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I don’t play video games. I tried when I was a kid.  At the insistence of my brothers, “Santa” brought us one of the first Nintendo game consoles in 1986.  We spent hours in the basement family room, sitting on the brown, marbleized carpet in front of the TV, shooting clay pigeons in Duck Hunt.
While my brothers moved on to master Donkey Kong Jr. and Super Mario Brothers, I lost interest.  I found myself in front of our PC Jr., wandering around the world of Sir Graham in King’s Quest I: Quest for the Crown.  The universe of that game captured my imagination more than any game our Nintendo came with.  I still remember approaching the little cottage, and my excitement at knowing I could go inside of it.  There, finding the inhabitants, I was greeted with “Welcome to our humble abode.”

When I saw the posting for writers wanted at Chromed for March 32nd, I knew I had to get in on this project because of the short sentence at the end noting “experience with games like King’s Quest a plus.”  Turns out, that’s really my only experience with games.  Since my 5th grade adventures in the land of Daventry, I’d abandoned games altogether for the world of theatre.  My writing credits, aside from a few terrible poems I published in college, are plays.

Now that I’ve got my toe in the world of games, I am realizing that writing for these two seemingly disparate forms of entertainment involves all the same important elements: a good story, an intriguing, evocative world, compelling and complex characters, and, ultimately, a strong group of collaborators, each with something unique to offer to the final project.  The biggest difference from a writer’s perspective, though, is that the player gets to choose the adventure, not me.  And thank god for that.  As a playwright, I sit alone, obsessively asking myself, “What if…”  And how do I know if I’ve made the kind of decisions that an audience will find compelling?  This “what if,” in an adventure game, is where the writer and the player converge.  We both ask “what if,” but ultimately, unlike writing a play, you decide the answer, not me.  Duh.  It’s a game, after all.

So now I’m all grown up, and though I still do love the world of fairytales, I long for worlds and stories that reflect the complexity and chaos of human experience.  This dark, urban fable that is March 32nd is the kind of game that I would and will play, even though I’m writing it.

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