Non-Violent Games + Ideas

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All Visual Novels, especally the romance ones. Clannad, Ef: a fairy tale of the two, Kira Kira, Katawa Shoujo, etc.

Also, many turn-based strategy games technically feature wars without ever explicitly showing violence. You see two soldier figures confronting each other and the numbers next to them representing the armies decreasing, without actually seeing fighting. That is really not much different from chess or Risk.

Also, most God games have a pacifist walkthrough where they are basically colony management sims.

You are the great hero who just vanquished the evil overlord [insert name here] and are now the King/Queen of Fantasy...ia. Now you must actually reign as monarch, do you put your old adventuring buddies as leaders or do you put the tyrant's old henchmen right back were they were? Structure your nation's tax code, and manage laws throughout your dominion.

Darken12:
A game can contain enormous amounts of violence without being a violent game. You could easily play a character with magical or technological "barrier" or "shield" powers whose job is to save and protect as many people as possible from the horrible violence inflicted upon them. The message would be as anti-violence as it comes: A pacifist protagonist who uses non-violent means to protect others from violence. It could also easily be expanded to give more options, such as "banishing" summoned creatures back to where they came from, counterspelling enemy spells, dispelling ongoing harmful effects, short-circuiting and disabling enemy technology, manipulating elemental forces to create natural barriers, slow down foes with cold, detour oncoming flyers or missiles with wind, and so on.

A game like that has exactly the same strategical/fun/challenge/story/etc potential as any other game, but the approach is radically different. And it need not be aimed at children either, I can easily imagine a grimdark "points of light" story woven along the gameplay.

I like that idea... A LOT

First I thought it was reactionary, but your game protagonist DOES stuff, he does not wait for others to get hurt, he tries to stop them from getting hurt. WHY THE HELL HAS NOT ANYBODY MADE THIS?^^

Bara_no_Hime:

Nepukadnezzar:
Actually ... I want both in here^^

Okay then.

My idea is a political intrigue game. It is an RPG but without combat - you talk (choose dialogue options) through encounters. You make alliances, spy on people, and generally use your brain to accomplish your goals. Plus there would be multiple ways to accomplish a given task.

I remember playing a game like this a few years ago. It was fucking terrible. I can't remember what it was called, but it was an open-world rpg where you walk around and talk to people. I think it had something to do with starting a revolution in a Balkan-like state. It had a really cool premise, but it ended up being brutally disappointing. It had a lot of the same mechanics you just mentioned.

I think a big problem about developing a political game is the difficulty of being neutral to different views. Since a lot of people like shoving their views into others' faces, it would be very easy for a developer to do go ahead and do that in their game. I don't want some jackass of a game telling me my approach to things is the wrong way. Even if it actually is. 'Merica.

Nepukadnezzar:
I like that idea... A LOT

First I thought it was reactionary, but your game protagonist DOES stuff, he does not wait for others to get hurt, he tries to stop them from getting hurt. WHY THE HELL HAS NOT ANYBODY MADE THIS?^^

Probably because they think it wouldn't sell.

And it's such a shame too, because you can do so much with that premise. You can have your standard Bioware "Chosen One (and motley crew) against Ultimate Evil" plot, you can have a morality play about a civilisation who refuses not only to be wiped out, but to fall prey to the allure of violence, you can have an idealistic hero succeed in a jaded, cynical and grimdark setting, you can have an in-depth ethical analysis of violence in a Socratic-like story, and many different variations on the theme.

It'd be a great way to show the public in these troubled times that A) Violence can serve an irreplaceable purpose in a story, B) A video game can contain a shocking amount of violence and still be anti-violence, C) Some anti-violence messages need the aforementioned violence in order to lend the message gravitas, and D) Games can tell a deep, soulful story using said violence, with an anti-violence message, and take advantage of the medium's interactivity to achieve an emotional height no other medium is capable of. When you hear a civilian uttering a shell-shocked "Thank you..." after you barely saved them from an agonising death, that accomplishment is yours. It's not the accomplishment of Jill Smith, hero extraordinaire, but yours. You saved them, and that feeling has the potential to surpass those elicited by a movie or book.

