The Hero’s Journey has been a phrase that is pervasive in popular culture since the days of old. Some have stated that it’s a part of the human collective unconscious; this means that it’s essentially the story of us.
The Hero’s Journey is a very human story that gets to the heart of the human condition. It can be told at varying scales, take other forms, and still maintain it’s core. Now, I won’t get into the details of the whole structure, but let me lay out the important points.
Hero goes on a journey. Hero turns away from the journey; the hero meets a mentor that prompts them to take the journey. Hero ends up in a different world, which allows them to gain something of value. The hero eventually escapes the other world and returns home changed from the experience and offers value to the people around them as a result. There are a few good examples of this in popular culture.
Some good examples of this are Mulan, Hercules, Aladdin, the original Star Wars and more. At the heart of each of these movies is the same core concept, often broken into three acts. In some way, each of these stories touches the individuals that watch the movies. This concept is used in the movies we watch today as well. Why? Well, let me explain.
At the core of the Hero’s Journey is change. The change that the character goes through is part of the reason why a player might connect with your character because changes come with an important aspect of going through uncomfortable moments.
Your character might be used to their normal life, but once that’s disturbed with a journey, exposed to new experiences, change occurs. Those changes are very powerful, as players it’s revealing of the inner thoughts of our characters and how they will choose to grow in these uncomfortable situations. For example, you may cry and feel touched when the character finally reaches their goal after struggling through so much pain. Part of the reason why is the struggle; the other part is the gratification. Humans love rewards; we love them more if we have to work hard to get them. You might say that the struggle has nothing to do with the change, but in my opinion, it’s at the core of the issue.
A journey needs struggle; the pain of overcoming a challenge must be there. That pain is something we all can recognize because dealing with pain is at the core of the human experience. In the story, the hero gets a pay off for all that pain, and that’s something we all want in our own lives.
Why else would you make a game?
With that said, have a good one and keep creating your beautiful game!