Story/Game Idea: The Wrong Kiss

This story has been in my slush pile for quite a while. Originally, in 2008 or thereabouts, I was designing a click-management game in the style of Diner Dash and Cake Mania. I had a very specific experiment in mind, to explore a modification to the traditional mechanics of that genre.  The question was: can a click-management game, which is about controlling a single character that must run around and keep a business flowing, work across multiple rooms/screens? I had started to explore it with the design for a game called Spy Pup, which I will most likely talk about later, and came back to the question while working on a project for zSpace, where we were experimenting with what the experience would be like to control a character walking around a virtual holographic environment. The setting we chose was a 3D castle, and I developed the framework of a story in order to guide the creation of assets and supplemental mechanics.

Since the prototype featured a protagonist wandering through a largely uninhabited environment, a room at a time, that was the biggest constraint. In order for the environment to have at least a little bit of life, we added a second character that followed the player-controlled character around and did a bit of wandering while always staying close by. This was the springboard for The Wrong Kiss.

The story opens with Princess Aurora, Sleeping Beauty, under the full effect of her curse. She is asleep in her bed. All of the inhabitants of the castle have been turned into trees and plants that somehow reflect their roles in their everyday lives. The cooks had become a vegetable garden, the King and Queen two majestic trees flowing around the throne room, offering protection from the environment to the courtiers, who had all become beautiful, but sometimes deadly, flowers around them.

But Aurora had a puppy, named Prince,  who had been outside of the castle, chasing a cat when the curse occurred. Upon his return, everyone is gone, except Aurora, who is asleep. The Puppy attempts to wake Aurora by licking her nose.

How does the magic interpret something that can be interpreted as a kiss, and which comes from Puppy Love?

Maybe I’ll tell you.

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