Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #141

BET YOU CAN’T do this writing prompt. Take the 10 random words below and, in the comments, crush writer’s block by creating a cohesive, creative short story tying all of them together! And remember: after (if) you finish, highlight your words and click the bold button to make them stand out and help you determine if you forgot any words. (If you’ve missed previous writing prompts, we BET YOU CAN’T do those, either.)

  1. Sheet
  2. Energy
  3. Beat
  4. Stupid
  5. Doughy
  6. Speck
  7. Void
  8. Vein
  9. Conscious
  10. Jovial – jolly

NOTE: Don’t copy and paste from MS Word. Use a program like notepad that removes formatting or just type in the comment field itself. Also, finish your submission, THEN bold the words. Thanks. (And don’t forget to tweet this and share it with your friends.)

Resources you should check out:
Thesis: Best Damn Theme on the Web
Collective Ink Well: Personalize Your Thesis Theme
Third Tribe Marketing: Marketing done the right way
Story Structure Demystified: Best damn writing book out there


117 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #141”

  1. Shane Arthur says:

    “Holly Sheet, Billy! I’s done practically spent all my energy beatin’ it and the stupid thing is all limp and doughy still. Ain’t a speck of life in it. It be void of rigor. Ain’t it supposed to rise? Man, I’m sweatin, my veins is poppin’ out, and I’m bout to loose consciousness if I’s go on any longer.”

    “Bobby, you’s supposed to be jovial. You’s provin’ dat you can take care of your own needs and be self sufficient. Besides, I never said makin’ your own bread from scratch was easy.”

    P.S. Hey Mitchell, your writing always leaves hidden gems inside. I left some in this challenge itself to see if you catch them.

  2. This one feels like poetry to me:
    The sheet of energy beat down on the stupid, doughy void which was a speck in the jovial vein of the conscious spaceman’s dream.

    Not much of a story, but a really fun sentence.

  3. Lydia says:

    Risk Factors
    Step one: fill out the family history sheet.
    Heart disease. Diabetes. Severe allergies.
    But your aunt will beat her stage IV cancer.
    How can you believe anything but this?
    Step two: void your bladder. Try not to look
    for visible specks of invisible problems as
    you self-consciously carry it to the nurse.
    Step three: wait for the doctor in a paper thin
    gown that sticks to the doughy examination
    bed. She appears. Blood pressure. Pulse.
    Any new symptoms? No, not even a cold
    this winter. Excellent. Let’s do some routine
    blood work while you’re here. Onto step four.
    Why are so many phlebotomists jovial?
    One stick, two stick, three sticks, and
    red energy fills the tube. Stupid vein.
    Five days for the results. Don’t call
    us, we’ll call you if anything is amiss.

  4. margaret says:

    A conscious effort I will make
    to beat the heat and stay awake.
    When I would rather stay in bed
    and pull the sheet up over my head!

    When there is oh so much to do
    and there’s not a speck of energy in you,
    You need to stay jovial and refrain
    from being stupid and cutting a vein!

    Your brain might feel doughy and void of thought
    but it’s best to not in a slump get caught! 🙂

  5. Jen says:

    I wandered into the void of the barren backyard. Haggard grass grew in blotches in the patch of red dirt, the wind stirred up trouble for my eyes as a I searched the yard for somewhere, anywhere to hang the sheet. Oklahoma heat thrummed over my skin, leaving me breathless and without energy. The cracked ground reflected my weariness and I cursed, again, this stupid place.
    I’d been a plump, doughy newlywed when Daniel and I, in a fit of jovial idiocy, agreed to join our neighbors on their covered wagon. We hitched right with them and traveled west. Further and further we trod, our progress slow across the mountains of New York and Pennsylvania, through the rolling Ohio farmland, on into Indiana, Illinois and Missouri.
    By the time we’d reached St. Louis our winsome spirit of adventure had been replaced with grief and guilt and a contant hunger ripping through our bodies. It felt as if the hunger had entered our veins, as if this propelled us, kept us alive. We were lucky to have only lost 4 in our traveling party, but hardest to bury the baby.
    Standing here, on this red dirt, staring at a vastness I could little imagine some eight months ago, I struggled to force the right thoughts into my head. Thoughts about creating that happy homestead I’d always dreamed of, with pigtailed girls and knee-skinned boys clambering about. The wet sheet sobbed in my arms, the coolness of it on my arm made me conscious of the heat beating the rest of my body. If I could only cover myself in this cold, wet cotton, create a cave of distant memories and long lost dreams.
    I shivered as Daniel sidled up behind me. I knew it was him. His footsteps call to me like the the coyotes in the distance. I felt his breath on my neck and released my own, aware that I’d been holding it, waiting for some speck of motion or fury or desire or… or… something to push me into the yard, to find a place to hang that sheet, to make this place our home.

