Monday, September 29, 2014

Clueless and Teenage Drama

I just finished watching Clueless.

Now, not everyone knows that I was homeschooled, but many people do. I didn't have a standard high school experience, and I always envied people who did. While I know the likelihood of me surviving standard high school is low, a part of me always feels like I missed out on things that I could have really used - good friends, better education, greater awareness, and some support for my learning disabilities that would have been great.

On top of that, I also really regret not doing high school things when I was in high school. A lot of the stuff - going to parties, dating, etc. - didn't happen for me until after, and it left me a little unprepared. Hell, I've never even actually dated people. I don't regret being married to John or our long relationship, but had I been in public school, I feel like I'd have at least witnessed other people dating, and been less blind to how romantic relationships are supposed to work, and might not have needed the extensive time reading and researching.

This might all be wishful thinking. A lot of people hated high school, and it was very unkind to a lot of people. It's still pretty cruel to a lot of people. It's probably just a grass-is-always-greener thing, but that doesn't make it go away. I still cling to high school media, like Clueless and Mean Girls and Bring It On. They're not realistic, but they aren't supposed to be - they're the way we wish things could be, or wish we could control them.

Bringing this back around to something people reading this might actually care about...

This is why games like Monsterhearts are my favorites. They take one thing that is deep in the heart of my fantasies: a real high school experience, then add something I love and enjoy: supernatural fantasy, and mix it with fictional control. I can tell a story I want to tell with heartbreaks and falling in love and good grades and worse grades and werewolves and cheerleaders and it's fucking awesome. And Monsterhearts is not alone (School Days is another good example), but I'd still like to see MORE games like this, with different twists and different systems.

I've been quietly working on a teenage superhero game with evolving patterns of skills using a graphic representation hex grid for character growth. It's a slow moving process, but this kind of thing is key to what I would want to happen in the game. Players acting against each other, twisting narratives, emotional investment, and discovery. I want to see more games do things like I saw the early version of Masks do - make me love and hate a character, want to be them and want to ruin them, make me want to be a hero and a villain, and turn the expected on end. Let people judge me and let me judge them back. Let me fall in love with the wrong person. Let me spurn lovers. Let me do it at a point in life where my emotions are completely out of my control, because for once, teenage hormones are a good excuse for something. Let me cheer. Let me hang out behind the bleachers.

Let me be a teen, in the best way and the worst way. I want to live it in new and different ways every time I hit the table.

I guess this is just kind of a love letter to the teenage drama. I wish for more. There is nothing quite like living a life you've never led.