I’m a little baffled about how I actually feel about Elegy for a Dead World mostly because I don’t have time to buy it right fucking now and that makes me absurdly sad after seeing the promo spiel. I caught myself oohing during the first video I watched as the concept slowly dawned on me.
I’ve only watched video and preview animations and it agitated me towards wanting to do something/anything in this world quite a bit. The whole thing is ambitious in a huge way and aims to make you write when prompted by, um, prompts. The basic outline is every insipid piece of educational software ever written and ignored. I really wish that something as multi-dimensional as this would be the sort of thing that kids moved to after the initial fascination with Minecraft (and my 6 year old is absolutely no different in his fascination). I think what put my head in that space initially is that the writing done in the game can be shared and read by other people and you can read the things that other people have written.
My own child is enraptured with Minecraft not because he gets to squirrel a little 8-bit dude around and stack things, but rather because there’s a whole mythology behind the game while is made accessible by a whole planet of YouTube videos that lay out worlds inhabited by the speaking characters in the game that are also engrossed in playing the game. It’s about as meta as I can handle before becoming physically ill. If you could apply that same level of interest to (holy shit, wait for it) reading and (it’s almost as if the popularity of online video and the comments that decorate them hadn’t single handedly destroyed the English language) writing to kids as they’re getting old enough to grow more interested in being able to articulate ideas in a way that isn’t boring, dumb, and stupid and in a format that forces some amount of structure while being stored in a container that isn’t rolled up and smoked immediately after class ends, you’ve got a magical fucking unicorn of a game. I’m kind of curious how the sharing and reading of other writing will work. Stupidly curious even.
All of that said, I have not done anything but pore over marketing materials, but the conceptual part is killer. The unfortunate part is that it’s also fairly easy to dismiss for many of the same reasons: sci fi, writing, and not dwelling in a gear/weapons centered universe. I hope that it gains some real traction or that it inspires other shops to take similar (and awesome) risks instead of just skinning the same goddamned engine in new, sexy, and tedious ways. This is the second thing today that’s made me really happy.