While watching a game—and not playing it, because it plays itself—may not sound like the most engrossing way to spend the day, with Dreeps, game designer Jesse Schell is betting otherwise. On the surface, Dreeps looks like a standard RPG that follows a small robot boy through action-packed sword fights and battles of sorcery, but its gameplay, which Schell calls "passive" is a little different. In a similar way to The Sims, time goes on in the game whether or not it's being played, and players barely make any decisions: all they do is set an alarm.
The alarm sets off the day's adventures for both player and protagonist, so as you ride the train or bus to work in the morning, the robot boy might be walking through a cornfield. You can log in at any time, perhaps catching him as he battles a monster or interacts with an non-playing character—but there's also no dialogue, leaving the story wide open to interpretation. "You might be missing some events, but don’t mind about it," the game's website reads assuringly. The site continues: "You can imagine your own version of the story with the hints hidden in visuals and sound. You can share some screenshots and you thoughts about the game by pressing the « share » button."
Dreeps, which goes for $2.99 in the app store, springboards off the popularity of game-watching platforms like Twitch, which famously rewrote the Pokémon franchise's narrative in a gaming experiment, to build a new kind of game that's more about imagination than reflexes or judgment. When the protagonist wakes up in the morning full of refreshed HP, the narrative picks up once again, generating new opportunities to share screenshots with friends and develop the narrative of the little robot boy.
Via The Atlantic