Prism Circus — So Grand… Yet, Unrealistic

Jeffrey McGee
4 min readFeb 17, 2023

A man can dream…

The video game industry is tough. It’s mostly people working around the clock to figure out computer codes and then organize them into a video game, and it’s not as awesome as most people initially assume when they babble about how their creative ideas will take over the industry. Because beyond the façade of digital greatness, there’s an industry that considers practicality everything else. I was once one of those halfwits, and I, too, once thought that developing video games could be a creative outlet for my talents (or lack thereof). I was wrong, since most contemporary games rely on the same tropes that people have been using since forever. But while I was young, I was under the impression that the world is in my grasp and had been brainstorming endlessly about the best video game that I can offer. Among all these ideas, most of which are now forgotten, my favorite is the idea I dub Prism Circus.

When the first sparks of imagination about Prism Circus came to me, I was probably around 15 years of age. At that point, I’d already played several video games and an idealized image of what a video game should look like slowly crafted itself inside my head. The kind of video game I wanted to see most, although I didn’t realize it at the time, was a game that had flashy visuals and animations, and that’s already something that I’ve talked about. Initial names for the imaginary project were Circus Legion and Rainbow Legion, among other similar suggestions — but I eventually decided that Prism Circus sounds the best.

In addition to capitalizing on the whole flashy animations shtick, Prism Circus, as an idea, is homage to Final Fantasy, a franchise that I was once infatuated with. Though I don’t like it as much as I used to, Final Fantasy still influences the design of Prism Circus. I think I should be more specific about what this Prism Circus is. Well… here’s my attempt at describing Prism Circus as precisely as possible.

There are a ton of characters to discover

Prism Circus was meant to encompass several different aspects that continue to fascinate me to this day, although I probably didn’t realize it at the time, as I said earlier. Prism Circus puts emphasis in its gameplay on both discovery and curiosity, in addition to flashiness and intricate visuals, which are the things that I always talk about. Let me try and be more specific…

As a start, Prism Circus has 200 playable characters to discover, collect and play as. More so, each character has a unique prologue to them, and each character has an equal chance for the player to start as (meaning that there is a 0.5% chance to start as any character). Each character has its own stats and facets that are unique to them.

In the gameplay aspect, Prism Circus is very similar to Final Fantasy, namely Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XII, in that gameplay is separated into the adventure aspect and the combat aspect. The adventure aspect pertains to all the activities that the player takes while exploring the world of the game. In Prism Circus, however, the player collects clues, hints and riddles about the whereabouts and specifics of the many playable characters that await the player to discover, and there are a whole bunch of characters to find (200, to be precise). The combat aspect incorporates probability and clever use of abilities to overcome the opposition. There would be the familiar random encounters that the player will use to level up as they defeat more foes, as well as other in-game systems that help the player get stronger whilst avoiding grinding too much. For example, a system that increases the player’s potential by discovering more characters.

Basically, there’s a lot to describe about Prism Circus, but you can already tell that it’s quite ambitious by design, so much that it begs the question: can something like this even happen in real life? And the answer is almost certainly “no, it can’t”. As if it wasn’t evident already by the massive number of playable characters, where each has their own unique animations and visual effects. But a project of this caliber would require an inhuman budget to recruit as many animators as possible, and regardless of how many animators were recruited, it would still take several years to make. More so, there would probably also be a bunch of creative differences between the designers and the producers and whoever else had a say in the game’s design. But it’s ok that it’s just an idea, because it was never meant to be real in the first place. It would’ve been real if anyone could afford something this astronomical, but it’s too unrealistic given the scope. But hey, it was always meant to be nothing but a theory… a theory of what the best possible game from a single person could have been, were it not for the restrictions of time and money. And Prism Circus… is just one of the many grandiose ideas I’ve had, and although I really wish I could describe more of it, I’m not even sure if anyone’s that interested. Then again, if somebody were to tell me that I’m wrong and that people do want to hear the remainder of the story, then I’d be happy to drop more information on this dream. There’s a lot more to say on it, but not enough space.

So, who knows, maybe I’ll continue talking about what Prism Circus is, because there’s so much to say about it, and I don’t even know where to start. Maybe this could be the beginning of another series by yours truly about random ideas I may or may not have had throughout my life.

So, uh… stay tuned… I guess. You’ll stay tuned… right?