I’ve recently finished watching the Fantasy High series from College Humour, a DND actual play series, and I loved it. The premise is “High Fantasy meets High School” and the Player Characters are all High Schoolers, including the Half-Orc raised by Gnomes, the Jock who is afraid to follow in his fathers shadow, the Human cleric who was chosen by god and is unsure of her faith, the Goblin Veronica Mars, the Elf who’s failed to get into her sister’s school and the Tiefling who thought she was an elf until her horns grew in. The thing they all have in common is, like most protagonists of YA novels, they are all trying to discover their identity.
It got me thinking, in the same way these adults who have been out of school for a long time were able to inhabit their younger characters, there are loads of games where we inhabit young adult characters who are trying to find their identity or who are trying to make sense of what their world is now. There are some obvious examples, games where the main characters are school children, such as Gone Home, OxenFree and the Life Is Strange and Persona series, but there are also games that I think are a bit less obvious, such as Undertale, which is a story where you play a child in a deeply personal story. You could also argue Earthbound and the entire Mother series is a series of Young Adult games. There are also countless TTRPGs and board-games that involve players taking the role of a child or a teenager and taking part and creating your own stories. Stories where the world or yourself can’t be saved by other people, it has to be saved by you, in a way that you have never had to deal with before.
I know I’m rambling, but I can’t stop thinking about just how, in video games and games in general, there isn’t a “Young Adult” industry in the same way there is for books or TV shows. Undertale is the only game I feel that had the same relative success as something like Twilight, something made out of love that recieved a huge following from all sorts of people. Would you want to see more YA games? Do you think more teens would play story games if there were more YA games? Are there more games that you would consider YA?