Video Game: Academagia

Where will your adventures take you?

Academagia, usually paired with the subtitle The Making of Mages, is a PC life simulation game with RPG Elements. Released on August 13, 2010.

The premise is simple and recognizable. You start off your first year as a new student to the Academagia. You plan out your schedule around such things as making friends, studying for your finals, and getting into general mischief. You may even discover a few earth-shattering secrets hidden for centuries among the many halls of the school. Or you could just make life miserable for your fellow victims students.

Tropes specific to this game:

  • Adults Are Useless: Quite a few random encounters fall into this category. Partially subverted in that the teachers WILL sort the mess out later, after you spectacularly fail (and end up hospitalized), which brings us into Can't Get Away with Nuthin' territory.
  • A Load of Bull: Minotaurs are one of the non-human intelligent species of Elumia. While civilized and not innately hostile, they apparently tend to keep to themselves and don't normally mix with humans or other species. One notable exception to this seclusion is Gorithnak, Academagia's Master Smith and head of The Grand Forge. Although he isn't portrayed as particularly gregarious either...
  • Art Initiates Life: There's an Adventure with Everwine von Zoedorf which eventually results in an animated flipbook's adventure coming to life.
  • Calvinball: Rimbal — a sport designed by wizards, for wizards, with fluid rules even in professional league play, no standardized field, spellcasting allowed, and bloodletting encouraged.
    • Just to clarify things, Rimbal has absolutely nothing to do with Quidditch! It's much more like a combination of rugby and basketball, where points are scored either by getting a ball to your opponent's goal or through a floating goal in the middle of the field. Also the ball must be moved by primarily magical means, too much direct physical contact by players is considered "fouling" the ball.
  • Child Mage: A main premise of the game.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The choices you get to make during adventures are branded by color, which signals your chance of success. Certain success is green, good chance of success is blue, neutral is black, good chance of failure is red, and certain failure is purple.
  • City of Adventure: Mineta is one of the largest and most important cities in Elumia; as well as the home to "The Academy of Magic of Mineta", more commonly called "Academagia". The game includes many potential events and adventures set in and around Mineta.
  • Critical Existence Failure: In a way, as having low health doesn't overtly affect anything, but lose that last health point - and you're stuck in a hospital on the day of an important test.
  • Damsel in Distress: A couple of Adventures eventually have these, and you'll usually be a big hero to your peers (whether you're a male or female character) if you save them. This can come up in a random "witnessing bullying" event, if the person being harassed is female and you stand up to the bully. Subverted in a random "student hides from going to a duel" event if the student is female; usually your goal there is to strip her of her cowardice and have her show up to the duel on time.
  • The Dark Arts: Mastery and Gates, which was not always banned but deemed evil eventually due to mass abuse and potential dangers.
  • Downloadable Content: Updates and patches come in the form of these. Full expansions will come in the future.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Many adventures will turn out this way. See Unwinnable by Design below.
  • Familiar: All magic users in this setting eventually end up with one, regardless of if they want on or not.
    • During Character Creation you have the choice of:
      • Spending 1 background point (of ~10) to select one the four of the most prevalent familiars (Cat, Dog, Rat, or Owl). And thanks to a later patch - platypus.
      • Spending 1 background point (of ~10) to have an "exotic familiar" randomly selected from a list 21 animals and fantasy creatures. Which are generally cool but if you have a specific one in mind you'll likely be recreating your character multiple times while cursing the Random Number God!
    • As far as game mechanics go your character's familiar has one or more possible adventures (with various rewards) and if you invest enough time with it bonus to your skills. However, since the main limiting factor in the game is time, many players opt to neglect their familiars in order to focus on building up their PC.
  • Floating Continent / World in the Sky: The game takes place on a large floating island in an archipelago of other floating islands. They are all separated from Cvye, the rest of the planet, by an impenetrable magical storm called the Maelstrom. Things weren't always this way, the floating islands and the Maelstrom were created thousands of years ago by Dragons to escape the general revolt of their enslaved human nations. All humans on the islands floating are descendants of the poor smucks that were on the land that was lifted skyward. However, the Dragons were eventually driven from most of the islands and appear to have been in general decline for centuries.
  • Follow the Leader: While the premise is very similar, Harry Potter was not actually that much of a source of inspiration. Earthsea, meanwhile, was given more nods in this area.
  • Functional Magic: The basic magic system in this game is a type of Rules Magic, but also contains Alchemy and Device Magic. Your character can learn to use all three. The basic magic is split between several main disciplines/skills:
    • Astrology: This magic is a catch-all term for divination, the manipulation of fate, and magic that actually affects or imitates the forces of the heavens. Mainly used for affecting your luck or fate, though.
