Thursday, September 26, 2019

The Hollow as a weird world building exercise

I recently stumbled across a description of the cartoon the Hollow and ended up watching a bit of it, including the end since the description spoiled it for me :D It was an okay cartoon, good for background noise but not captivating in and of itself. But it did get me thinking.




Okay, the characters are in a video game and they might even still be stuck in it at the end. In actuality, going in already knowing that made the show more enjoyable for me since that justified all the wacky world building. Each area in the game was very much it’s own genre and, taken on a whole, wouldn’t have made any sense except as a video game. Spooky Woods next to Decaying Creepy Amusement Park next to Wild West Ghost Town next to Invaded Space Stations. It’s either really bad or really brilliant world building. 

And it also made me think of older games where the world building was kind of shaky. The original Zork has magical rainbow wands, exorcisms, steam punk dams and the Cyclops explicitly from the Odyssey. While later games tried make it all make more sense, it was a goofy, kitchen sink setting where the only point was to grab all the loot you could.

However, what it _really_ reminded me of was the failed RPG experiment Sandman: Map Of Halaal. ( Man, that was a weird game on almost every level but the setting was the weirdest part. Casablanca mixed with early Disney movies mixed with Arabian Nights mixed with Einstein in a rocket ship topped off with psychodramas.

Okay, when I actually look back at Sandman: Map Of Halaal, it is much, much more deranged than the more mundane kitchen sink of The Hollow. It is literally like someone dumped random pop culture into a blender.

The Hollow, truth to tell, doesn’t have that interesting a plot and the character development is minimal. But the retro, kitchen sink setting did take me back to a different era of gaming.

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