So basically, it could be a big middle finger to anyone who says "games can't be art" and "violent video games teach people to be violent."

rasputin0009:
I remember playing a game like this a few years ago. It was fucking terrible. I can't remember what it was called, but it was an open-world rpg where you walk around and talk to people. I think it had something to do with starting a revolution in a Balkan-like state. It had a really cool premise, but it ended up being brutally disappointing. It had a lot of the same mechanics you just mentioned.

Well, it would require good writing. It sounds like the game you are talking about failed in that department.

Also... what was the name of the game you played? I'd give it a shot even if it wasn't great.

TheTransgenderedGamer:

Bara_no_Hime:

TheTransgenderedGamer:
And that's why until video game RPG's catch up, tabletop excels in this area.

The sad thing is, the closest game to achieving this - made more than 10 years ago now - is Planescape: Torment. We've been sliding the wrong direction since then.

Also, I noticed that your game idea was similar to mine, except yours had Rowen Atkinson in it. Well played.

Well, I feel there's a genuine lack of "smart comedy" in gaming. I'm not talking about over the top slapstick, "pop cultural references," or just snark, I'm talking more something along the lines... of... well... Blackadder. Or even Yes, Minister. But more Blackadder.

I'd like gaming humour to incorporate a bit more legitimate wit, and I can only think of a handful of comedy oriented games that have ever really pulled that off. Don't get me wrong, I also do love over the top slapstick or silliness (I'm a huge fan of the Paper Mario series, for example), I'd just like different varieties of humour in my comedy games.

Comedy is really hard to do for a videogame. Probably harder than stand-up. Because you need to both write great comedy while also presenting it well. That's why a lot of comedy writers stay behind the screen while a lot of comedy actors don't pick up a pen. And it's very rare that those two come together perfectly. An honorable mention would be MediEvil: Resurrection for the PSP. It was clever. It was mainly silly but it had a lot of dark humor mixed in.

Bara_no_Hime:

rasputin0009:
I remember playing a game like this a few years ago. It was fucking terrible. I can't remember what it was called, but it was an open-world rpg where you walk around and talk to people. I think it had something to do with starting a revolution in a Balkan-like state. It had a really cool premise, but it ended up being brutally disappointing. It had a lot of the same mechanics you just mentioned.

Well, it would require good writing. It sounds like the game you are talking about failed in that department.

Also... what was the name of the game you played? I'd give it a shot even if it wasn't great.

I'd tell you if I remembered. I bought it at least 5 years ago for like $5 and I probably threw it in the garbage. It might have the word "revolution" in it. And the box art had a clenched fist like Metallica's St. Anger album cover on a red and white rising sun background. I'm pretty sure it was made somewhere in the continent of Europe and then translated to English. That's all I can help with. Hopefully these Dan Brown clues can help you.

rasputin0009:
I'd tell you if I remembered. I bought it at least 5 years ago for like $5 and I probably threw it in the garbage. It might have the word "revolution" in it. And the box art had a clenched fist like Metallica's St. Anger album cover on a red and white rising sun background. I'm pretty sure it was made somewhere in the continent of Europe and then translated to English. That's all I can help with. Hopefully these Dan Brown clues can help you.

**does some google searches**

No luck so far. There are a LOT of games with revolution in the title, and Deus Ex keeps spamming all my searches.

Anyone else have any idea what game this is? I am curiouser and curiouser.

Edit: I just checked Good Old Games for titles with Revolution and came up empty. Also, none of the RPGs had a red fist on the cover that I saw.

Darken12:
snip

Bara_no_Hime:
snip

I think the problem with those game ideas is, if it is executed properly it needs a lot more time to write the game. I mean a triple A game needs a lot of programming, playtesting, game designing, art, etc. that a very complex game in that regard might cost significantly more with less probability of success.

