Frankenstein revisited.

Role-playing survival game is willing to take risks

Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus: by Mary Shelley is considered by many to be the first science fiction novel ever written. That makes it the perfect title for our first Literary Design Challenge BoRT. Many attempts to translate Frankenstein to other formats have fixated on the science of bringing the monster to life, but the book itself doesn’t focus on this aspect at all. Instead, it examines what it means to produce life and the impact that has on those who comes are directly and indirectly involved with the process.

For this month’s BORT entry it’s about the book Frankenstein which I’ve read now on 3 different occasions. I’ve already spoke about my big game idea for the book here and it wouldn’t be all that original to just copy and paste that idea and call it a month. Instead I thought I would do something interesting and use the dynamics of the book to discuss interesting game mechanics that are derived from the story.

The Anti co-op experience: An idea that I’ve had bubbling around in my head for awhile is a different take on co-op gameplay. Both players are effectively working against each other but not in a competition like setting. Imagine a game where player A and player B both exist in the same world, both players have completely different objectives and actions and inactions that one player does will affect the other and vice versa. The two players may not ever meet each other in the game space but both will be cursing the other one as sections of the world or even abilities are closed off due to the other. I can imagine encounters between the players as they both must work towards the same goal while at the same time trying to complete their objectives at the expense of the other, think a disturbing buddy comedy to have an idea.

A hate-hate relationship: This one comes from my board game idea for Frankenstein. For this one, player A will determine what abilities and stats player B has access to. The better player A makes player B the harder it is for A to defeat B, however player A will receive a greater reward for beating B depending on how hard A makes B. I’ve seen parts of this idea in games where the player can tweak the scenario of the game making it easier or harder, which in turn affects the possible score the player can earn. This idea is like that except instead of tweaking the game, the player is tweaking another player.

A love story: Don’t ask me how this popped into my head from thinking about Frankenstein, I think it’s the idea of how both characters in the book both had love taken from them. Something that I really can’t think of anyone doing this before is creating a game revolving around a love triangle. The idea is that multiple players are in love with the same person which is controlled by the AI (although having another player as the love interest would be a very interesting experiment). The players must find a way to woo the love interest and at the same time sabotage the other players, without letting the AI know that it was them.

Frankenstein is an interesting book and one that I like to read periodically. I love to come up with game ideas and mechanics from any source and with Frankenstein it is interesting to come up with them that don’t involve “slay the big monster” as the only mechanic.


  • interesting idea! Dr F might try to maximize prestige or scientific ego points. So the better monster he creates, the more points he gets, but if he gives the monster too many points, the monster, who tries to maximize 'love' would create 'guilt' or 'embarrassment' which reduces the prestige score…