Genesis is a retro-futuristic virtual pet adventure game where players raise and train creatures to help them reconstruct their world.
What actually happens if children were given pet monsters to fight?
In what kind of world is this normal?
Genesis’ narrative and gameplay deconstruct the virtual pet genre, exploring what it means to give life to an AI creature and the psychological impact on these creatures when they are used as toys or tools. Genesis subverts and pokes fun at the stark black and white moral choices found in contemporary games, offering more realistic dilemmas. Game tropes are tested, cheating is encouraged, and consequences are enacted every turn.
Set in a post-apocalyptic world, players are given AI creatures called chimera to raise, teach and train, to aid in reconstructing their world. This creates an unique personal narrative experience as each environment adapts to the player’s choices. Chimera respond to and learn from these choices, mirroring the player’s true nature.
Genesis is built in Obj-C using Cocos2D Framework.
“Man, oh man, well this just isn’t pretty. The world’s been pretty beaten up, only a few towns really remaining and all that.
See, after what could only be explained as an apocalyptic nightmare, things grew quiet. No one is really sure WHAT happened. Who is to say really. Just a lot of booms, a lot of crashes, and then everything became pretty bleak, dark, empty. And as we said, well, quiet. We were pretty sure we weren’t going to hear about you humans ever again.
But you surprised us. Even with a pitiful number of survivors, you foolishly wanted to keep living, keep growing and restore the world back to the way it was. Right away you started rebuilding as if it was a mere flesh wound! Resilient little creatures aren’t you?
We question if this is a good idea. After all with the way the world was, it did lead up to the nightmare in the first place. So we presume.
Still, it’s hard to tough it out with everyone living off of scraps. You humans have a lot of motivation but it just isn’t enough, is it? You humans are scrawny weak little things.
Right right, so of course you all have been bugging the most competent out of you beings, the Alchemist at the Elixir Emporium. Strange fellow came up with these little buggers called Chimeras. Genetic marvels. Very malleable too. Here for your assistance, your entertainment, your pleasure. See, they need very little but produce a lot. All about how you raise them, so The Alchemist says.”
- The Omnipresence
The player receives an egg, which they can then hatch, raise, and through their adventures out into the world, the player’s choices begin to effect how the creature grows and develops. Ultimately the gameplay is about making choices. Click on certain characters, items, chimera to discover what menu options and interactions you can have with them. Some of these interactions will lead to more complex, direct interactions such as mini-games that allow you to train your pets, or more menu-based interactions such as working.
Intended as a iOS sandbox game, Genesis is about giving the player as much functionality to explore and rebuild their world.
Genesis also served as my Master’s thesis project during my time at ITP. The presentation itself is up online for those interested, though I will warn that both video and audio quality are lacking. If you would like to view the Thesis Presentation, please refer here