I mean ... for Draken you need a whole new style of game design to make it feel like an accomplishment that those are safe. They cannot just disappear in addition with a lot of gameplay mechanics that "defeat" (I do not want to use this word here) the enemy peacefully without getting dull (They managed it with shooters and all you do is shooting)

And for Bara_no_Hime (does this name mean princess something?) it would be nearly impossible to write a game like that without being a visual novel with pretexted answers to pretexted problems. If it was possible to pull of a greater problem and various ways of solving with AI reacting to it, it would be awesome. Or just so many pretexted possibilites that nobody would care if it is pretexted (does the word pretexted exist?)

Porn games. Violence is cool and all, but sex is even cooler. Unless you go the BSDM route, theres no violence, and its literally happy times for everyone.

Captcha: "Shakers and movers" even captcha has the right idea!

EDIT: Also, if you call sex physical competition, then you're doing it wrong ;)

Nepukadnezzar:
I think the problem with those game ideas is, if it is executed properly it needs a lot more time to write the game. I mean a triple A game needs a lot of programming, playtesting, game designing, art, etc. that a very complex game in that regard might cost significantly more with less probability of success.

I mean ... for Draken you need a whole new style of game design to make it feel like an accomplishment that those are safe. They cannot just disappear in addition with a lot of gameplay mechanics that "defeat" (I do not want to use this word here) the enemy peacefully without getting dull (They managed it with shooters and all you do is shooting)

That's pretty much why it needs to have variety of options. And no, I don't see how it necessitates greater playtesting than a regular old strategy game, tower defence or RPG like Mass Effect, Dragon Age and so on. So long as it has a solid story and sufficient variety of mechanics (and, of course, a certain degree of care taken to ensure that the player feels tangibly rewarded (emotionally, not materially) for their actions), it will be well-received. And I don't think that's asking for too much. It doesn't need top-notch graphics or multiplayer. It can easily be an indie project.

A Weakgeek:
Porn games. Violence is cool and all, but sex is even cooler. Unless you go the BSDM route, theres no violence, and its literally happy times for everyone.

Captcha: "Shakers and movers" even captcha has the right idea!

EDIT: Also, if you call sex physical competition, then you're doing it wrong ;)

I would like to have an argument against your statement. But I cannot think of any.

Let's call it team exercise.

Darken12:

Nepukadnezzar:
I think the problem with those game ideas is, if it is executed properly it needs a lot more time to write the game. I mean a triple A game needs a lot of programming, playtesting, game designing, art, etc. that a very complex game in that regard might cost significantly more with less probability of success.

I mean ... for Draken you need a whole new style of game design to make it feel like an accomplishment that those are safe. They cannot just disappear in addition with a lot of gameplay mechanics that "defeat" (I do not want to use this word here) the enemy peacefully without getting dull (They managed it with shooters and all you do is shooting)

That's pretty much why it needs to have variety of options. And no, I don't see how it necessitates greater playtesting than a regular old strategy game, tower defence or RPG like Mass Effect, Dragon Age and so on. So long as it has a solid story and sufficient variety of mechanics (and, of course, a certain degree of care taken to ensure that the player feels tangibly rewarded (emotionally, not materially) for their actions), it will be well-received. And I don't think that's asking for too much. It doesn't need top-notch graphics or multiplayer. It can easily be an indie project.

You make it seem pretty dumb that this has not already been made.
If there would not be some deep prejudice that deems this type of game to fail (which I do not think indie-devs have) there is no valid point for it not to have already been made (is that english? ;P)

Nepukadnezzar:
And for Bara_no_Hime (does this name mean princess something?) it would be nearly impossible to write a game like that without being a visual novel with pretexted answers to pretexted problems. If it was possible to pull of a greater problem and various ways of solving with AI reacting to it, it would be awesome. Or just so many pretexted possibilites that nobody would care if it is pretexted (does the word pretexted exist?)

