May 21, 2024
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Bergenfield Teen Blurs the Line Between Science and Fiction With Roswell RPG

Bergenfield—The events of Roswell, New Mexico, have long been debated in the science fiction world. Where some view it as science, others assert that it is fiction. Frisch sophomore Judah Mantell is not concerned about whether it is true or not. “I’ve always been fascinated by science fiction, and especially the Roswell story,” Mantell explained. While most high schoolers might be content reading up on the topic of interest, and probably watching reruns of “The X-files,” Mantell decided to take things a step further and developed a computer game based on the story. And not just a run-of-the-mill video game, an intricate and innovative role-playing game, or RPG.

For those unfamiliar with the world of gaming (Dungeons and Dragons is an age-old RPG, before computers jazzed the games up), many current computer role-playing games involve fighting, wars, weapons and fantasy, but Roswell takes a different look at the game style. Mantell’s Roswell game focuses on a character named Henry Fern, “a skeptical, government-hired janitor.” The conflict arises when Fern “stumbles upon a secret that has been kept to this day. Through experiments and odd occurrences, he discovers the repressed memories of his deleted past and a secret government plot that has been following him since the beginning of his career.”

Mantell drew on many different sources for inspiration in this game. Drawing on his own interests: obviously “X-files” shows, as well as the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, the plot and ending of the game can change based on the choices the user makes in the course of the game. The character is part of the story, and the choices the gamer makes impact how the game proceeds. A long-time fan of Atari and the original Nintendo, Mantell included throwbacks there too. The pixelated graphics take the player back to the types of games before Mantell was even born—reminiscent of the old-school game systems. “I always enjoyed playing the retro-type of consoles,” Mantell explained.

Roswell deviated further from a traditional RPG, not just in eliminating combat, but in making it heavily puzzle-based in its format. Additionally, while he included an eerie element to the game, it does not have the horror factor that many well-known RPGs possess.

But for both believers and skeptics alike, now everyone has a chance to be part of the next big news for Roswell. Mantell hopes to raise funds through an Indiegogo campaign, and he is already 90 percent funded, too. Getting in on the funding earns swag for the participant—from desktop wallpaper to a hard copy of the game, Roswell T-shirts or even having a character named after someone. If a namesake character is something that appeals to you, get there fast. That kickback is only available to one male and one female character.

Mantell credits both his family and his school with being a part of this endeavor. “Frisch has been very encouraging, both artistically and technologically,” Mantell said. The school reciprocates their admiration for Mantell as well. “Frisch is proud of Judah for nurturing his artistic and gaming talents, and earning recognition for his achievements in creating the RPG game Rosewell,” said Rabbi Eli Ciner, principal. “Judah inspires his peers to persist in pursuing their passions and following their dreams.” Continuing his appreciation, Mantell added, “My mother has really allowed me to pursue this. Being part of a musical and artistic family has also helped with parts of the game when I couldn’t do it all on my own.”

To be a part of the historical Roswell story, visit Mantell’s fundraising page at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/roswell-an-rpg-adventure-game#/ and snag some swag for loved ones.

By Jenny Gans

 

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