WEEK 16 - Scales & Archers: Five (5) Fictional Worlds I Often Draw Inspiration From

16th week into 2021 - how’s everyone feeling? Have we recovered from the haze of the first trimester of the year yet? For this issue, here are five (5) fictional worlds I often draw inspiration from:

16th week into 2021 - how’s everyone feeling? Have we recovered from the haze of the first trimester of the year yet? Yes, trimester - a third of the year. LOL. I read my degree with an institute that had three blocks of study periods in a year and they called them trimesters as well. Confused the heck out of people I was speaking to when they were asking about my studies. 

You know what else is confusing? The way some fictional worlds blur the lines between reality and fiction. This is not so much in a conspiracy-like, this is really happening and people don’t want you to know about this way, but worlds that lead you to question - how much of this is really fiction? 

And that’s the fine line I find myself liking to tread when story ideas pop into my head, waiting to be placed in a particular corner of the JewelVerse / my fictional universe. 

So for this issue, here are five (5) fictional worlds I often draw inspiration from: 

Do any fictional worlds give you inspiration in your day-to-day life? Share them in the comments!

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Stardew Valley

I mean, need I say more?

Growing up on Harvest Moon / Story of Seasons games, Life & Farming Simulation games have formed a major part of my gaming life and preferences. But I guess what kept me attracted to these games was the level of autonomy you get, even within a fixed framework. This way, you’re not getting tyranny of choice - something that may or may not be the best thing across personalities. Stardew Valley takes all the best parts of the Story of Seasons series and combines it with a greater story that is, in essence, still optional for the average player. 

And because this game is live and constantly updates (ConcernedApe is amazing), players grow with the world, even beyond the main and post-main stories. I’m going to be speaking about this during a world-building review soon, so stay tuned for that!

(Also, Stardew Valley now has a board game. This franchise is doing its best to implant itself in my life. LOL.) 

Tales of Saintrest

I’ve heard about this world long enough to want to jump into it the moment the next publication (by the Curious Chimeras!) comes out. RPGs often have rich settings and worlds that inspire multiple stories. However, created with regional (Southeast Asia) contexts in mind, Tales of Saintrest promises to give players an immersive experience with Southeast Asian flavours beyond (and deeper than) what you get from mainstream media so far. 

I believe what got me was the quiz they presented visitors with at their digital booth during Session Zero in Jan 2021. I’m a sucker for RPGs with faction-rich stories (HELLO Legend of 5 Rings / L5R!) and Saintrest, so far, feels like the brewing of something beyond clan wars.

And I’m looking forward to them. 

Five Nights at Freddy’s

To add a disclaimer - I probably wouldn’t be so into the world-building of Five Nights at Freddy’s (FNAF) if not for the analysis brought to us by The Game Theorists (MatPat and his crew). 

That said, FNAF is one of those games where I will likely never play, but would dive headlong into the lore and world about it because not only do the storylines intrigue, whatever happens AROUND the published works need to be taken into account as well. What’s more immersive about a game based on semi-sentient animatronics and the people, AI, and mysterious workings behind them than the possibility of finding out more about this world’s lore through digging through the creator’s website’s source code or playing through different ports of the same game to look for different outcomes?

Inspiration from fictional worlds don’t need to inspire original, fictional creations. In fact, fictional settings have inspired many of today’s practical solutions. Have there been any instances like so for you? Share them in the comments!

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The World of Work-Life Balance (by Wayne Ree and Ben Chee)

This is a bit of a stretch but I trust Wayne’s engaging storytelling and intriguing world-building, combined with the power of Ben’s illustrations and distinctive style that just brings “mundane” scenarios to life. Since their last collaboration with ‘Mr. Memphis’, these two have inspired me to think of stories that can be portrayed in atypical settings that still align and do justice to the message behind the story itself. And yes, the link goes to their upcoming work, to be published by Difference Engine =).

Within the Wires

Again, I will always recommend Within the Wires to anyone who asks.

A series of audio experiences strung together as different perspectives from the same world, Within the Wires opens a dystopian setting ruled by an international organisation known as ‘The Society’, though international may be a bit of a misnomer in a world where the idea of a nation has been effectively abolished. What then, becomes of individuals with varying ideas? What happens when cracks start to form in what was an initial appeal of fervent collectivism in an attempt to prevent global violence? 

All these questions and their side effects pop up with each season of this podcast series. So yes, you’re diving into this world of daily, minute questioning without visuals - only the sound of a single narrator through relaxation tapes, audio tour guides, answering machines, and what not. Season 5 has just ended. I can’t wait to see what Season 6 comes up with!

Did I also mention that they’re finally coming out with a novel? 

And that’s it from me this time. Take care and see you all next week!

P/S - Are there any fictional worlds you’d like to recommend? Share them in the comments!

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