  6. @Jen: Ah, no Oregon Trail? I bet crossing the Missouri was some sort of adventure.

    • Jen says:

      No. No Oregon Trail. Stupid husband wanted got lost and wouldn’t ask for directions. That’s how the ended up in OK. 😉

  7. This is the third poem I have written today, but this one inspired completely different set of theme than my poetry game.

    Broken Together
    conscious jovial energy
    passion beat through a vein
    bodies tossing in a doughy sheet
    moment a speck of joy in a horror life
    where emotions are more than void
    a stupid mistake or meant to be
    we weren’t supposed to be together
    BTW, follow my name link if you want to read my Twitter poem today I wrote 2 poems with same 13 words.

  8. Anne Maybus says:

    (still can’t get the bold working, sorry. comments are playing up.)

    She shook the sheet out thoroughly and then began to peg it to the clothes line. The wind beat wildly and she struggled as the sheet whipped back and forth. The weather was grim but the rain looked like it would hold off for a while.

    Overhead a speck in the wild grey sky came closer. One, then two, then a flock of birds flew overhead, seeking shelter in the nearby trees.

    She bent to the laundry basket and pulled out the next sheet.

    A jovial warble came from the treetops.

    “What have you got to be so happy about?” she muttered to herself.

    Her fingers were sore and her wrists were tired of fighting against sheets that wanted to fly off in the wind.

    The birds kept on laughing.

    Finally all the laundry was pegged out and flapping freely on the line.
    She noticed a vein snaking its way down one sheet. Stepping closer, she spied a doughy mess at the top of one sheet and from it the vein bled down downwards.

    Stupid birds! No wonder they were laughing.

    She was tired. All her energy had been sapped in the fight against nature but now it looks as though nature had laughed the last laugh.
    Suddenly she stepped up to the line and ripped off the pegs.

    Tugging at the sheet she set it free and it flapped and turned like a whirlwind off into the grey void overhead.

    She knew it was a strange thing to do but she was conscious of a twinge of jealousy as she saw the sheet escaping on its adventure.

    Ah well, back to the laundry again.

  9. meek willed says:

    I snap to consciousness and shunned my stupid thoughts of a world of magic as a sheet flow pass me as a woman far behind me chased it in vein and without thougt I grabbed it before it flustered out of reach in this strong wind that must have recently pick up.
    I folded up the sheet so it didn’t fly away again as the woman jovially ran up to reclaim it and thanked me generously and i told her to “think noting of it” she  adjusted her specks then walk back up  the street she had ran down.
    When i got to the new sweet shop named the chocolate factory and noticed I was fell really beat my eye lids dull and doughy but i perks up as I bought so many high energy sweets that I knew would never fill this bottomless void I call a stomach.

  10. The typewritten sheet rapidly filled. Energy pulsed through my fingers as I beat this stupid story into a doughy mass. If I’d had a speck of respect for the craft, I would void this submission and continue in my usual vein – a conscious effort to achieve a jovial vignette.

