My studies in graphic design and psychology influenced me as I looked deeper into the genre of horror. This included four phases of research, brainstorming, world building, and concept art. Phantastic Whimsies, a horror themed video game concept takes place in the late 19th century and dwells on June and Dimitri's varying perceptions of the world and their reactions to the unknown that awaits within darkness.
As someone with a heart condition I noticed that there was little to no representation of those who might have to monitor themselves when delving into horror games. So, coming into my final year I had an idea… I wanted to create a safer gaming experience for the player in general. After several weeks of extensive research of surveys, interviews, and ethnographic studies I found that I didn’t have the resources to create a piece of hardware that detects heightened heart rates, but as a video game artist I had the power to create a game narrative and world of my own based on a mechanic that allows the player to respond at their own pace. Phantastic Whimsies is the result of this exploration. This project has been presented using three booklets based around the characters, environment, and behind-the-scenes extra content.
Phantatastic Whimsies is a game set in the late 19th century that follows June and Dimitri, two young daydreamers that see wonder in the world just about everywhere they look. Upon attending a magic show the two come to the realization that magic is not real, giving way to a bleak reality. As they strive to find that sense of wonder they had, they find creatures lurking in the dark… hiding in the deep woods. When they encounter dark environments they can anticipate one of two outcomes, creatures that are benevolent… or terrifying. Which will you find, should you venture with them?
For reference to the research conducted for this project please review the Phantastic Whimsies (previously Concept of Fear) Fall 2019 Process Book. Special thanks to Aaron Lemay, John Keeyes, and Dan Faltesek who provided me with industry and academic insight via interviews. Additional thanks to Abby Mason, who was a key collaborator in brainstorming, to my parents, and lastly thank you to my artists and musician: Chelsie Gaither, Rae Ma, and Eric Moen.