How to Make a 'CoroCoro Comic' Game
Musings on Games that Build Communities
The most fun I've had playing video games are instances when I can share that experience with other people. 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 often features games that build active communities. CoroCoro Comic has promoted many video game franchises that meet these criteria, including Pokémon, Mega Man Battle Network, and Boktai. So, what qualities of CoroCoro Comic games inspire a sense of community among their players?
One of the qualities of a CoroCoro Comic game is an immersive world that the player can imagine themselves in. 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 characters that are 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. Worldbuilding, the process of constructing an imaginary world, is another aspect that contributes to creating an immersive world. One method of worldbuilding is theming, like how Pokémon and Boktai both add prefixes ("Poké" and "Solar," respectively) to facilities and devices to make the world feel more consistent with its fantasy elements.
Player expression is another aspect of CoroCoro Comic games and usually manifests as collectibles that are the focal point of the battle system. These collectibles can come in many forms, such as monsters, cards, and weapons, but the important part is how much they allow the player to customize their avatar. The higher the level of customization, the more the player can express themselves, leading to a more personalized experience. Offering a variety of methods to acquire these collectibles like exploration, shopping, and crafting contributes to player expression because it ensures players that engage with the game in different ways will collect unique things. Some collectibles should also have an air of mystery because that will motivate players to speculate about the means of obtaining them. Dragon Warrior Monsters achieves this with its robust breeding system that combines two monsters into a rarer one. While in Pokémon, some monsters have uncommon evolutionary methods that incentivize experimentation.
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 allows the player to 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. Pokémon famously allows players to battle and trade monsters while Dark Souls lets you enter the game of another player to aid or impede their progress.