    Jebubba contemplated the erstwhile speck as its present plasmatic state devolved into a doughy lump of super-charged particles. She swore by the First Mother that, as long as she was conscious, she would never again waste time with stupid pranks. The ten pillars of creation guided the sisterhood for a reason. Although Jebubba and the other creators were free to do whatever they wished, it seemed to her that the void was rapidly being populated with illogical universes.

    To reinforce her oath and bind it to her consciousness, Jebubba invoked the ten pillars and directed their energy to the amorphous lump:

    Bet, the rock. Eldest of the First Sisters, she embodied more wisdom than any creator. Even First Mother deferred to Bet. To the swarming particles, she imparted sentience.  Thus, was the spark of self-awareness ignited.

    Ber, the powerful. The willful First Sister was the master of the void, easily controlling the four elements: matter, energy, plasma and consciousness. Her gift to the nascent nebula was the sword of differentiation, the shield of disambiguation and the strength of determination. The particles began to swirl and coagulate into veins of distinct atoms of material.

    Bed, the just. The jovial First Sister was the mediator. Because of her, universes rarely collided in the void. Invoking her infused the atoms with a sense of boundaries, structure and purpose.

    Bef, the shadow. This dark First Sister personified the void and was a symbol of the unknown. She was the first of the clan to disappear into the void, though her energy permeated the elements. Jebubba’s nebula shivered and the atoms seemed to huddle a little closer together.

    Bej, the proto-berserker. Jebubba’s direct forebear had the most profound impact on the nebula. She was the pillar of instantaneous existence. This became evident as the nebula immediately morphed into a matrix of protoplanetary disks, each of which winked out of existence, replaced by systems of stars and planets. This transformation completed before Jebubba’s next thought.

    Bek, the altruist. Her contribution lay hidden as potential energy. Stored in the metronomic beat of pulsing waves, Bek’s essence amplified the signals Bed created in each of the four elements. To Jebubba, invoking Bek seemed to increase the randomness of her universe.

    Ben, the harmonious. The only one of the First Sisters whose energy was never discordant. Bet herself was in awe of her sister’s ability to attenuate and intensify almost at the speed of Bej. Jebubba didn’t notice any changes, but she knew that her universe was now singing to itself.

    Bel, the greedy. This voracious First Sister had sought to consume the void, in hopes of finding her sister, Bef. When she discovered the infinite boundary, she tumbled out of the realm of conscious thought, as lost as the sister she’d tried to find. Even without consciousness, her energy reached across the void to create the first conflict in Jebubba’s universe: a black hole appeared in the center.

    Bes, the destroyer. The First Sister of conservation, Bes was Ber’s annihilator. Her energy fused the elements into a singularity that was quite distinct from Bel’s creations. Whereas Bel’s black holes were massively dense packages of matter, Bes created sheets of conscious thought that absorbed nearby matter, energy and plasma. Jebubba’s universe suddenly speckled, as it became porous and more void-like.

    Bev, the fertile. Alone among the First Sisters, she contained all of the matter, energy and consciousness to cleave ten daughters. The youngest of the First Sisters imparted the cycle of rebirth to Jebubba’s creation. Like her sister, Bek, Bev’s energy lay dormant in the matrix of elements.

    Jebubba floated away, her task complete. Leaving the pillars to their business, Jebubba wondered about the meaning of it all.

  11. Cathy Miller says:

    A sheet of rain pounded the city with relentless energy. Lieutenant Michael Stapleton stood at his office window, wishing Mother Nature could beat the killer where the cops had failed. Michael took murder personally. It was a gauntlet slap across the face that could not be ignored.

    He hated how stupid he felt with this case. Although he may have figured out the killer’s theme (and why did they always have to have a theme), Michael didn’t feel any closer to putting an end to what the media called the Alphabet Assassin.

    The victims were all female and each with matching first letters for their first and last names – Amanda Andrews, Bethany Black, Carol Childers, Debra DeMarco.

    Michael absently lifted his coffee cup, gagging as the cold sludge hit his stomach. It didn’t help any that breakfast was a doughy lump, rumored to have been a Krispy Kreme doughnut in a past life. Michael debated about getting a fresh cup and decided it took too much effort.

