How to Make a 'CoroCoro Comic' Game
Musings on Games that Build Communities
My favorite video games are those that let you share the experience with other players. These instances don't only include multiplayer games but also single-player games that encourage interaction between players. I often refer to these games as CoroCoro Comic games because the manga magazine regularly promotes toys and video games that build active communities. CoroCoro Comic has featured many video game franchises, including Pokémon, Mega Man Battle Network, and Boktai. As an avid reader of CoroCoro Comic, I recognized a pattern of qualities amongst the games featured in the magazine.
One quality of a CoroCoro Comic game is an immersive world where the player can imagine themselves. To create this immersive world, the protagonist and the environment must be believable to the player. A protagonist that doesn't have a personality or plot centered around them makes for a better avatar because they function as nothing more than a stand-in for the player. An environment that alludes to other characters on the same quest as the protagonist makes the idea of other players inhabiting the world more reasonable. Pokémon, being a great example of this because not only does it have a silent protagonist, it also is populated with other Pokémon Trainers. Establishing a connection between reality and the game world is another aspect that contributes to creating an immersive world. Boktai establishes this connection with its real-time clock that dictates the time of day and solar sensor that alters the game world based on the amount of sunlight striking the game cartridge.
Player expression is another quality of CoroCoro Comic games and usually manifests as collectibles. These collectibles can come in many forms, such as monsters, cards, and weapons, but the important part is how many customization opportunities they present. The higher the level of customization, the more the player can express themselves, leading to a more personalized experience. Offering various methods of acquiring these collectibles (exploration, shopping, crafting, etc.) ensures that if players engage with the game differently, they will have unique collectibles. Additionally, some of these collectibles should have an air of mystery to encourage speculation amongst players about the means of obtaining them. Dragon Warrior Monsters achieves this with its robust breeding system that occasionally combines two monsters into an unknown one. While in Pokémon, some monsters have uncommon evolutionary methods that incentivize players to experiment.
Playing together is a quality of CoroCoro Comic games that isn't limited to multiplayer modes. One compelling way to play together is the Azure Sky Tower, a 99-floor dungeon in Boktai: The Sun is in Your Hand that bestows each player with one of four elemental Emblems. The only way to complete the Azure Sky Tower is by collecting every Emblem which, can only be done by swapping them with other players through the Emblem Resonance feature. Another compelling way of playing together is the BrotherBand, a feature in Mega Man Star Force 2 that boosts Link Power when you form bonds with other players. Link Power lets players equip Ability Waves, passive and active abilities that assist Mega Man in battle. However, in my opinion, the best way to play together are multiplayer modes that provide opportunities for competitive and cooperative play. Multiplayer features like battling and trading monsters in Pokémon or the invading and summoning in Dark Souls.