by Preston Dozsa
reviewed on PC
If you were to ask a writer what writer’s block is, be they an amateur or a professional who makes a living off of the word’s they put to paper or screen, it would be something that they wouldn’t wish upon their most hated of enemies. It’s crippling, staring off into space as you try to come up with a way to convey your oftentimes complex ideas. I’ve suffered it plenty of times, both in trying to write out articles and essays and when trying to come up with the inspiration for a short story. Put simply, writer’s block sucks.
Thankfully the fine folks at Dejobaan Games have made Elegy for a Dead World, a game that I now refer to informally as the world’s premier writer’s block simulator.
I kid of course. Elegy for a Dead World is first and foremost a creative outlet through which players can write and develop their own stories against a sci-fi backdrop. You pick through three worlds inspired by the works of Romantic poets Byron, Shelley and Pierce and walk amongst the ruins of long fallen civilizations. Before you begin exploring, you may choose from a series of templates that will provide prompts through which you can write out your own stories as you traverse the landscape. Beyond the ability to write and wander, there is little interaction with the game world itself, and each of the worlds should take no longer than a couple of minutes to cross.
Of course, you can also choose to forgo the templates and prompts altogether and create your own story from scratch. Wherever you settle down to start writing, the background image will appear when the story is compiled completely at the end. A strange glowing obelisk found nestled in the sand dunes in one of the worlds is a wonderful spot to place down text in my opinion.
The templates range from short science fiction pieces to poetry to personal diaries and more. Personally I preferred the templates, as the structure allows for a quicker and easier jump when you want to put a story down compared to the freeform nature of writing your own. Having said that, it’s easy to see why creating stories from scratch will be the most popular form in Elegy, as it allows for more creative and original works to be featured.
After you’ve finished writing a story or two you can check out the game’s built in database that allows you to read and commend stories that other players have written in each of the three worlds. These commendations are tracked, and I’ve got to admit it feels nice to have other people read and approve of your fiction.
That’s the setup for Elegy, and while it is a fine and fun game to use when creating stories, there are a number of problems which hold it back.
The first of which is the lack of variety between worlds. Each of the three worlds are science fiction based, and each has endured apocalyptic events. Despite some colour and background changes they all start to feel dreary and equal the more you write. The background and music also remain static, causing each story written to feature nearly the same images and locales that have proven popular with the community. If you could choose between different backgrounds on each of the worlds, the diversity of the creative output would exponentially increase.
Elegy also needs greater options to allow for more interaction with the community. Yes, you can commend other authors for the work that they have done, but there are no critiques or comments that you can attach to the stories you read. If there was a problem with one of my stories, I would like to know about it, just as I would like to know why someone liked one of my poems. I want to communicate with the authors themselves, and there should be a platform present in the game that facilitates this.
Having said all that, Elegy for a Dead World should be praised for this fresh attempt at encouraging and stoking the imaginations of players who are used to following the stories crafted by others. It’s fun to write stories, and this game is a must for those who feel the desire to tell tales, in whatever forms they may be.
Encourages creativity, excellent prompts, unique
Lack of diversity in worlds and backdrops, limited community interaction