    He sat down at his desk, glancing up at his murder board. Despite the arrogant clues left by the killer, Michael felt like they didn’t have a speck of evidence to nail the bastard. There was a giant void where they hoped forensics would deliver, leaving them with nothing but a list of alliterative names.

    The vein in Michael’s temple throbbed with the same intensity as the rain. Making a conscious effort to set his emotions aside, Michael narrowed his gaze on the faces of the victims – one by one by one by one. Emotions didn’t help. He needed the cool, laser focus to put the killer away – for good. Then he could think of more jovial times where murder did not consume his life.

  12. Kelly says:


    The beat: a swingy mix of tom-toms and hi-hat. Throw in a double bass and a trumpet, pleading in the distance, and you’ve got the feel for the sound I heard that night.

    The energy: smoky electricity. The kind that sets your guts on fire; the kind that rots your soul if you let it. You know what I’m talking about. The kind that makes you do stupid things.

    The night: late, late. September’s in the air and I’m conscious of having missed something. These last sweaty, starlit nights of August oppress me with their fleeting potential and permanent futility. I’m a miserable failure, a doughy speck in the eternal void, until She walks by, and from that moment on I’m simply an open vein, life’s hopes bleeding grotesquely into the gutter.

    I’m three sheets to the wind already. Maybe you think that has something to do with my agony. Maybe you think she’s not all that. Maybe. Maybe she’s not.

    But the story isn’t about her, you see, or the bowel-twisting pain of wanting her; it’s about the bowel-twisting pain of wanting. She was just the vehicle for that want, on that night. That night we’ve all had.

    Jovially, you say you haven’t had any such night.

    With a sigh that can be heard all the way back to Marc Antony as he begs for release at the feet of Cleopatra, I say, Then you haven’t had any nights at all.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kelly: You were meant to write stories! Nuff said.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kelly: Been to BOURBON STREET once. Loved it (the town and this piece).

    • Kelly, this is beyond awesome. In one scene, you’ve evoke the most animal base of human existence. To say I had a visceral reaction to your words is to say that hearing Mozart reminds me that played his scales well.
      My favorite line: “starlit nights of August oppress me with their fleeting potential and permanent futility.”


      • Kelly says:

        Aww, youze guyz….     😀
        (Shane, I may have to modify your contract, now that Mitch has obviously signed on as my agent… I’ll still make sure you get a pretty good cut as co-agent, though.)

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Kelly-you are my hero-I simply ♥ your style

  13. Tanja Cilia says:

    He was a jovial fellow, and full of energy – fond of practical jokes. So he made the stupid decision to wrap himself in the sheet and beat the professional at his own game… Lowering himself into the trunk labelled “cista phasmatis”, he was conscious of a doughy, caprylic smell. Was that a speck of blood on the handle?  How could he know that the man masquerading as a magician was really a cult leader who regularly communed with the dead? He felt himself falling into a void as his jugular vein exploded.

  14. Anne Wayman says:

    The energy poured entered in sheets. I turned stupid and my beat became doughy. I was a less than a speck in the void… and then! My consciousness opened like a vein and the whole Universe turned jovial.

  15. Rebecca says:

    Julian felt like he was a speck within the universe. What’s the point to life? It’s stupid. The vein in his forehead often pulsed when he thought like this. Julian wasn’t conscious of the fact how his negative thoughts were attracting unsavory and unwanted people and situations to him; he was like a magnet. It was if he was in a void. Being around jovial people was difficult for Julian because he didn’t know how to be happy. He beat the drum of unhappiness for so long and didn’t know any better; it was the sheet music to his life. If Julian didn’t shift his energy and mindset soon, he would become forever lost within the doughy abyss of his stinking thinking!

