Monday Memories: Storybook Weaver

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday everyone!

Going down Memory Lane again this week with another Monday Memories. This time, it’s about an old game that has helped shaped my being even through today.

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If you really know me, you’d know my loves are chocolate, animals, video games, and writing. It was actually video games — Legend of Zelda, to be exact — that inspired me to start writing. I still have my original Legend of Zelda fanfiction notebooks tucked away. They exist solely to prove to myself how much I’ve improved in writing over the years.

Yet, I recently remembered another game that had prompted my love of writing even before those old fanfictions became a thing. Way back in 1994, a game called Storybook Weaver was published for Windows and Mac computers. This game allowed you to create a story with pictures. The pre-made backgrounds and characters were available for the top half of the “page,” while the bottom half of the page was space for you to type your enticing tale.

My stories tended to be about three sisters who, of course, were based off of my sisters and myself. Our old dog Casey, an English springer spaniel, also tended to have starring roles in these stories. There were a plethora of sprites available to represent us all, including seasonal sprites in case you needed to have a snowy scene in your story.

Pretty sure part of my favorite aspect of the game was just imagining the pictures, creating my dream bedroom with the sprites while imagining a story to go along with it. Thinking on it, Storybook Weaver may have also been partly responsible for me dipping my toes into drawing.

Nowadays, my love of writing and video games are tied into this blog, but my writing also shines through my stuffed physical notebooks and digital documents folders. I have a handful of first drafts of novels complete and I’m focusing on actually getting better at editing and rewriting my stories to, hopefully, publish them — either online or, perhaps, in a more traditional sense — one day.

Never would have thought a little educational game from the 90s would have helped foster creativity in my life.

What game from your childhood has directly influenced you today? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Thank You!

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It’s around Thanksgiving time here in the United States, and we thought it a perfect time to give our own round of thanks.

Thank you to the gaming community we’ve encountered. We’ve been playing video games since we could hold controllers and, while we’ve been lucky to have each other as a gaming buddy, it’s been great finding amazing fellow gamers that we can beat play with thanks to the wonderful thing that is online play. It’s been tons of fun and we’re looking forward to more games with you!

Thank you to those we’ve met through Twitch. We’re still getting used to streaming, although we’d like to think we have most of the bugs worked out. We’ve met some fantastic people through the chats while we sit there like dorks and play some games, and we’ve always had great conversations.

Thank you to the blogging and writing community. We communicate with so many of you through your wonderful comments on our posts, your thought-provoking posts on your own blogs, and our Twitter conversations, no matter how silly they may seem. We write to communicate with others and this brilliant platform has helped us connect with so many people.

We hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving! Thank you all for your support!

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Storytelling in Video Games

krismii
Being November, it’s National Novel Writing Month! For those of you who may not be aware, Rachel and I also write novels, and we ramble a lot about them on our personal blogs. Because we enjoy writing, we both have been participating in NaNoWriMo for a few years now, and we thought we’d extend that enthusiasm to gushing about video games’ stories.

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Writing and video games are two major passions we both share. That’s partly how this blog came to be in the first place. We wanted to combine the two. We read a lot and there are some amazing stories out there, but some of the most amazing ones are in video games.

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Sure, there are a few predictable stories, such as the recycled story of the Mario Brothers saving Princess Peach (when she doesn’t save herself, of course), but then there are others like the Legend of Zelda series. An entire franchise revolving around the legend of chosen ones by the goddesses, forever doomed to be reincarnated and repeat history as two oppose one for peace and domination.

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The Legend of Zelda is the legend of stories (sorry, I had to) in the video game world. Yet, some stories are complex such as that series or as simple as Luigi’s Mansion. It’s almost the same as most Mario games, but there’s a different hero. Those slight, simple changes make for fun stories as well.

krismii
Excellent example! One of my favorite story lines has to be Ace Attorney series. The first trilogy surrounding Phoenix Wright was especially well-written. Each episode not only has its own story, but many of the episodes have ties together, such as in Trials and Tribulations. The characters have fantastic developments throughout the stories and I get warm, fuzzy, writerly feels just thinking about it!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I’ve been trying to think of awesome storylines and there you go, mentioning Phoenix Wright. The Ace Attorney series was the inspiration for my own series of mystery novels. The way the games tell a story is brilliant and I’ve incorporated a similar way to tell the stories in my mystery series.

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Then there are games that allow players to develop their own story lines, like the Sims franchise and even Pokemon games. While Pokemon tends to have a plot in the games, it’s pretty open-ended with how you play, and it inspired people to create their own challenges and stories, like Nuzlocke and Type challenges. These story lines grant the players to open their minds to creativity and it’s amazing.

