Friday, 7 August 2015

Inside Out: playing (on) our emotions

Inside Out is beautifully done and I only cried twice.

And because I inevitably go this way, I got to thinking about its huge setting inside a little space.

There are already games where you play one character’s emotions and memories, like the indie game Everyone Is John (soon to get a new edition apparently) where the PCs are the warring disassociative identities of one guy all trying to get him to follow their obsessions, and (because gamers) Khaotic, where the PCs are a group of personalities uploaded into a giant monster-hunting cyborg assassin. Neither of them are directly like Inside Out though, as they’re about who controls the body the PCs all inhabit.

Both are mentioned in this RPGnet thread about playing something like 90s sitcom Herman’s Head, the biggest antecedent in US culture (The Numskulls from The Beano not being a big breakout hit, while Inside Out director Pete Docter working on a similar EPCOT ride is a more direct connection).

The story gets out of the headquarters pretty quickly, and travels around different parts of the mind. (There were more than we get to see in various stages of development, so those are adventure hooks going spare, like the feuding departments of Names and Faces.) Adventures like this are not uncommon - usually taking the PCs inside someone’s dreams, an area which Inside Out visits in one sequence, or moving through their memories to find some vital knowledge, which it touches on indirectly while showing the importance of memory.

How would you run an adventure or campaign set in someone’s head?

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