The year is 1997.
There are four great Squares of human civilization. Outside of those squares, there is a haunted emptiness which none have ever returned from.
The wealthy and powerful people you read about on the internet or see on the news feeds live in the First Square. They have trees, rivers, and mountains. Beautiful cities of shining steel. There is rain and sun, open skies and verdant plains. They also have parades. The First are eternally content, and they rule over everyone else.
Civil servants live in the Second Square. They live in well-maintained apartment complexes and run the whole framework of civilization. They are happy and dress in nice clothes.
Third Square is where the soldiers make their home. They police the rest of the Squares and carry guns. They are always angry and never smile.
The Fourth Square is located miles underground, built deep within the subterranean labyrinths of the world. Hundreds of years ago, murderers, rapists and all sorts of other criminals were banished down here. They built the Fourth Square, and their ancestors have lived here ever since.
Robbie K. is a 14 year old boy living in the Fourth Square. He is lonely, awkward, and has a speech impediment. Robbie has no friends.
The local food supply is running out, everyone is going hungry and things aren't looking too good for the people in his neighborhood. He is bullied constantly at school, and his family life isn't any better.
Robbie's older sister spends her days risking her life on protest demonstrations, and his father is a low-level street tough in the local mafia who seems to have forgotten he has kids to take care of. As for his mother, she is not once mentioned in the game's plot.
To escape from the real world, Robbie spends most of his time on the Adolescent Citizens Network, a government-regulated internet service which closely monitors its users and everything they do online. Robbie dreams of escaping from the Fourth Square, and is fixated on an ancient legend-- that of the existence of a heavenly paradise said to be located deep within the haunted emptiness, far beyond the boundaries of human civilization. He spends all of his free time searching through centuries-old web domains which have been long abandoned, trying to find any clues of this mythical place.
Robbie's search has thus far proven fruitless. One day however, he chances upon the existence of a mysterious web forum... and his life is changed forever.
Neat-Looking Maps: I spent an embarrassingly long time trying to make this game look good. I've also filled the maps with tons of details and have included a lot of stuff that players can interact with.
Deep NPCs: Every NPC you meet has a distinct personality as well as their own small storyline which you can choose to experience (or ignore). My goal is to make the game world feel alive, and so there is quite a lot of depth to the NPCs. I've been heavily inspired by Mother 3 when it comes to this aspect of the game.
In-Game Internet: Using the mouse system, the player can explore the Adolescent Citizens Network (an in-game internet service) and click on links which lead to numerous different websites. I've created all of these websites from scratch, and they range from blogs belonging to the game's characters to news sites which report on the developments of the plot. There is also an in-game email system where the player can receive messages from NPCs.
The game isn't planned to be very long, at most it will take a few hours to finish it. This is intended to be a bit of a side-project. A demo will be available sometime early next year. Thanks for reading!