    • Enchant: This type of magic is focused on the creation and understanding of magical enhancements to places or things. Also includes provides phemes common to these types of spells. Unlike Revision below, these enhancements are magical "additions" not alterations to the fundamental characteristics what an enchantment is cast upon.
    • Enspell: Primarily used to enhance other forms of magic by providing special abilities as well as additional phemes and spells.
    • Gates: As mentioned elsewhere Gates involves summoning creatures and people. It also includes teleportation spells. Unlike Mastery, this magic is generally not considered intrinsically morally corrupting. However, it is considered too dangerous to study for two reasons. First while most summoned creatures aren't innately evil, many tend to be hostile because they were whisked from familiar surroundings to a place with totally new sights, sounds, and smells with at least one strange human nearby. Thus they can be hard to control. Second, there is an unavoidable random component to Gates spells. Therefore, every time even a neophyte Gates user wants to cast something like "summon small cute bunny" there is a very small but real chance of the spell working more like "summon Kaiju". Unlike other spells where no matter how bad they screw-up the potential damage of mis-cast spells is limited by the power of the magic-user.
    • Glamour: The source of illusion and other spells that modify perception. Unlike Revision this type of spell does not alter a the actual person, place, or thing in question. Instead it either changes how they are perceived or otherwise influences reactions towards it.
    • Incantation: This is type of magic you learn when you want to throw fireballs, jets of water, or create snowstorms. While it has uses elsewhere, it is heavily used in dueling or certain events and adventures.
    • Mastery: This branch of magic deals with the mental and physical domination of other living beings, including sapient beings. This means it is open to possible abuse. While there have been some unarguably beneficial and ethical uses of this type of magic (e.g. helping those with traumatic memories, easing crippling phobias, treating certain types of amnesia, etc...), the harmful and abusive side is impossible to ignore and often more prevalent.
    • Negation: This magic focuses on detecting, preventing, and reversing change, regardless of cause. So in addition to spells to end or remove magic it also includes many of the healing spells of the setting (i.e. the spell heals by negating the wound, disease, or poison causing the illness). While not seen in the game, The Developers state that it is possible (temporarily) to negate aging or even death. However, the difficulty to cast and maintain such a spell is proportional to the size and complexity of the organism, as well as how great a change you are trying to reverse. For example while non-trivial it would be far easier to negate the death of a cut flower than a human being. Likewise it would easier to remove a few wrinkles on a person's face, than make their entire body decades younger. Finally, a very specialized type of Negation spells are used to detect magic.
    • Revision: Almost the direct opposite of Negation is Revision, magic discipline focused on changing aspects of living and non-living things. These are the spells that can fundamentally alter the properties of specific pieces of matter, the size of objects, as well as the physical and mental abilities of humans and other living creatures. It differs from Glamour in that a Glamour spell would only make someone's hair appear blue, but a Revision spell would make their hair blue (either temporarily or permenantly). Additionally, Revision is the main source of healing spells.
  • Guide Dang It: Purely intentional. Especially considering the advanced magical arts of Mastery and Gates. While possible for a newbie to learn these (if a genius), it is very unlikely. And since this game is your first year of magical education... you may need a little luck.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Many seemingly-innocuous skills grant you incredibly powerful spells, phemes, or abilities. For instance, mastering calligraphy allows you to write invitations so good, they control the recipient like a puppet for two days.
  • High-Class Glass: There is a monocle your character can buy and wear that grants +1 Art Appreciation.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Players can play this way if they choose, of course. It is a school game, after all, with lots of peers around to either impress or turn away. However, there's also an Adventure involving Zoe Melis, a brainiac, which initially begins with the protagonist trying to market Zoe as a homework helper but eventually morphs into an adventure trying to make Zoe popular.
  • Jerk Ass: Most characters may come across as this, depending on how you play.
  • Magic Versus Science: Mostly averted. While the technology level is described as "on the cusp of an Industrial Revolution" in most of Elumia (with minor deviations like some regions having primitive steam engines and a couple with slightly more advanced metallurgy than the rest), this is not seen as a challenge to Magic's place in human society. Also, the Devs have stated that technology can be heavily blended with magic, "which has both benefits and drawbacks." Furthermore, there are skills for both science and technology (those appropriate to the setting) and characters can learn them along with magic. There's even one student that thinks of herself more as an inventor that uses magic to make her inventions safer and more effective than a mage.
  • The Matchmaker: One Adventure has you trying to help Cyres Dawes hook up with a girl. It takes a while, though, especially since you have to spend a great deal of time simply trying to find the right girl in the first place.
    • In another Adventure, you find out that Morvidus student Vettor Conda has a crush on Vernin student Amada Kiffer, but he recently blew his chances by soaking her with a water geyser as a prank. So one Adventure has you try to help Vettor Conda make it up to somehow getting both Vettor and Amada declared King and Queen of the Fall Formal.