    • Tanja Cilia says:

      And we all know a Julian!  I loved this.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Rebecca: Wow! This is quite powerful for me today, especially considering I just got back from a buddy’s funeral. He ended his own life. I’m sure he felt like a speck within the universe too. If I could talk to him again, I would ask him if he felt like a speck in the universe. Then I’d ask him why blood clots when we get cut, and why our hands instinctively draw back when we touch something hot. I’d tell him that blood clots and we withdraw our hands because whatever created us humans—us mere specks inside one of trillions of galaxies—wanted us to live instead of bleed to death or burn to death. Think of that. We live on a speck, inside a universe, inside a galaxy, inside a trillion more, yet we’re designed to continue on. Something values us specks enough to protect us (and label us with unique fingerprints too. Why is that?).

    • Rebecca, you turned that phrase like it stole something!
      He beat the drum of unhappiness for so long and didn’t know any better; it was the sheet music to his life.

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Rebecca-wow- I am in awe how so much drama can be held in so few words-Loved it!

  16. Chris Fries says:

    Been busy, so just now getting this posted — sorry for the delay!
    The Look of Murder — Part 14

    I returned to my car and checked my watch; it was almost 4:00.  Warren Powell should be home before too long, so I decided to pay him a visit.  Albert Silari had been a real bundle of joy — Powell couldn’t be any worse. 

    According to the information Joan had given me, Powell lived not far off of Gratiot in East Detroit.  I headed towards his house, doing my best to make it through the early evening traffic, trying to beat the few traffic lights and narrowly avoiding getting flattened into a speck by the streetcars in the process.

    I didn’t understand Salari.  How did he get to be some big muckity-muck hotshot at Fulton Automotive?  He wasn’t much of a jovial Joe; he was a regular vinegar-in-the-vein sourpuss.  I guess he had to have brains, because he sure didn’t get to the seventh floor on stupid charm. 

    But was he right about Thurston?  Had Thurston Automotive really been lifting design secrets from Fulton?  Silari had sure blown a fuse over it, even if it wasn’t true, but would he actually go as far as to clobber Thurston with a camera because of it?

    Maybe.  Maybe not. 

    Or maybe it depended on whatever dirt Thurston claimed to have found on Silari.  If that wasn’t just so much bluster — Silari had given it the brush off.  Why would he even mention it if he thought there was any hint that Thurston’s threat might be legit?  It at least gave me a few new things to look into, and that was a lot better than staring at the walls of my office, brooding about Margaret. 

    In the meantime, I’d finish working on the first step — trying to get the scoop on the blonde from the film.  Posing for private girlie pics were one thing, but what evidence was there that she’d actually been romping in the sheets with Thurston?  I needed to find her, and preferably before the cops.  Powell might not know any more about the dame than Salari did, but it couldn’t hurt talking to him.  If nothing else, it might help fill in some of the void in my understanding of who Charles Thurston was, what really happened to him at that cabin, and if — if — Margaret knew about any of it or actually had anything to do with it.

    Warren Powell’s house was a clean and tidy bungalow, complete with a well-groomed front yard, flower boxes, and a white picket fence.  The mailbox had “Warren & Vivian Powell” painted on it in a friendly blue script.  The only thing missing was a couple of cute kids and a dog frolicking in the grass.

    I parked in front and went to the door, but there was no answer.  There was also no barking dog.  I went back to the car and cooled my heels for a bit; I assumed Powell would be home from work soon, and I didn’t have to wait long.  A man in a sedan arrived within a half-hour, and the car pulled through the gate and along the driveway to a garage behind the house.  I got out of the car and walked around to catch the driver as he came out of the garage.

    “Warren Powell?” I said as I came close. 

    The man’s head jerked up at the sound of my voice and he stopped in his tracks.  “Yes?” he said.  “What do you want?”   Powell was average height and appeared to be about forty years old.  He was a little pudgy, probably from too much desk-sitting.  His dark shirt was stretched tight over a doughy middle that overflowed his suit slacks.  He was also acting jittery.  Maybe I’d just spooked him, but I could tell something was bothering him.  His hands bobbed and fidgeted with his jacket and keys as we stood there; he seemed to have a lot of pent-up nervous energy

    “I’m Nick Sharpe,” I said. “A private investigator.  I’d like to ask you a few questions if you don’t mind, sir.”

