Passionate Game Design

A Dark and Quiet Place

A Dark and Quiet Place is a role-playing game about a person undergoing a metaphorical trial in the form of exploring an abandoned town filled with monsters.  The game consists of two primary phases of play that interrelate.  The first phase is procedural like a board game.  During this phase the protagonist explores the town, collects cryptic clues, confronts monsters and meets other characters who share his predicament.  This board game like phase is cyclical, unending and ever escalating in difficulty.  It represents the protagonist’s core emotional struggles.

The second phase is a more freeform role-playing like experience.  It consists of flashback scenes that develop the back-story of the protagonist and the other characters trapped in the town.  Play cycles back-and-forth between these two phases with the mechanical choices in the first phase yielding resources for affecting outcomes in the second phase.

Play continues until the protagonist player finds the answer to three critical questions about the protagonist: What is he looking for?  What does he have in common with the others trapped in the town?  And ultimately why is he really trapped here?  It is up the protagonist player to honestly and earnestly develop the answer to these questions from the events of play.  Only by answering these questions can the protagonist hope to escape his nightmare.

The game was written for Jonathan Walton’s Stage One design contest in which participants were challenged to create a game based on a video game.  A Dark and Quiet Place is my tribute to the Silent Hill series and in particular Silent Hill 2.  More recently the indie-game Neverending Nightmares speaks to similar themes.

The current working draft of the game can be found here: A Dark and Quiet Place

The other entries in the Stage One contest can be found here: Stage One: The Games

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