Play NYC had six special "Graffiti Games" installed in the opera boxes of the Manhattan Center's Hammerstein Ballroom. These games were commissioned especially for the show and created by immigrant developers from all over the world. Among these titles was A Hero's Journey, an interesting little tale from Mokuni founder Kurt Young.
A Hero's Journey operates on a simple premise - there is a hero and there is someone you need to rescue. The villain has kidnapped the person you need to rescue. It's up to you to fight a bunch of enemies and save them. What makes this game interesting is that you draw all of the game's characters yourself, allowing you to shape the narrative in your own way.
You could be a prince saving a princess or a princess saving a prince. Heck, you could be a cucumber saving a banana for all the game cares. So long as you can roughly fit your creation within the game's provided template space, it'll plop your drawings into the game world for you to experience. Take a look at this short trailer from Mr. Young to see the game itself in action:
Mr. Young spent a good chunk of Play NYC bouncing between the Mokuni booth on the first floor and the opera box for A Hero's Journey up on the third floor. I tracked him down towards the tail end of Play NYC to talk a bit about the game.
A Hero's Journey was created with the idea that children aged 5-7 years would learn to develop social skills and imagination by creating the characters for a story themselves. Although a couple of pre-made characters were provided, most of the people who played the game chose to spend the time creating their own heros and villains. (Indeed, I saw dozens of created characters when I played the game for a bit myself.
I hadn't played anything like it on a touch device. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I couldn't figure out how to move because I had never played a game with an on-screen movement control like the one in A Hero's Journey. I eventually figured it out on my own and spent a bit of time playing the game with my own poorly-drawn character. (Hey, I'm a writer, not an artist.)
Each of the Graffiti Games at Play NYC let players experience something unique, but A Hero's Journey was the only title that let them truly create something of their own. I think its an interesting idea that was well-executed. Mr. Young indicated that we may be seeing more of it in the future - the game is still in development and it may be making its way to Android devices.. It's certainly a fun little title and I think it could be a great game to play once it's fleshed out a little more. Be sure to follow Kurt Young and Mokuni on Twitter, and don't forget to swing by the company's website!
What do you think of A Hero's Journey? Do you like the idea of a game where you draw your own characters? Let us know in the comments below! Check out what else we saw at Play NYC by going to our Play NYC 2018 Coverage Hub.