    This made him even more skittish.  He looked rapidly around, his gaze flitting across the yards of his neighbors.  But he didn’t protest or question me as to what I wanted to know.  He just lowered his voice as if he were suddenly very self-conscious.  “Ok,” he said.  “Let’s go inside where we can talk.” 

    He led me in through the back door and up some steps into a neat and tidy kitchen.  He dropped his jacket and hat on the table, but we didn’t sit.

    “So what do you want to ask?” he said.

    “You work for Thurston Motors, correct?” I said.

    His hands couldn’t stay still.  They kept sliding in and out of his pockets, brushing off his sleeves, clasping together. “Yes. So?”

    “You’re aware of what happened to Charles Thurston, aren’t you?”

    He nodded. “I heard. How horrible.”  He walked to the window and looked out, then crossed the room to lean against the stove.  “Are you working with the police?”

    “No. Like I said — I’m a private investigator.  Did you work for him?”

    “Well, he was the head of the company, so, yes, in a way.  But I work in design.  I’m a mechanical engineer.”

    He crossed back to the table to lean against that, hands busy all the time.  The guy was definitely spooked about something.

    “I understand you met with him before he left to go to his cabin.  Is that correct?”

    “Yes.  There’s a supervision position open in the department, and I’d been interviewing for it all afternoon.  Mr. Thurston was the final person I met with.”

    “Did he mention anything about his plans for the trip? Anthing at all, even in passing?”

    Powell didn’t take any time to think about it.  “No, not at all,” he said, with a quick shake of his head.

    I wanted to ask about a girlfriend, but I decided to try a different direction, to maybe calm the guy down first.  “I heard something about a potential lawsuit from Fulton Automotive about design infringement.  You know anything about that?”

    He laughed.  “Everyone in the department knows about that.  Ablert Salari is certifiably nuts.  The guy probably thinks he invented the automobile.”

    “So there’s nothing to it?”

    “No, not at all. At least not that I know of.”

    His hands had stopped fluttering and he seemed a little more at ease.  “Well, thank you for your time, Mr. Powell.”  I took a few steps towards the front of the house and he moved as if to follow, but then I stopped.  “Oh — one more thing.  Was there any office scuttlebutt about Mr. and Mrs. Thurston?  You know, dirt shared at the water cooler about how their marriage was doing?”

    I noticed Powell take a deep swallow — his adam’s apple bobbed as he paused before answering.  “Um, no.  Nothing that I ever heard.”  His hands were fidgeting again.

    “No rumors about Thurston fooling around on his wife?”

    He shook his head.  “Oh, no.  None that I was ever told.”

    I wasn’t buying it.  This guy was acting squirrelly about something.  I thought about being the tough guy and leaning on him to get him to spill his guts.  But I could always do that later.  In fact, I planned on it, as soon as I’d dug a little deeper into his background first.  I decided a call to Johnny was in order.

    “Alright, Mr. Powell,” I said. “Thank you for your time.  I may want to speak with you again later, if possible.” 

    “Yeah, sure,” he said.  “That would be fine with me.” 

    Another lie.  I walked through the doorway into a small living room on my way to the front door.  Powell was right on my heels.  The living room was cozy and had a comfortable selection of homey furniture. I took stock as I walked through — lace doilies on the end tables; a crocheted rung in front of the davenport, a short bookcase with some books, knick-knacks, and pictures neatly displayed.  Several of the pictures were of Powell and a woman I took to be his wife.

    She was good looking, short, and blonde.

    I stopped and faced Powell.

    “Hey, bud, one last thing — You’re married right?”

    He looked as shocked as if I’d just up and slapped him.

    “Why do you say that?” he said.

    “Your mailbox says ‘Warren and Vivian’ and you’re wearing a wedding ring.”  

    “Well, of course I’m married,” he smiled, a thin smile.  “You just surprised me with asking something like that right out of the blue.”

