Balls!

Mixers, dos, shindigs, masquerades, socials. They’re a thing, and I think there should be a first-person game about them.

You are the host. You greet people at the door (by name), you manage the entertainment, you flag the hors d’oeuvre platters for replenishing.

The idea stemmed from a gameplay convention in one of the Uncharted games (which I’ve never played): Click on a hostile, you’d attack them with your equipped firearm. Click on a friendly and you’d greet them. It was an elegant way to assure that players didn’t shoot the wrong guys, which happens a lot in games where the primary mouse button is tied to the trigger finger.

Also we have first person shooters and then walking simulators. The ones with guns and bullets (or swords and bows and arrows) get the former tag on Steam. The latter tag is assigned to two kinds of first-person games: arty and psychological horror. Even if you can run, jump, crouch, open up things, examine things, and pile things high to get to inaccessible places, they’re still walking simulators.

This game pushes the envelope of walking simulation.

There are no guns (at least not that you can use). It’s all about the non-bullet related interactions. Click on someone at the door and you’ll greet her.

~ “Miss Scarlett! What a delight.”
~ “Colonel Mustard, I’m pleased you were able to make it after all.”
~ “Mrs. Peacock! You look positively ravishing today.”

One they’re attending you can click on them once to make an introduction “Reverand Green, there is someone I want you to meet.” after which he’ll follow you until you click on someone else “Reverend, this is Professor Plumb, who shares your interest in seventeenth century French artistic trends.”

An alt-click will detach someone from his current activity. What he does is contextual based on the character. “McLushy, I do strongly suggest the crabcakes. They’re positively to die for.”*

Examples of guests that need special consideration:

~ The shy lad who is intimidated by actual interaction. You’ll have to introduce him to get him to mingle.
~ Children stuck in a grown-up party, preferably to be matched with other kids in the playroom.
~ The anxious fellow, a drink should calm his nerves.
~ The obnoxious drunkard. Keep him from drinking overmuch, or corral the obnoxious guests into the same group.
~ The mortal enemies. If they’re in the same place, they’ll get antagonistic and even start a fight. That won’t do at all. Keep them separate.
~ The conspicuous paramours. Every once in a while they’ll try to make off to a quiet place to sing opera (Habanera from Carmen or the opening of Figaro come to mind). Especially problematic if their spouses are also attending. Keep them separate, or redirect them when they’re looking mischievous.

Advanced levels may include a wedding, an unscheduled murder, political intrigue, even a spy and a pesky sniper.

The fancy, high-budget version of the game would include a broader range of classy venues to suit tastes modern, futurist, classic and outback. You’d also be able to customize your host to have a splendid selection of dress and voice options depending on how stuffy and British you want to be.

Accouterments such as a live band, delicacy stations (sushi, beef, waffles, take your pick), swimming parties, esoteric lodges and grand dances might be included depending on if we have the resources to teach the guests to swim and boogie / waltz, respectively.

Aside from the ridiculous amount of work it would be and voiced dialog by the kilogram, I should totally make this game.

* I’m tempted to give one of the hosts an unconscious habit of using macabre, dated figures of speech. “Oh you should have seen her on stage. I tell you she killed the audience that night.”

Image King Louis XIV always threw the best mixers.

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3 thoughts on “Balls!

    1. While I suspect that game is not this game, there is certainly room in the industry for both.

      I’d even say room enough for a few games that would fit your criterion, depending on what qualifies as a virtual date.

      Like

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