Saol: Life of the Irish

Saol: Life of the Irish

What I’ve Learned & My Question

In Irish Women and Drama, much of what we’ve learned is about the situations that Irish women have faced as individuals throughout history and how those women have faced hardship. By looking at the population through the lens of drama and plays, we’ve seen deeper into the lives of women by seeing individual women in many situations, seeing how they react to events. Following this, I wanted to propose a topic that would delve deeper into this subject – What are the differing ways that women reacted to events in history? What were decisions they faced and where did those decisions take them?

Genre and Research

To do this, I’ve chosen to provide a game proposal for my project. To help inform my proposal, I’ll be using two of the plays we read in class, a recommended book, an article, and some of my own research from my earlier What Came Before assignment. I’ll be using the plays Dancing at Lughnasa and Cathleen ni Houlihan. The book Chronology of Irish History will give me a timeline of events that can potentially be used in my proposed game. The article Ruffling a Few Patriarchal Hairs provides meaningful real-life reactions from women. My research into the Great Famine for my What Came Before assignment gives me a good look into how the Irish were treated by the British and connections between the repression during that time period and the extreme difficulties that came about when the Great Famine hit. Further research into individual women’s stories in both major and minor historical events in Ireland will assist me in creating a realistic, informative game for players. Making connections between events to see how they influenced each other will allow me to make the choices in the game much more interconnected, leading the player along potentially thousands of different lives.

My Proposal

The game I am proposing is meant to take a player through the lives of Irish women in a realistic historical setting, using the actual timeline of major historical events and adding semi-random minor events that may have happened, putting the player in the shoes of an Irish woman trying to survive through difficult times. The game starts with the player choosing a starting situation – where and when to begin, social situation, financial situation, etc. As the game begins, the player’s character is thrown into an historical Irish world.

The player makes decisions for their character such as switching jobs, making deals, moving locations, joining groups, and many, many more considerations. While the player’s family is influenced by what the player does in the game, but they have their own minds and will make their own choices and have their own situations, sometimes to the dismay of the player. The player character’s sons may leave her to join a war. The husband may come down with an illness and pass away young, leaving the player to take care of a family alone or choose to remarry, potentially to the disdain of their neighbors. All choices will have consequences and bring either change or potentially missed opportunities. As years pass, the player’s character will age and different events will come up. Eventually, the player’s original character will pass away and the player will begin playing as one of their daughters, if there are any. The player loses if they don’t have any daughters. As a player, you can set your own goals for your game. At its base, the way to win the game is to have your family survive until the year 2000. The player can further set goals to get their family to a certain status, or see where different choices will take them.

Educational Goals

The goal of the game from a developer standpoint is to provide a fun environment for players to experience Irish historical events, specifically from the perspective of an Irish woman. Players get to experience trying to survive the situations that many Irish women in history faced, including famine, illness, money troubles, repression, and family issues. The player will be faced with many difficult choices that should be made with a mind for the future. Different choices will send the player character and her family on many different, branching paths, allowing the player to experience many lives. I would hope that it would encourage the player to follow a roleplaying style, getting into the mindset of an Irish woman and imagining living through that life.

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