Project Oracle is an in-progress RPG Maker 2003 RPG I started in early 2004. The original game was a cheese-fest with a cliched and uninteresting cast, unimaginative plot, and unimpressive graphics; the project was dropped in late 2005 due to my own disillusionment with it.
However, the project was revived in the summer of 2009, and the new version is a whole different animal. The plot was re-written, the self-inserts were zapped, the characters were fleshed out, and the sound and visuals have made giant leaps. Though the plot still contains many artifacts of its cheesy heritage, it takes a different approach to them. The new plot has a much more meta bent to it, where the narrative devices and gameplay elements are real, physical, and observable in-universe. The tone bounces back and forth between Affectionate Parody and Deconstruction.
The game takes heavy inspiration from the Final Fantasy series, and, to a lesser extent, the Shin Megami Tensei series. The borrowed elements number almost high enough for this to be considered a fan-game, though I still consider it to stand on its own, for the most part.
The game is currently in its alpha stages; a good deal of the material on this page is planned material, though I've tried to keep this to a minimum. Development is moving at a leisurely pace, and I plan on eventually releasing a playable demo. We're taking bets on whether or not this will ever actually happen.
This mess contains examples of:
- Actually Four Blokes - invoked in the case of the Wyverns in the Dwarrow Underlands due to space limitations, though this is not used as a rule.
- Advancing Wall of Doom - The Demon Wall is planned to make an appearance in Group 3's path.
- Ambidextrous Sprite - Averted; each character has a defined handedness that is followed more or less consistently.
- An Ice Person - Taylor.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit - Most of the game limits your party size to three (plus a guest character, if applicable) for story reasons, as the player party splits into three groups of three at the beginning and don't rejoin one another until the end. However, the final dungeon will give you the option to assemble your own party, but the party will still be limited to three characters.
- Bag of Sharing - Invoked explicitly. Jephod gives the party an item called the Bag Of Sharing.
- Blow You Away - Adele.
- Broken Bridge - There's no actual reason for that dead tree to be there blocking the entrance to the Faerie Village, nor is there any particular reason it should disappear after the first boss fight. It's been left in mostly as a gag.
- Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp" - Used pretty blatantly, but for the purpose of making things more interesting.
- Card-Carrying Villain - The Big Bad was this before the plot rewrite gave him/her/it more complex motivations.
- Choke Point Geography - One of the game's weaknesses; linearity is enforced by the environment.
- Developers' Foresight - I try to use this design philosophy as much as possible. For example, there's a door in Dverborough Palace that opens automatically when you approach it, and closes when you move away. If you play with this too much, though, the guards will scold you.
- Dishing Out Dirt - Beth.
- Elemental Powers - Every playable character is assigned a unique element.
- Elemental RockPaperScissors - Elements are arranged in opposing pairs, with Fire and Ice, Lightning and Water, Earth and Wind, and Light and Dark.
- Expy - Logoni is inspired by Lemeza Kosugi.
- Fragile Speedster - Michael, to an extent.
- Goddamned Bats - Yes, the bats are very goddamned.
- Grandfather Clause - Many aspects of the old version remain in the new version, either as in-jokes, nostalgic references, or matters of practical necessity. Most notable is the use of RPG Maker 2003 instead of a newer version of RPG Maker; the game was begun when RM2K3 was the newest version, but most of the custom graphics are too low-res for any of the newer ones. Switching at this point would basically mean starting over from scratch.
- Guest-Star Party Member - Logoni and Sparrow. Guest members are AI-controlled.
- Holy Hand Grenade - Joey.
- Infinity +1 Element - The Almighty element from the Shin Megami Tensei series makes an appearance as Clara's element.
- MacGuffin - The Artifact Pieces are this, and unrepentantly so.
- Making a Splash - Jackson.
- Mary Sue - Parodied with Sparrow. Has elements of Black Hole Sue.
- Mighty Glacier - Beth.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same - Adele lampshades this during the visit to Dverborough Palace.
- Party in My Pocket - Used shamelessly for the player party.
- Playing with Fire - Michael.
- Shock and Awe - Matt.
- Squishy Wizard - Adele, Clara, and Joey, to varying extents.
- Troperiffic - One of this project's goals is to use, abuse, play with, lampshade, and deconstruct as many tropes as possible.
- Weaksauce Weakness - Without her Orb equipment, Clara is weak to every element in the game.
- What's Up, King Dude? - Lampshaded with King Davin.
- Word of God - Recursive example; this page, for all intents and purposes, is Word of God.