Video Memories is the first game made under our Crab Attack title. Not really sure if that means anything, but it’s like, trivia, or something. It was made for the maiden Asylum Jam in 2013, a contest with only one rule:
“You should not use asylums, psychiatric institutes, medical professionals or violent/antipathic/’insane’ patients as settings or triggers.”
VM was made in 48 hours, because we either really hate ourselves or can only manage to finish things under pressure. I wrote the script, built the house, did the art, decided the dialogue triggers, made a font.. the game really reeks of me. I had fallen in love with this sort of ray-casted visual effect that they used in Wolfenstein3D. It hadn’t dawned on me that it could be used for spooks until I played Judith around 3 years earlier, and told myself if I could ever convince Hawk to do a silly horror game for a ‘jam’ that was the direction I wanted to take it visually. Looking back on the style now, it’s a fucking anti-aliased nightmare that shows I was really more focused on my narrative than I was the visuals.
The game is made of 8 scenes. All the player
gets has to do is talk to the people in each scene to trigger the progression to the next scene. The story centers around a father who’s been given a video camera for his birthday from his wife and young son. He gradually becomes obsessed with filming every aspect of his life, even when it starts having a strain on the relationships around him. The story is a look into a man’s misguided attempts to use technology to feel closer to his family, and how living vicariously through a screen keeps you from noticing the important things around you. The game ends with the discovery that this notion isn’t isolated, and that this voyeuristic tendency may be inherent to the technology itself, and catching.
Although this isn’t “real 3d”, this game is technically our first “3d” game. A lot of growing pains involved in this, the biggset and worst one being that I made all the maps way too big. The house feels like a giant empty maze, and the draw distance doesn’t do it a lot of favors. The blurry-grain effect over all the tiles really starts to be a bother when you’re fumbling around in the dark looking for the door outside. Looking back, I feel like a much smaller, more cramped area with more odd stuff in it would have been a more effective use of this style, especially if I had taken advantage of seeing through windows. I have a feeling our next 3d game will have to be actual 3d.
This game is by far our most “Let’s Play”d game, which is a lot of fun. Accessible flash-horror definitely has some sort of.. built-in streamer base, it seems. I’d never had the joy of watching someone be amused, terrified, and ultimately disappointed by something I’d made in almost-real-time before. I highly recommend it.
I’ve compiled these LPs into a living youtube playlist. I’m lazy I’ll do this later; Most of them read all of the dialogue out-loud, some better than others. Opossum is one to watch out for.
Like a disappointed father, I get a little sad at the things that seemed to get overlooked consistently by streamers and friends who’d play the game. Things like this cameraman appearing all over the place, not just in the birthday scene. It’s a good experience though, because I can use that to make something a little better next time. Maybe some things were too obscure to notice because my narrative wasn’t strong or driven enough to make you care about. It’s definitely something I’ll take more consideration into next time, a way to more organically guide the player into these oddities, rather than them being forced to be discovered through total luck.
The game’s current official resting place is here, on newgrounds, but I’m thinking eventually I’ll mirror it here or.. something.