Sunday, January 2, 2011

Dungeontron


I caught Tron Legacy last week. It was entertaining, though not of the caliber of my other holiday visit to the theater to see True Grit. The internet has led me to believe that a lot of people have a great deal of affection for the original film, which I had interest in as a kid, but never any great passion.

What I most liked about the first film was the design aesthetic, something that the new film “updated”--I think, to its detriment. French comic artist, Jean “Moebius” Giraurd was responsible for many of those designs, and his seventies Metal Hurlant sensibilities come shining through. Sensibilities which had their impact on the imagination of old school gamers through the work of Moebius, Druillet, and others.

Of course, Tron’s “world inside a computer” concept was always silly, and even more hard to buy today when the public’s knowledge of how computer’s work is greater than it was in the early eighties where they were essentially “magic boxes” to most of the populace. Still, if gaming and comics have taught me anything, its that cool things don’t necessarily have to make sense.

It strikes me that old school style adventuring could take place in a world of a Moebius/Tron aesthetic. Programs could have different functions lending to fighter, magic-user, cleric, thief sort of divisions. Maybe clerics, for example, are genuinely the priests/mediators for the “User” cult, interfacing with the System’s mysterious and puissant architects and programmers?

They could travel through glowing, block dungeons on a monochrome grid searching out abherrant code or virus-monsters which endanger the system (one could borrow freely from ReBoot here too, which did some of the conceits of Tron better, but without the cool design elements).  In classic old school style, digital adventurers could be champions of the system's Order against viral-haunted, error-filled Chaos.

7 comments:

Dr Rotwang! said...

I might be wrong, but Fantasy Flight Games' Virtual (a d20 minigame from their Horizon line) may have been reeeeeally close to what you describe.

Johnathan Bingham said...

I was going to suggest Virtual as well. It has a strong Tron influence. It might be interesting to adapt to an old school game. I think using the 4C rule set (the reimagining of the Marvel FASERIP system from the 80's) for this might make a fun little game. Hmmmm, I might have to look into that...

Risus Monkey said...

After setting my expectations appropriately low, I really enjoyed Ton:Legacy [saw it last night]. I was most taken with the look, feel, and most strikingly sound. I came home and bought the soundtrack right away.

Anyway, I've been hankering to do a Retro-ScFi cyberpunk/Tron/Neuromancer type game for a while, though it hasn't yet bubbled up to the top of my queue. I like the idea that the a user can experience "The Net/Grid" through a interface that is very malleable. For some, it could be a classic D&D dungeon crawl. For others, it could be something out of Tron. For other-still, it could be some kind of hybrid.

Dr Rotwang! said...

I need to get back on my MiniSix 80's cyberpunk project.

Malcadon said...

I have been thinking about this too. To make a setting inspired by TRON, ReBoot, Micromen (an innerspace version in the same aesthetics), Computer Warriors (a 90s toy line of the same basic concept, but in reverse), and the cyberspace side of Cyberpunk 2020, Shadowrun, and so on. There is a lot to work with. Even if it not set in a computer, there are many cartoons, comics, games and such that make for good sources of inspiration with regards to gear and style.

Harald said...

The world within a world concept could of course be expanded even further. My first thoughts are a world where the struggle takes place both inside the Grid and outside it. The Matrix comes to mind, but perhaps without hegemony of the machines.

A game like this could easily fit inside a GURPS or RIFTS like setting, where there are different "programs" where reality looks and works differently. In one world you could have classic fantasy elements, and in another you could go balls-to-the-walls SciFi with lasers and spaceships.

As for Tron: Legacy, I saw it yesterday, and while I enjoyed it, it did not blow my socks off. And the 3D was a waste of time, imo.

Trey said...

I agree. The last two films I saw (Dawn Treader & T:L) in 3D it seemed like a waste.