  • Mediator: One of the Adventures places you in this role. Specifically, you're invited to a noble court that handles disputes, and you're given the title of the "Innocence"; this is because the court's founder believed that children are untainted by the world's biases and thus are best suited to be judges. You, along with the adult judges with whom you have to share votes (though as the "Innocence", you carry a lot of sway), are asked to settle the following disputes:
    • A woman (the plaintiff) is accusing her boyfriend (the defendant) of cheating on her with another woman, because she saw him walking with another woman and enjoying himself. The defendant protests his innocence; he has dated no other woman but his lover. Which one of them is telling the truth? Both, sort-of. The boyfriend was getting jealous, feeling that his lover didn't appreciate him enough, so he conjured an illusion of another woman to make his lover jealous. It just backfired horribly because instead of just getting jealous, his lover assumed he was outright cheating. Since as he himself admit this was an extremely boneheaded move on his part, you can choose to rule in the plaintiff's favor, arguing that she has every right to break up with him now, but maybe they can maintain a cordial friendship. Or, now that the plaintiff knows the defendant really does love her, you can rule in the defendant's favor and argue that since he didn't cheat and really does love her, she should stay in a relationship with him.
    • Two men are arguing over the patents to magical spells and devices they've invented. The plaintiff is convinced that the other man stole his ideas, while the defendant (who for some bizarre reason is named Darwin, yes, after Charles Darwin) maintains that he is innocent, that the ideas were in fact his and thus, he should get the money from the products and not the plaintiff. Which one of them is telling the truth? The plaintiff is, and you eventually cause the defendant to have to hand over the profits.
  • Mugging the Monster: With high enough magic skills you can play out the trope.
  • Mutually Exclusive Magic: Very much averted. Although some magic users in the setting choose to specialize heavily in one or two categories of magic it is entirely possible to study and use them all (See The Red Mage below).
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: Even though there are skills called "Dating" and "Romance", during the first year the PC and his/her classmates are all 10 to 12 years old. Therefore, neither dating or romance is possible for your character, but according to the game's developers these things will appear in later years. Somewhat Subverted and Played With in that NPCs can have unexpressed or unrequited crushes on each-other. These situations are nearly always Played for Laughs, like a hulking female bully not knowing how to properly express her crush on a more normal-sized male student.
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: Academagia has a lot of Byzantine rules that amount to "you're not allowed to go anywhere or do anything except attend class and stay in your room the rest of the time when not at an Academy-approved activity." You're expected to sneak out and take a walk in the gardens to learn more about the world now and then, but if you get caught, you'll get detention.
  • Oh, Crap: You, the player, shall have this reaction when seeing nearly all your options are red. Or, heaven forbid, purple.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The dragons are a mixture of Eastern and Western in appearance (as seen here) and mostly Western style in personality, with a healthy dose of Abusive Precursors. They are probably extinct on the surface of the world and not very numerous in the floating islands of Elumia (much to the relief of the human population).
  • Politeness Judo: While there are at least a few examples this trope in the various Adventures and Events, the most egregious example is actually a game mechanic. With a very high Calligraphy skill your character has access to an Action called Create Formal Invitation. When this action is used on another student it's possible to create a written request so elegant in form and content that compels the recipient to agree, basically allowing you to control them for up to two days! The only way to gain more control over another character is through Mastery spells, and that's a highly prohibited form of magic. Furthermore, unlike most other available ways to force NPCs to do specific things, it won't worsen your relationship or be considered a hostile act.
  • Promoted Fanbase: The developers have started to include many player-written Adventures and Events as part of DLCs.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Legate Orso Orsi, head of Academagia, usually fulfills this trope. However, YMMV when it comes to the Regents of the seven colleges within Academagia or the other instructors.
  • The Red Mage: Your character can easily become this during the game. They can learn just about any combination of the different magic skills, including with the right circumstances the forbidden magic of Gates and Mastery and the only real limitation is the finite school year.
  • Refuge in Audacity: One student's adventure line has your character helping her set up a clandestine tutoring service without getting caught by the instructors. Your character's solution should you choose Navigation? Not so mundane as to plot a secret path through the grounds, no. Levitate an entire dorm building and bring the class to the students all while talking like pirates.
  • School Uniforms Are the New Black: During the school year all students of Academagia are required to were clearly identifiable school uniforms basically everywhere but their rooms. Furthermore, each college has its own variation on design and color scheme. The main reason for this is to assuage the understandable concerns the general populace and government of Mineta, over the hundreds of potentially mischievous and/or incompetent magic-users-in-training.
  • Sequel Hook: The entirety of the game, as it is only the first year of a five year education.