    “Well, would you mind if I briefly spoke with your wife?”

    His head jerked back and forth.  “I’m sorry, but no.  She’s not here right now.  She’s visiting her parents.”

    Maybe it was time for the tough-guy routine after all.

    * * *

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Chris: Man, you know how to write scenes. The ending was exactly what makes people like me scream, “Dammit! He ended it there. Shit, I wanted to find out more NOW.” Haha. I love the CCC.

      • Chris Fries says:

        Was samped at work and then gone most of the weekend, so didn’t get a chance to make many comments here.  I’ll try and catch up after I do the new episode for today.
        but first, I just wanted to say “Thanks” for the kind words, Shane!  They are appreceiated!

    • Rock on, Chris. You got us right where you want us: eagerly waiting for the next instalment. I got a kick out of the ol’ “Oh one more thing” schtick that detectives always pull.
      Echoing Shane, CCC is pure fun!

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Chris-Wow-speechless here-trust me-that doesn’t happen often. 🙂

  17. Rebecca says:

    @ Tanja … I hear ya … thanks!

  18. Rebecca says:

    @ Mitch … Thanks!

  19. Rebecca says:

    @ Cathy … Thanks! Julian represents millions of people who go through ‘the motions’ of life. He’s totally asleep at the wheel 🙂

  20. Shane Hudson says:

    In a doughy attempt to include these words into my coursework, here is an extract of my Hitman 4 Game Review!

    You have guns, but get penalised for using them. You can fight in close combat, but you get penalised for it. Hitman is a game in which there are multiple routes to complete each level, there is not even a “right” way to complete them. At the end of each level, the game calculates the player’s score (which, as with to most other games of similar genre, is shown on a FBI style sheet at the end of each mission) using multiple systems such noise and violence. The result of this is notoriety, a system new to the Hitman series, which effects the difficulty in the next levels as high notoriety causes NPCs to recognise the player (or more specifically, Agent 47) easier. This is a notable improvement to the gameplay from the prequel (Hitman: Contracts) as it gives the player a reason to get a high score and to use the stealth which is prime to gameplay rather than relies on guns and close combat that is seen far too often as the main principle of gameplay in many other games (such as Call of Duty and Street Fighter).

    The stealth gameplay of Hitman gives the player abilities such as swapping clothes with NPCs that have been immobilised and climb up trellises or drain pipes. It also prevents the player from abilities often found in other games, notably the ability to jump as well as systems such as energy. This enforces the principles of “Less is more” as although it means that common features may be limited, the affect on how the player thinks and uses the game improves the gameplay and the enjoyability factors.

    One aspect of the gameplay in Hitman is that is is fairly (and perhaps even educational) emotive due to the cut-scenes which depict the ethical and political impact of cloning (especially cloning of deadly assasins). Another way in which Hitman can seem intertwined with decisions of ethics is, particularly with the notoriety system, the choices the player has between killing NPCs (which would be the easy route, though would decrease the score) and using the stealth systems; this is an important gameplay concept and (as previously mentioned) is yet another way in which the game designers specifically made sure Hitman was completely separate to “Beat-Them-Ups” and similar genres.

    Another aspect of gameplay in Hitman is Cash Economy which is another system that ties in with the rating system and notoriety; the concept is that by allowing players to upgrade their weapons (as well as buy health bonuses and similar items) by spending cash which is obtained by completing missions. The player obtains more money the higher the score (and lower the notoriety). There is a psychological impact of the Cash Economy system as it gives the player more upgrades and therefore many players would play longer and try to achieve as much money and highest score as possibly throughout the game. This (along with notoriety) is a feature which fills the void found in previous games in the series in which there was not any real reason to achieve a high score and play the game as designed. One interesting way to get a slightly higher score (and hence more money) is by collecting Agent 47’s suit (which is almost always swapped with another character’s clothes early in the game) before completing the level; this is interesting because it is a very small gameplay addition but is completely unique and simple compared to other games that it shows just how particular the game designs were about creating a great game.

