Diary of a Madman Pitch
For summer game group:
What would you call the game (not final by any means)?
Diary of a Madman or 吃人 (eat people)
What genre(s) would you put it in? ex. (Action, puzzle, RPG, 2D/3D platformer, historical drama)
What’s the story? Do you have any ideas for a main character(s), or a plotline?
It would be based off the story Diary of a Madman by Lu Xun. In it, the protagonist first notices people acting strangely around town. He then begins to think that they want to eat him. After studying confucian culture and old books, the madman begins to see the words “Eat People” written in the books. He believes all potential allies are cannibals including his own brother. Towards the end of the story he is concerned that his brother had fed him his five year old sister who had died as a child. Ends the story with “Save the children…” This story was based off the idea that a madman could see reality more clearly than the others. Although they were not eating people in the story, Confucian classics did include some references to cannibalism in particular in relation to filial piety, and so the point was an ironic attack on traditional Chinese culture.
This story is written in a diary setting. I think progressing through an old Chinese town collecting the pages so you could get the whole story would be a base mechanic. Talking to villagers to find out more and trying to decide just how mad this “madman” is. Possibly you are the doctor (character in OG story) and trying to decide if he is truly insane and should be hospitalized or if he is right.
What is the setting? (Time period, location, etc)
What sort of ambience/aesthetic are you imagining? (e.g. Art style, soundscape, music, UI style) Pictures are good too!
New Woodcut movement was very involved with the author Lu Xun and the call for New Culture.
Zheng Yi Fe, Fight (1993)
Li Hua, China, Roar! (1935)
Li Yitai, Portrait of Lu Xun, 1974
Hu Yichuan, To the Front (1932)
What’s the core game loop? (If you aren’t sure, a description of what the gameplay would be like is fine!)
Player walks around town collecting diary pages and speaking to villagers. They slowly piece together bits and pieces of the true story as they progress. Maybe each day (to give discrete markers), they go to check on the protagonist of the book and do a quick exam (mental/physical) to see his decline. At the end of the game, (maybe after like 3 or 4 days?) the brother will ask you if he should hospitalize his brother. This is your final decision.
Would the game have any unique mechanics? If so, what are they? (Leave blank if you aren’t sure)
Uh. Not mechanically? Unique shader/storyline. Toeing the line of insanity as an idea.
Inspirations/References: Feel free to insert or link any songs/sounds/images/sketches here!
Diary of a Madman and other stories by LuXun
Any woodcut by the New Woodcut Movement
New Culture Movement
Simplified Chinese rather than Traditional
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Do you have any other ideas not covered above?
My main problem is a lot of western audiences would have no idea on the basics of Confucianism/Chinese culture of the time. It would be super educational, but also probably a little tough. The base idea of a madman who sees reality more clearly than those around him I think could prove interesting. A lot of historical research would have to be done to do this project justice.
*Thank you to Trento Von Lindenberg for the outline!