Well, Planescape Torment did a pretty good job of allowing you to problem solve entirely based on dialogue. Yes, there's a combat engine, and yes you can ALSO fight most encounters rather than talking through them, but it is perfectly possible. You just have to put in a TON of dialogue.

A game without voice acting (or minimal voice acting) would be a must. In modern AAA game design, that's practically insane, but it is probably how it would have to be.

As far as getting bored - well, too bad. Yes, it would bore some players. If you were looking for something filled with action, this game would not be it. This game would be closer to a visual novel, but a visual novel is just a choose-your-own-adventure book. This game would have quest lines (like Skyrim) with branching dialogue trees. It might have a text-heavy element LIKE a visual novel, but it most certainly wouldn't be one.

Plus, you WOULD have other abilities. Stealth, for instance, for spying. If you got caught, you'd have to talk your way out of a situation. If you failed, you might be asked to leave, you might reveal to the enemy that you've heard their plan (causing them to change it?), or you might be publicly shamed, making it harder for you to talk people into things in the future.

As far as the dialogue trees go, perhaps something like the Deus Ex conversation challenge system? It was (very) flawed, but it was a good idea at the core.

Ideally, this would be a project to start small. An Indy title where voice acting isn't expected. And one where a focus on writing wouldn't go amiss.

Nepukadnezzar:
You make it seem pretty dumb that this has not already been made.
If there would not be some deep prejudice that deems this type of game to fail (which I do not think indie-devs have) there is no valid point for it not to have already been made (is that english? ;P)

You might be overestimating the gaming industry. :P

Even indie devs get stuck inside a box when it comes to certain gameplay aspects. Most non-violent games are both typically aimed at children (or use bright and PG aesthetics and themes) and are wholly non-violent (that is, if the player can't use violence, it's very rare for anyone else to be able to use violence). Neither are really good examples of pacifism or anti-violence statements. It's not a very virtuous thing to use non-violent methods when you don't have the option to use violence in the first place (and especially when nobody's doing violence against you). Pacifism isn't virtuous in a world without violence; it only becomes an admirable ideal when you choose non-violence in a violent world.

I don't blame game devs for not really tapping into that. Violence is very second-nature for the entertainment industry as a whole (and Western society in general) and it's hard to break out of our social conditioning.

Bara_no_Hime:
snip

That's it, I'm buying Planescape Torment.

As with all the diplomacy as a game mechanic, with a game as complex as this, if the main villain is written well, I want the possibility to punch him in the face (damn that violence)
It might be ineffective, but just for my satisfaction (maybe as a dialogue option)

You make it sound pretty dumb of everyone for not making a game like this again.

Nepukadnezzar:
That's it, I'm buying Planescape Torment.

As with all the diplomacy as a game mechanic, with a game as complex as this, if the main villain is written well, I want the possibility to punch him in the face (damn that violence)
It might be ineffective, but just for my satisfaction (maybe as a dialogue option)

You make it sound pretty dumb of everyone for not making a game like this again.

You haven't played it yet?

It's available on Good Old Games for **checks** ten bucks. A little pricy for a game that old, but it's still quite popular. Not sure if it will go on sale again soon (I believe it was on sale a while back, but I already have a copy).

If you get it, I highly recommend maxing out your Wisdom at character creation. Opens more dialogue options and causes you to level faster, allowing you to increase your stats more. Charisma and Intelligence are your next two priorities. Physicals stats are all but meaningless.

And yes, you have the option to punch the final boss in the face. Punching daggers are the weapon of choice for the Nameless One. Or you can talk the final boss to death. Your choice. I save-spammed to try all the different final boss methods and get the various endings. I have a personal favorite ending that I usually get now when I replay.

Edit: Oh, and make sure to talk to your party members. You have to actually initiate conversations with them. Do so from time to time - they have some very interesting things to say.

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