  • Sky Pirate: Because the game takes place on a World in the Sky where the surface (and its oceans) are present but unreachable, they are usually referred to as simply "pirates". Like the legitimate sailors of Elumia, the pirates mostly use wind-powered flying ships that are either specifically enchanted or made with of a rare wood that "naturally" floats in the air. Although there are some mundane lighter-than-aircraft. Pirates are practically the default villain in this game, since they are the most prevalent antagonists in events and adventures, even eclipsing the local Thieves' Guild.
  • Spell Construction: In this setting magic spells are cast using special symbols, called "phemes", that are combined to produce spells a bit like phonetic sounds are combined to produce words. Spells are usually inscribed on magical three dimensional space, called a "palette", using a wand. However, it is the phemes that are essential to spell casting, specialized tools like palettes and wand are helpful in a number of ways but not necessary. Theoretically, a skilled mage could draw the phemes in dust or mud with a stick and still cast spells, provided the phemes are made accurately.
  • Status Buff: Nearly all types are present and depending on the specific spell they can be cast on your character, NPCs, or both. Specifically, there are spells to heal damage, reduce stress, temporarily increase certain Skills or Attributes, and even give temporary increases in the chance for success on difficulty roles. There are also spells that can debuff, or impose negative conditions, to other students as well.
  • True Companions: An important, but not necessary, aspect of the game is being part of a "clique".
    • Cliques are groups of students and can be formed both by the PC or NPCs, via the "Befriend" action. The chance of success is based upon the mutual relationship between the initiating student and the target, the better their relationship the more likely it is to succeed. There is no hard-coded upper limit to the size of cliques, but maintaining a clique requires a fairly good relationship values for everyone involved (i.e. the NPC students not only have like the PC, they also have to get along with each other). So the larger the clique, the more time and effort a PC will have to spend keeping everyone on good terms. Cliques can also break-up, usually by splitting into two or more new cliques. This can happen even in normally stable cliques; due to someone getting a strong negative emotion, the addition of a new member not everyone likes (often a result of one NPC clique-member befriending another student with a mutual dislike of one or more current members of the clique), or being the victim of various spells intended to sabotage friendships and social interaction. Note that these situations can be intentionally caused by both the PC and NPC students, by way of special actions or spells.
    • Membership in a clique has a few in-game benefits. First, each student has a unique bonus that is shared with all clique members (either passive buffs, or an additional action/ability). Second, during adventures the if another clique-member's skill is higher than the PC's it will be used instead on the given option's skill role. Finally, in an odd version of Gameplay and Story Segregation, no matter the clique-mate's skills during an adventure you can select a clique member to complete the current phase of the adventure, allowing your character to progress but forfeiting any particular reward for that specific phase, but only once per clique-member. While these benefits are useful they are not powerful enough to invoke Ineffectual Loner on a PC that forgoes clique-memberships.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Adventures can be won, if your level in the appropriate skills are high enough. There is no way to know ahead of time what events may happen to you, so there WILL be time that you just cannot win. Refer to Real Life for more details.
  • Up to Eleven: All skills go up to 10, but all have an eleventh level to unlock. You just have to figure out how.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: While there are in-game ways to do physical, emotional, or psychological harm to your fellow students; there are just as many beneficial ways to interact with NPCs. The game mechanics include actions like "Befriend" which improve the relationship between the PC and NPC, a few actions like "Share a pot of hot coca" that can reduce stress of NPCs, spells and abilities to heal, buff, or de-stress other students. Many random events also NPCs and there are usually options to help, and not just hinder them. There are also at least one adventure per NPC student that the PC can access if they have at least a slightly cordial relationship. The majority of these adventures involve helping the specific NPC student achieve major goals and/or successfully deal with personal issues. Sure there are usually in-game rewards for completing these, but the story lines of these adventures will likely make you fell better about yourself for helping a scrawny but driven Rimbal enthusiast make the school's official team or assisting the Token Minority student on a project about his heritage and homeland (which is barely known in this part of the floating islands).
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: From straightforward physical harm such as punching and setting your classmate on fire to social cruelty (Slander Character, break up friendships between NPC, make everyone hate a NPC) to forbidden evil magic (Induce Coma, Master, and controls your victim like a puppet while making them aware of it). However, save for the Forbidden Magic, other classmate can do the same to you.
  • Wizard Duel: While frowned upon by the faculty, it is possible to duel other students. There are even specialized dueling actions, skills, and spells.
  • Wizarding School: As one might guess from the title, the game revolves around an academy that teaches students about magic. In this setting there are a small number of magical schools but they usually specialize in at most a few disciplines. Academagia is one of only two schools that teach all forms of (legal) magic, and it is by far the oldest (Academagia has been around for centuries, the other one has existed for less than a decade). Here is a view of the academy campus and its environs.