    The artificial intelligence in the game is fairly advanced, especially compared to its sequels, as multiple systems (including notoriety) work together to make a realistic world in which all entities have their own traits (some even seem to have a personality and conscious, although this of course is not the case); this is another direct comparison to many of the popular gaming genres in which the characters may have good AI in that they can find and shoot the player, but other than that they are just stupid and obviously computer controlled. In one level, the objective is to kill 3 other assassins/snipers during a procession and there is a clear difference from an AI point of view between the focused assassins (and those also involved in the act which the player tries to prevent) and the jovial crowds (although unlike the assassins, the crowds followed obvious path through the city like blood through veins in a body) surrounded by millions of specks of confetti.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Shane H: That’s so awesome that you were able to work these words into a game review. A game review! I never would have guessed that the CCC would lead to something like this. Just another reason I love this place.

  21. One of the next words should be procrastination!  I have had 3/4 of this done all weekend and finally finished the last.  anyway, here is Detective Reynolds part 3
     The crime scene tech walked Mal over to the corner where the body lay covered in a now bloody white sheet. A vein began to pulse in the detectives forehead as he thought about the beating the dead man had taken and the stupid waste of a life.
    He secretly hoped that the man was a horrible person, void of all redeeming qualities that deserved death. Although he still was someone’s son, and no one deserved a death like that. He snapped back to reality as the tech began to speak. “We found this over here detective.”
    Mal looked where the tech pointed. There was a symbol of some kind drawn in what appeared to be blood on the wall. Mal had noticed it before of course, that was why he had called for a Hoodoo expert. “OK Steve, I’ll bite. I am not old enough to have missed that symbol. C’mon…” Steve the tech interrupted, “no, look closer at the symbol.” He handed the detective a small but powerful flashlight.
    Mal looked skeptical as he took the light and stepped closer to the wall, being careful not to disturb the body. His eyes widened as he saw the hole crudely bored through the concrete wall. “What is on the other side of this wall?” He asked. “Dunno.” Steve replied. “We haven’t been able to get over there. Security guard is on his way, you can ask him.” Mal nodded and handed the flashlight back as he headed to the door. He needed a cigarette.
    He was outside smoking his second cigarette when a compact silver car pulled up near his city issued one. Door hinges creaked rust showered down as the door opened. A short, fat man got out, trying to stretch an ill fitting security guards uniform over his bulk. He smiled jovially and waved at Mal as he shut his car door and started crunching his way across the gravel parking lot.
    Mal stared in disgust at the man, keeping the emotion off of his face as he had trained himself to do years ago. A wanna-be cop who couldn’t or wouldn’t expend the energy to become the real thing. Mal had seen so many just like him. The man approached and offered a soft and sweaty hand which Mal engulfed in his hard, calloused one.
    “The name’s Brubaker.” The security guard said. “Simon Brubaker. They said you need access to some other parts of the building?” Mal nodded and, without saying a word, turned and led Simon Brubaker towards the warehouse.
    The doughy security guard was breathing hard trying to keep up with the detective, apparently unconscious of his wheezing and the disgusted head shake of Mal Reynolds. “A speck on the insignificant.” He thought as they reached the door.

  22. Troy Worman says:

    140 ::

    I don’t know how long I was out, but when I came to, Song clued me in.  “The revolution we launch today will end Shane Arthur’s misuse and abuse of character once and for all!”  She smiled a wry smile and leaned in near.  There was a far away look in her eyes.  She thrust a brass quill into my hand.  “The tyrant must die,” she hissed.

    141 ::

    The energy from the quill coursed through my fingertips and into my veins.  I turned on Song.  “How stupid do you think I am?” Her voice turned doughy.  “Johnny…” But it was too late. I wrote her into the void.

    Translucent violet beads rained down on Shan Earth Ur in sheets, beating down on the speckled jollies that hopped in and out of my conscious.  They were jovial little creatures, a welcome distraction.

    :: Find the complete rough cut version of the Songs of Shan Earth Ur

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