Authors Note: I had written this piece originally as a goodbye post on a fan forum for the now cancelled game: Geomon. I have chosen to reproduce it in its original, message-board form, rather than re-write it. Its possible there is more to say in regards to Geomon, but this will suffice for now.
I’m looking at a small redcap, who I named Lil’ Rouge. After Wednesday the 17th of April, I will never see it again and I am wondering why this matters so much and why it makes me more than a little sad.
All collectible games, and all collecting activity, balance this desire to own with a desire to have the things that you own somehow become a reflection of you. I’ve been collecting things all my life- fossils, artworks, cereal prizes, trading cards and yet what kept me coming back to Geomon, and possibly kept others coming back as well, was a highly original spin on this desire. This combined with the way that the game fostered a unique relationship to collecting. It’s one that isn’t present in most games that hinge around a “mechanic” of collecting or collectability.
I played Magic the Gathering for many years, and I think many of my thoughts about a collectible game are shaped by that simple fact. Over years of playing Magic the Gathering, I had many wonderful rare cards, some that were powerful, some that were valuable. But I’ve noticed that I didn’t necessarily feel the same way about them that I have felt about these immaterial little bundles of information sitting in my vault on the geomon server.
Perhaps it is this: Geomon balanced out something very unique in the landscape of collecting games. In Magic the Gathering, you got those powerful and rare cards because you were rich or because you were lucky. I think that’s the way it is with most collecting games. In Geomon, though, while you certainly could collect things by being rich or being lucky, it was the only game I have played where one could also find incredible, special and rare things by being smart… by being inquisitive, by being observant and by being diligent.
That, to me, is ultimately what set it apart. It was a collecting game, but it somehow mirrored more closely the sort of collecting you do out in the world- when you hunt fossils, or go bird-watching or geo-caching. Intelligence matters, because what you find is inter-related with a whole complex web of factors.
So that’s what I think about when I look at lil’ Rouge. It’s not just that he was the highest hit point specimen reported on the forums. Nor was it the fact that he was an anchor point in my duel team for months, after I figured out how to give him a trinket that truly pushed his strengths into the top tier. I think it was also the memory of finding him. I remember it perfectly. I woke up on a rainy morning at dawn. If I hadn’t turned on my iPhone at that exact moment, in those specific weather conditions, I might not have found him. Its all bound up together.
It’s hard to explain if you weren’t a part of it. I’ve been reading all these farewell posts on the Espercorp forum from people who describe themselves as literally crying that they’ll never see the small creatures again, deeply sad to have a community of players disperse into nothing.
I understand them. They loved this game because they loved its world. And they loved sharing it with other players- talking about their discoveries, trading creatures with each other, comparing notes and strategies… all revolving around these fabulous creatures that existed only as packets of information in the real world but existed in some other way as well, each somehow unique, each something we watched grow and change and become ours.
I will end it here. Goodbye to all of you, and to all of my other creatures and my friends. Special shout-outs are due to Milkaholic, one of the true intellectuals of the game, and to Rex9595, who was a brilliant person to have a long chat with about collecting and strategy- but also to everyone I forgot.
Also- a big tip of the hat to the people of Espercorp. Not only did you make a great game, but you ended it well. From what I understand, it was known for weeks that the game was going to end due to fiscal problems, and yet instead of just pulling the plug with no warning, they designed a fabulous adventure for everyone to work through together, one which gave every player a fabulous zodiac creature, their own coveted mech, and perhaps my favorite, a hilarious scapegoat to blame it all on.
-this is Agent Deerteam signing out