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There are games like the Legend of Zelda that have amazing storylines and then there are games as simple as Pokemon or Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon that have no “real” plot to it. Video games can be simple or complex, but they tell unforgettable stories nonetheless.

What’s your favorite aspect of video games? Let us know in the comments! 

Script Frenzy

Double Jump Kris MiiI hope everyone is doing well this November! It’s a busy month for our family, with my nephew’s baptism, house parties, church events and, of course, Thanksgiving right around the corner.

Of course, with November comes NaNoWriMo!

Rachel and I participate in every NaNoWriMo session during the year. Camp NaNoWriMo is every April and July, while the official NaNo is in November. The original goal is to write 50k words of a new novel in 30 days, but the camp sessions are definitely more lenient and there are plenty of “rebels” who create their own word counts or do different projects.

Before April was a Camp NaNo, it used to be called Script Frenzy, and the goal was to write 100 pages of a script in the month. The script could be anything, like a play, a movie, a comic… or a video game.

Years ago, I had actually attempted to create a Pokemon fancomic during Script Frenzy, but I started wondering how it would be to create a video game script. Besides dialogue and directions, are all the battle strategies laid out in the script? What about branching choices? Or is it mainly laid out with the story, with perhaps “stage directions” indicating where the story and characters can take the adventure next? Are the visuals and concept art created before, after, or with the script?

Obviously, it takes tons of work, a team, to create a video game, but it just blew my mind when I was mulling on all of this.

Have you ever attempted — perhaps succeeded — in writing a video game script? Would you ever try to write one?

 

More Than a Hobby

Double Jump Kris MiiHere we are, the last week of September. It’s certainly gone by fast, hasn’t it?

Ever had a quarter-life (or, for those of you who may be a smidgen older) or mid-life crisis? Ever get that nagging feeling that maybe you’re not doing what you need to do in order to get your life on the right track? Both Rachel and I have gone (and, at times, still are going) through that.  

As a kid, video games were just a hobby, a fun thing to spend our time on. I remember quite clearly spending my mornings before elementary school in the basement with Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars on the television, going back and forth between eating breakfast and jumping on Goombas and Koopas.

Back then, I never thought that my passion for video games would grow so much.

Video games were what got me started with drawing, sketches of Sheik and my favorite Pokemon teams dominating my old sketchbooks. Video game fanfiction gave me the never-ending itch to write. Video game soundtracks helped me appreciate the intricacies of different types and genres of music, like symphonies and a cappella.

I started playing games when I was probably about four or five. Twenty years later, I’m blogging with my sister about what I love about these games, about how they can be improved, about virtual reality and 3D graphics and character development and story lines…

It’s a bit odd to think about, in all honesty. Growing up, video games were just a hobby. I figured my future job would have something to do with computers. Animals and criminal justice were up there on the list as well, but something with computers always dominated my mind, and really only because I wasn’t too thrilled at the idea of desk job with other people around (go figure). There was barely an inkling of a thought to connect my love of computers with video gaming.

It was just a hobby, after all.

Now, it’s not just a hobby, they’re not just games. Writing, drawing, programming… all of my interests had pointed to the video game industry.

Well, better late than never in figuring it out, right?

How Ace Attorney Influenced Me

Rachel Mii Double JumpHey everyone!

Today I thought I would give you a little background not just on my love of video games, but how a certain video games series influenced me in real life.

 

When I was young I always wanted to be a spy or detective. I had a ton of spy gear and police-type toys such as glasses that I could see out the back of my head, invisible ink pens, walkie-talkies, spy books, and anything else you can imagine.

I don’t really know where that love came from. It might have been the Hank the Cowdog book series I used to read.

Yet, I never did become a detective. As I got older I realized that would be kind of scary. I chased after a couple of other dreams such as teaching, writing, and blogging.

I always played video games since before I could remember. Kris had always played them so I grew up watching her play them and then soon began to play them myself.

A couple years ago, Kris and I discovered Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney one night on our Wii’s virtual console. We had just gotten the Wii and were looking for games to download. We thought it was so cool we could download old school games onto a modern console!

We had never heard of Ace Attorney before. We read the description and when we realized it was detective-like game, we thought we would give it a shot. Who doesn’t like a good mystery to solve?

We fell head over heels for the entire Ace Attorney series. We not only fell in love with the mysteries and game play, but the characters themselves. As a writer myself, I really admired the writers for this video game series.

So much so that I ended up creating my own mystery novel series. The first book is in the editing stages that I hope to start querying by the end of 2016.

I’ve been writing stories and books since I was 10-years-old. I never saw myself writing a mystery novel, let alone ideas for an entire mystery series.

But I guess that’s the impact certain video games can have on you.

What video game has inspired you?