Thoughts about Frasse, and writing

This will contain spoilers for the game, so stop reading now if you care about that.

A few minutes ago, someone wrote the following as a comment to one of my blog posts:

Do Frasse and Cassie (I think that was her name) live happily ever after? Does she ever become human again?

A. Wyatt Mann

This answer is probably longer than you expected, or wanted, but here we go.

I don’t know.1

As can be seen in earlier posts here2, I have had plans for a sequel3, but that seems very unlikely to happen. The main reason for that is that I don’t think that I’m a writer.

I didn’t make Frasse because I had a story to tell. I made it because I wanted to make an adventure game. In fact, I’d dreamed about making an adventure game since long before I even played one. I had a copy of a game magazine – I think it was called PCReview – that named Day of the Tentacle as game of the year, and also included reviews of Sam & Max among other games. It wasn’t until over a year later that I bought the Discworld game that introduced me to both adventure games, and the world of Terry Pratchett (who now is my pick if someone asks me to name my favourite author). So I liked the idea of these kinds of games before I ever had played one of them, and ever since my first attempts at programming4, I knew that I wanted to make one.

I don’t know if I’ve said this before here, but what would become the design document for Frasse started out as a dumping ground for ideas that didn’t fit another game that I tried to make. I don’t remember what caused that collection of rejected ideas to be the one I was working on instead of the slightly more serious game, but I have noted in the design doc that it happened in November 2003. Before that, I had started over repeatedly on the other game. (I dated that Doc as starting in 1998!) Yes, I keep all these things. Besides all the old files in my computer, I also have a binder containing all the original paper sketches for Frasse: The drawings that I scanned and used for backgrounds, including some earlier versions, some maps and ideas, some random drawings, some music ideas written on whatever was at hand (that includes both music paper, the back of receipts, and coffee filters!)

All that to say that I wasn’t driven by wanting to tell a story, but the kind of game I most wanted to make was the kind that was built on a story.5 Looking back at the game, I am still proud that I was able to make it. (It was a lot of work, and I had to learn a lot along the way.) I like that I created some likeable characters, and I’m amazed to hear from someone writing me about the game today after so many years, but I’m also a bit embarrassed about the story. There isn’t much of it, and it’s quite cliched. Even if I tried to steer away from the worst fairy tale cliches, there is still a rescue of a princess…

So if you’ve liked what I’ve made, thank you so much for letting me know! But to sum up these rambling thoughts, there are a few reasons why a sequel is unlikely:

  • I am now a bit embarrassed about the story in the first game, which becomes an obstacle to returning to that world.
  • I’ve learned enough about good writing to know how little I know. I’d want a great story, but that’s beyond my abilities.
  • I’m drawn to story, but I don’t really have the drive to create them.
  • I’d want a new game to be better than what I’ve made before, and now I know how much work that takes. I don’t think I can come up with a story worthy of that.

Don’t know if what I just wrote is of interest to anyone, but there it is. At least you got an answer, Wyatt. 😀

Footnotes

  1. I thought it would be funny to end the paragraph there, after saying it’d be a long answer. Yes, I over explained my joke there. 😁
  2. The last of those was ten years ago? Wow, how time flies!
  3. Actually, the second game wouldn’t really be a sequel. The events in that one were to be parallell to the first game, featuring Houston the dragon as the main character, and then the story would be concluded in a third game.
  4. Finding QBasic on the hard drive of my parents’ computer started that journey
  5. I did make various other games too before that, including a few that used Frasse and Gurra. They were characters before this game started to take form. Sadly, most of those things are completely lost, though.

2 thoughts on “Thoughts about Frasse, and writing

  1. Wow, I was expecting Genesis – No Reply at All!

    Frasse was a part of my childhood. Thank you for making it, Mr. Rikard, sir.

    And since you didn’t ask, here is my unsolicited story idea. Cassie is returned to her human form, marries Frasse, and they have a blue-haired human child!

  2. An origin story for Sonic the Hedgehog? No, I’m being silly, of course. Thank you for letting me know that you enjoyed my game!

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