When you think of video game heroes, you usually think of big swords, big hair, huge attitudes, and rippling muscles. You don’t think of a middle-aged knight who has gone soft in the middle and thin on top after some 30 years of the post-quest castle good life. But for Adam Rippon, creator of the RPG fantasy game, Dragon Fantasy, his knight is not only larger than life, but drawn from deep in his heart.
Our hero knight, Ogden Thomas is returning to questing after a long hiatus. Once the RPG-game equivalent of the high-school superstar, Ogden is now finding his armor fitting tighter and his shield a whole lot heavier than it was in his youth. Called out of retirement by the hijinks of the Dark Knight, he must rely on the greatness of his past and the abilities of his new band of travelers. Ogden’s adventures break from the traditional hero-arc and instead find someone later in life, way past the glory days. Settled and stagnant, he must reinvent himself by getting back out there and returning to his former gallantry, albeit with a lot less hair.
Dragon Fantasy is the culmination of a lifelong dream and a fitting tribute to the father who inspired Adam to go for it. In December 2010 his father, Thomas, passed away. Devastated, Adam returned to a game he had shelved for 16 years. Thomas had been an artist and encouraged his son to embrace creativity, tell stories, and produce work that made it out into the world. Working as a game programmer, he had worked on other titles, but created nothing of his own. Adam felt like he had buried his real passion, to tell stories, a reason he got into video games in the first place. His father’s death allowed him to realize he needed to express himself and finish what he started.
Working with nostalgic 8-bit graphics and a campy story line, Adam hopes to invoke the wonder and late-night mystery of old-school gameplay and worlds unseen. The focus on role-play and a lively cast of characters, gives the story a chance to come forward and provide a different kind of immersive experience. To get lost in the game is to get lost in the story, something Adam remembers fondly from his early days of playing video games. Producing Dragon Fantasy has allowed him to tell his father’s story, and through the experience, some of his own.
In kind, we all have dreams and projects that we put down in favor of our careers and our responsibilities. We may pick at them or feel pangs as we get further and further from that creation, but for most of us, it isn’t until something happens that we are reminded of what we passionately meant to do. What have you been sitting on? What have you tucked away on a shelf somewhere that, if you really thought about it, you’d love to dust off and finish?
What are you waiting for?
(Skeleton photo courtesy of RPGamer).