As the old saying goes, a building is only as strong as its foundation. A large part of my initial research for Playthings has focused on establishing a broad, solid base of literary and film sources from which to draw. Some of the sources have been obvious, others a bit more obscure, but all have offered elements that I would like to incorporate into the final game. I thought I would share a few of them with you.
- The Toy Story Films – Toy Story 3 in particular prompted me to pursue the development of Playthings. There is a surprising amount of depth to these films. They explore an array of benefits and pitfalls of being a toy and never shy away from tough subjects. They really are amazing works of fiction; I can’t say enough good things about them.
- Corduroy – It’s a simple story, yes, but I think it speaks to the special relationship between a child and a toy. If you haven’t read it should give it a look, preferably with a wide-eyed young child in your lap.
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – The stories are about the toys in Christopher Robin’s room, but they are never treated as such. They are, by all appearances, living, breathing characters. They are given the proper respect and, as a result, you never think of them as ‘just a toy.’ I think that’s a key concept that I need to impart to the game.
- Memoirs of a London Doll – I consider this a rare, valuable find. The story follows the life of a doll from the doll’s point of view. It starts on the day of her creation and follows her through several different owners. A real treasure.
- The Steadfast Tin Soldier – In typical Anderson fashion the story is a downer, but it is a great example of the emotional power of toys. Yes, the main character is nothing but a broken toy, but I was still horrified by the poor guy’s fate. There’s more to toys than just play time.
- The Stuff of Legend – This was a comic book series that came out within the last couple years. I have only read the first issue, but I liked the direction it was headed and was especially interested in the toys’ faithfulness to their child. A toy’s world revolves around their child, so their decision to plunge into unknown dangers to save him seems perfectly natural. I’m certain I can use that in the game.
- The Velveteen Rabbit – A good take on how a toy’s life can be brutal and brief. At least that’s what I took away from it. How else can you interpret the idea that to become real you have to be played with until you are worn and shabby.
I’m still researching and have uncovered a lot more sources. I’m sure I’ll mention the ones that interest me the most. And if anyone out there has a suggestion for a book to read or a movie/series to watch, pass it my way. It all goes toward making a good, solid foundation.