In the Things to Watch
thread, Neko Ewan announced the completion of his translation of Witch Quest
, a 1991 Japanese game in which players pair up to play young witches and their cat familiars à la Kiki's Delivery Service
. Ewan then lunches into a fascinating discourse via this podcast
on the nature of the perceived genre of Witch Quest
and it's sister-game Yuuyake Koyake
: 'Everyday magic.'
Everyday magic, as I understand it, places emotional well-being at the centre of the narrative with a strong emphasis on the magical/mystic and non-violent solutions. It is, essentially, 'heartwarming'; the actions undertaken by the characters are aimed towards the generation of both personal and communal happiness. Childhood innocence and bucolic/nostaligic ruralism also seem to be central precepts. My Neighbor Totoro
and other Studio Ghibli
films are an easy (but not always fitting) comparison.
The core of gameplay in the everyday magic genre, or at least in Witch Quest
, focuses on solving problems based on emotional issues. You're a band of 13-year-old witches sent by the Head Witch to settle some unhappiness out in the world using your collective magic. There's no moral, just or reward imperative for action, simply the resolution of emotive challenges; a boy is unhappy, you should attempt to make him happy. There seems to be an investigative element to Witch Quest
in that you are to root-out the source of unhappiness (in the example with the boy in transpires that his father's smile was taken by a greedy witch and you have to settle the issue).
What do you think of the genre (Neko Ewen, you must tell me if I've got this wrong at all!), could it be widely applicable in gaming?
Could this idealized, 'heartwarming' but perhaps saccharine genre appeal to you, O hardened dungeon-crawler?
Is an emphasis on non-violence (I will point out that Witch Quest
does have magical-combat rules) an alternative to direct, perhaps more exhilarating, violent action?
Is the sentiment of the genre limited only to the Japanese/anime mind-set?