While still making use of text and dialogue, Nova Alea takes a subtle approach to highlighting the very real issue of real estate capitalism. There isn't any real "loss" in the game; no way to "win" either. You play as an entity representing wealth. there's a meter that tracks the progress to your goal. What that goal may be is rather unclear. If that meter should be depleted, you simply assume the role of some new phantom hyper-rich predecessors. If the citizenry, with whom you eventually find yourself in competition with, fill their meter before you, then they "win". Even that state doesn't feel like a loss. You don't lose your status or resources. Rather, the city just becomes "one of the people.
This is the kind of subtly I intend to make use of in my piece about envy. I want nothing to be so explicit that my intention is the only possible take-away from the experience.
I want just enough clarity that they know they need to do something, but not so much that there is only one answer to why. In his essay "Death to the Author", Roland Barthes makes the point that the story only becomes a story when it is consumed by an audience. My piece was already near the end stages of production when I read it, but I agree whole-heartedly.
He pointed out that stories used to be living, breathing, communal things before capitalism's creation of "the author". As such I am reaffirmed in the direction I've decided to take my piece. I've created a something open to interpretation for which the users can be co-authors. I want the meaning to change. I want the message to be open to interpretation.
I want the story of the game to be a living, breathing and communal thing.
Like the old days.