Slivers of Silver is a series of 8 posts exploring various game concepts. It is based on a recent road trip through Nevada, titled Beyond the Neon, taking place in December 2015. You can read all of those currently published on QM here. This series is dedicated to the author’s road trip companions, poets Jason, Libby, and Justine.
Twenty five. A short game, one that lasts mere minutes. In this game, you are following a major highway. At some point you have the option of leaving the highway. You have spotted a power line that leads off into the distance. If you choose to continue forward, the game will end abruptly. If you choose to the follow the power line, you will be forced to confront other players who have done the same. This game requires an Internet connection to play.
Twenty six. A side scroller that requires you to discover what exactly is flying above the screen. Unfortunately you have no way to get up except by climbing across a mountain range, and hoping you will hit a peak that can throw you over the edge of your current perspective. Unfortunately, the gamer who is playing the character will not have the same access to such privilege.
Twenty seven. The context: a crossfire. In this brutal, modern-day variation on Paper Boy, you encounter a desert gunfight that will in fact kill you. Unfortunately you cannot turn around due to inclement weather barring the road’s width from being adequate for such maneuvering. And so you must continue forward, taking care not to be killed by a single bullet from these angry individuals.
Twenty eight. Have you ever trafficked illegal drugs before? Now is your chance in this amazing simulator. Featuring photo-realistic environments with temperature and other climate-based systems of control, you will have the chance to survive a walk through the desert. Unfortunately that means you will need to avoid law enforcement who have been searching for you for some time now. Use the snow and natural flora to keep you protected so that you can successfully deliver the goods.
Twenty nine. Similar to Brokeback Mountain, this non-violent “game” involves two players who, in this virtual world, have the capability of fostering a romance and/or sexual relationship while living in isolation in the high desert. Customization can include: gender and sex of each player, time period of the game universe, and player professions. If players do not become attracted to each other, platonic and working relationships can also exist. There is no time limit in this game; however, as in the tangible reality, the characters of the game can fall ill, can become violent, and can experience accidents. Be careful out there.
Thirty. This traditional role-playing game allows one of eight scenarios (including Alien, Serial Killer, Bigfoot, etc.) to take place in the high desert of Nevada. The game requires at least four players, who can connect via an online or local server, and one “game master” who will run the game. More of an open virtual world (sandbox style) than anything else, this game allows players to role-play stories comparable to those founds in the acclaimed X-Files show. The most provocative element of this platform is the ability to play through multiple narratives in very-familiar surroundings.
Thirty one. You have decided to meet an old contact at the top of a treacherous, snow-covered mountain. There are multiple scenarios available in this game, including: childhood nemesis, first lover, father of the child, etc. Upon choosing the scenario, the player will drive his character to the base of the mountain while the character goes through inner monologues that describe the history of the relationship with the old contact, and thus setup the “quest” or “mission” that the player must go through. After arriving to the mountain, the player will be required to ascend the mountain to meet the contact, and can gather items of value along the path. For example, meeting an old loved one might be aided by gathering wildflowers along the way, while stones might be better to defeat the villain in the assassin scenario.
Thirty two. In this game, the player has only one function: to choose the soundtrack that will play during their horrible death. The player chooses one of eight different songs to play as their last song, which is played in the game during a road trip through the desert. At the climax of the song, which could be hip-hop, country, rock and roll, etc., the player’s car drives around a corner and smashes head on into a drunk driver’s oncoming car, which is on the wrong side of the road.
Greg Bem is a contributing writer and the current Gaming Editor of QM. He is a librarian, technologist, gamer, and adventurer.