Game Theme

"Life As We Know It" is a game based on the 'real life' struggles of everyday people in an everyday world.

Based in the fictional city of Lantern Hill, a small tourist city in southern California, city locals go through the motions but just like every good TV drama or world of literature, no one is quite what they seem. Some are rich, some poor. Some are real and some fake. Local politicians and their families struggle to keep their skeleton in the closets while the local sheriff struggles against the cities building drug problem. The single parent works hard to put a roof over their ungrateful teen's head while somewhere behind the local diner an affair is in full swing.

Really, in a place like this anything can happen.

Will you play a student from 'North Shore High' or will you walk the rival halls of 'Mayfield Academy'? Maybe you play a student from the tiny school of Coast Union High, located in neighboring Paradise Cove? Whoever you play, life is bound to be filled with ins and outs, ups and downs, drama, heartbreak and maybe even a little laughter.

Maybe you've put behind the childish things of high school and moved on to the halls of Monterey Bay University or perhaps you've long left behind your youthful years and have opened a business in the area? The possibilities are endless!

Plot Elements

Now, you're probably wondering how a series of characters created by various people could possibly share a theme. Easy-it might have something to do with their background, where they all have a common origin story or defining moment. It could be their parents all died, or maybe they share the same immediate environment. For a small group of characters, the theme may be discovering the strength of their friendship; for kids from the same neighborhood, the theme may be about civic pride and how by improving the life of one person, the community prospers as a result. A Plot Element is a good way to find a central reason for a small story, you just have to try.

Disenfranchised

This theme deals with teen on the outside of society, outside the accepted norms of life. It might be their quest to make a place for themselves in society, it might be about surviving self-destructive behavior or surrendering to it, or it might be about how being the non-conformist isn't the negative society pretends it to be. This might be a moment when a character uses her disenfranchisement to her benefit, thereby validating her views on society or by proving society wrong about her. Again, it can be a negative thing if the character believes the worst of society and is proven right.

Family

Family…that wonderful, slippery eel you can never fully grasp and hold. And, it bites sometimes. Man-oh-man does it bite. Themes involving family might involve things like: "You never choose your family," "Blood is thicker than water," "Mom and Dad don't get me," and "They never listen." Familial themes might be about discovering the strength of a parent's love, familial obligations directing one's life, or how the lessons of the parents influence the child.

Fun

Not so much a theme as a reason to get together with friends, gorge on junk food, play videogames, and occasionally trash on the peon of the week. Fun simply means the teens are typical and well-adjusted, life is a hoot, and nothing is so serious that it stops being enjoyable. This was placed as a theme so that no rule-nazi could say "Hey! It doesn't say you can do that in the game!" It does now, and in case there are any arguments, fun covers zany, crazy, whacky, bonkers, wild, and anything else of a madcap nature.

Growth

You see it all the time, from the teens trying to adjust and catch-up to their changing world to teens looking to be treated like adults. Or, growth can refer to your evolving maturity (or serious lack thereof). This theme deals with the accelerated growth all teens must endure in that all-too short transition from kid to adult (which always seems all-too-long at the time). In the span of six years, the world changes, and your body becomes some new enigma that constantly messes with your head. People don't seem to know how to treat you, either. They tell you to grow up, yet they won't give you the privileges that go with it. It's even worse among adults who suddenly think they have to protect you. With this theme, you could do something adult-like and prove wiser than your years, or if you frustrate an adult by doing something supremely juvenile.

Identity

Face it, you go from learning everything you know from Mom and Dad to suddenly realizing you want to be anyone but Mom and Dad. For this theme to work, you might need to figure out who your parents are and how they act. After that, identity is exploring what kind of person you'd like to become and whether it's a good fit or not. Sure, you'd love to be a rocker god or the latest hawtness on the Hollywood Red Carpet, but maybe it's in you to be the tech-savvy bookworm or the dark and dour mistress of the night.

Identity is more than just finding the true you, it's finding and being happy with what you find. It can also mean trying to change something in your character you perceive as a negative quality.

Image

Ah, image, the thing that makes people unhappy for being too skinny or too fat or too whatever. It also strikes the beautiful people by attacking their self-confidence with perceived flaws like a slightly crooked nose, a beauty mark, or some other trivial nonsense. Image is all about admiring society's ideal man or woman or idolizing a specific individual who personifies that ideal. It's about disliking one's self or maybe just studying a personal flaw too closely. Study a specific brushstroke on a painting and you fail to appreciate the painting itself.

This theme deals with accepting the imperfections in ourselves or in others, or perhaps it's about working to change them.

Romance

Romance is almost as bad as religion, and it can be just as rewarding. The theme might revolve around unrequited love, or once it's answered, holding on to the object of one's desire. Of course, you can turn that around 180 degrees, cue the creepy music and the pet-rabbit-in-the-pot routine, and voila instant stalker and obsession story-arc. And face it, any teen character with to much charisma or to perfect-'assets' is stalker bait. Well technically that isn't romance, but romance can be one-sided.

Spirituality

Spirituality and religion aren't mutually exclusive. You can be spiritual but not follow the tenets of a particular religion, and you can be religious without being spiritual. Spirituality is an emotional exploration of self in relation to something greater (Gaia, God, Allah, Yahweh, the universal spirit, the breathing cosmos, or what have you). It implies an attempt to connect with a greater plane of existence than the material one. It could be the girl trying to find balance in her life or the boy trying to reach beyond the words of his religion's holy texts. Regardless, the theme of spirituality is an attempt to foster a relationship with some universal force.

The Morris Meter

One of the more interesting things that has occurred in the last couple years is the underground Morris-Meter Blog started by aspiring journalist Sophia Morris. Here, students are ranked and rumored about in various categories of coolness. Much like top 40 music, the rankings change from week-to-week and include one-hit wonders that made a splash at the latest party to the perennial favorites, like the newest quarterback. Doug Newman was placed in the Hall of Fame his freshman year.

Most students assumed that the blog would end when Sophia graduated last year, however they all found themselves shocked when, on the first day of school, the blog fired right back up. Apparently there’s a new ‘Sophia’ at North Shore High, and she’s not wasting any time getting her hands dirty.

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