Close Play: Monster Prom

For my close play, I want to focus on a game called Monster Prom, developed by Beautiful Glitch and published by those awesome guys in 2018. It contains a DLC called “Second – Term” and has a sequel called Monster Camp. Inspired by a game called The Yawhg, Monster Prom is a comedic romance simulator where the player attempts to use their character stats to their advantage in order to secure a date to prom. The section of my game is the beginning of gameplay, where players answer questions that determine their starting stats. I felt it was a good segment to use to represent the game as a whole.

One of the first things I always notice when playing this game is the music. After looking it up, I discovered it’s a genre called ‘surf rock’. It’s a style of rock that most associate with surfing, beach life, youths, and wild fun. I feel like this music choice sets the proper tone of the game. Monster Prom is a wacky, adult adventure that doesn’t apologize for its meta or out-there humor, and instead expects the player to lean into it and be wild. The style of font, feeling more organic than technical, attributes to this laid-back attitude.

The clip I chose (the personality quiz from ‘TeenWolf’ magazine) is the first part of the gameplay you experience after selecting your character. The first line reads “WELCOME TO MONSTER PROM’S STUPIDEST POP QUIZ EVER!”. This first line, I feel, sets the expectation for players who are new to the game that Monster Prom is a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and embraces meta-commentary. Later in the introduction of the quiz, it game says “Worry no more, we’re now using our Ph.D. in bullshit to diagnose what kind of sicko you are.”. The vulgar language (besides the rating of the game) establishes that this game is meant for an older audience. This is further solidified by the behavior of the characters in scenarios presented later on. 

The quiz always gives three questions, but the questions change with each playthrough, as do the scenarios and potential routes you can pursue in a playthrough. For the session I recorded, the first question I received asked what school subject I’d want to be added to the curriculum. Choices were either wacky responses like: wrestling a crocodile or emotional manipulation, or they were more serious responses that could be interpreted as a reflection of ‘teen angst’ or could be a commentary on American society. For example, the third option of a school subject was, “critical thought…I mean damn, this country could really use a subject like that in schools.” The way it’s written sounds like a high schooler’s cynical response to the question, but we as players know adults wrote this game so it has another layer of commentary to the current social or political climate of our country.

After selecting a response, icons float above each possible answer, telling the player what stat each response would affect. The icons for player stats are all cartoon faces that remind me of stickers. They have clear signifiers and are easily recognizable. On the note of color, each player is tied to color related to the character they chose (yellow, green, red, and blue). This was an element heavily inspired by The Yawhg, where the four playable characters were represented by the same four colors. While yellow, green, red, and blue are colors often used for the representation of different types of elements in video games, the Yawhg and Monster Prom both use them as ways to differentiate between the players (ie. who’s stats are being changed, who’s turn it is, etc.). This aspect ties into other similarities between the two games due to Monster Prom’s inspiration being The Yawhg

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The Yawhg playable characters
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Monster Prom playable characters

The last of the three questions is always a question with six choices; each choice represents one of the six romanceable characters in the game. The choice the player chooses gives them an affection stat bonus towards the character the choice represents. This is a way to give players a headstart if they want to pursue that romance option, but the game allows for full freedom throughout the entire playthrough. To represent the romance stat, headshots of each character with a heart are used instead of the other stat symbols. The last question on this playthrough had the heart eyes emoji as the header image. I feel that the stat icons could be Monster Prom’s spin on the emojis, or even what emojis look like in their universe. But with emojis like the heart eyes emoji being in the magazine, I feel like the stat icons are just like stickers rather than actual social media emojis in this universe. The heart eyes emoji is another indicator of the target demographic for this type of game, being late teens early 20s who are hip to internet culture. 
There are many great elements to Monster Prom and I hope that those reading this find this game interesting and try it out for themselves. ☺

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