@beige I too will speak for the Hero!

Tokyo Jungle

Who will speak for this game of craziness?

Today a man called me at work to talk about games. Near the end of the conversation I tried to tell him about Tokyo Jungle.

I tried to talk about it like a normal game, about the wide selection of characters animals, about brawler mechanics and instant kills and counters. It wasn’t going well, I didn’t seem to be getting across what the game IS

I quickly switched to stories, I told of how my pack of pomeranians had bested a massive jackal pack on entering the sewers, despite major casualties. I talked about how this same pack, flush with victory and rebuffed , launched a sneak attack on a crocodile and were rebuffed, no handy grasses meant once the crocodile managed to clamber his way to my high perch, he made short work of every toy dog up there. I told him about a deer double jumping to the top of pickup truck so it could get onto a scaffolding and drop kick a bird.

I told him about how a baby chick got seen by a terrier, and how the terrier immediately went for the kill, lunging savagely. How this tiny bird ducked to the side, pirouetted and then flying kicked the dog in the back of it’s head (and then fled to the tall grasses.) No one can know how this came to be. We only know that it was goddamn awesome. I told him about giraffes kicking away hyenas and race horses running down derelict subways, about kangaroos punching tigers and cats equipped with kendo masks, jet packs and roller skates.

Needless to say, the stories are what makes the game.

Who will speak for this game of stories?

The stories somehow work because of the game’s realistic setting but completely unrealistic gameplay. Take a look at the stories told up there again, each are awesome because it takes something familiar and through game mechanics makes it bizarre. You may play the game as an animal would most of the time. Sneaking about, staying out of sight, and eating only those weaker then you. But when things get out of hand you can lean on your gameplay skills and your own personal actions add in the awesome to the mix. Successfully guiding a toy dog to tear apart a jackal pack gives you a greater sense of accomplishment because there’s a context to recognize how that COMPLETELY SHOULDN’T WORK.

Making the player the key vehicle for creating stories is the best possible choice.

Who will speak for this game of choice?

This is not a game of moral choice, far from it. It is entirely possible animal lovers might have a hard time watching a very national geographic ‘kill or be killed’ battle between toy dogs and feral cats. Still, when a player brings up the animal selection screen and it lets you scroll around the vast ocean of silhouettes populated by incredibly varied animals it immediately sets you upon a solid goal of “I have to unlock this thing” Sometimes it’s a player wanting to roll a herd of hippos up on a congregation of alligators, maybe they want to have a giraffe walking tightrope across the buildings of shibuya. Perhaps they just want to unlock the dinosaurs and be ace number one predator across all the lands. Either way, it keeps them invested, keeps them coming back, keeps them struggling, striving for just a few more years of survival, just a few more calories to get the next animal, the next step, the next story in an incredibly fatal land… just like any good jungle should.

Who will speak for Tokyo Jungle?

I will

because it’s goddamn awesome.

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