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Frank Lantz – area/code – Room 14 Cúchulainn 10 Minute Pitch

March 20, 2009

Frank is one of the founders of  area/code. I know Frank from a very awkward moment. Seconds after the 2008 Game Design Challenge ended, Frank came up to introduce himself to me and to congratulate me on my presentation. When I realized he was one of the people behind Parking Wars, I had such an inspired moment of “fanboyism” from the stage that it still makes me laugh. I actually yelled to some friends, “Hey! These are the guys who made Parking Wars!”

My research:

According to wikipedia, Cuchulainn has appeared as a character in numerous videogames. Some googling turned up these:

  • Cuchulainn as platform: NanoSensors, Inc. Closes Acquisition of Cuchulainn Holdings in Connection With Redirection of Operations. [PR Newswire] Cuchulainn has been licensed technology and other intellectual property in order for it to operate an online-based video console game wagering service (the “Service”). The Service enables gamers to compete against other gamers and place wagers on the outcomes of their games. The outcome of the game play will be determined entirely upon the skill of the individual participant. The Service will cater to an international community of gamers that play video games and place wagers online.

Here’s my pitch:

Cúchulainn: Room 14

This game is a room escape game executed in real-time, first-person 3D. The player is trapped in an anonymous, modern-day hotel room. Looking around reveals all of the standard features, a small, brightly lit bathroom, a disheveled single bed, an empty chest of drawers above which a mirror reveals a tired-looking, middle-aged man with thinning hair and a bewildered expression. The TV is on, broadcasting a dog show, owners prance their beasts around in circles while judges hold up numbers. But the sound is wrong, it sounds like shouting, clanging, slightly muffled but definitely the sounds of battle. The remote is lost, but you can turn the TV off. The sounds remain. You go to the curtains and draw them apart. Noise and light flood the room. Just outside the window is an ocean of humans consumed by a horrifying battle frenzy. Figures swarm the hotel parking lot, rushing in all directions, climbing over cars, everywhere shrieking with rage, tearing each other with clawed hands, breaking bones, smashing and twisting bodies, gouging eyes, biting, snapping limbs, blood gushing, the vanquished begging hopelessly for their lives, the victors turning to look hungrily for their next opponent, a helicopter crashes into a pack of horses, brought down a dozen combatants clinging to its skids. Between the gruesome violence you sometimes catch glimpses of naked bodies clinging to each other, penetrating each other in violent spasms that could be hatred, lust, or ecstatic passion.

The window is spattered with blood. It does not open. The door does not open. The battle goes on and on. It never ends. There are no puzzles. The door does not open. There’s a gun in the bathroom.


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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2009 5:47 pm

    Ahoy there. 🙂

    Initial thought was Silent Hill 4: The Room mixed with the hell featured in the movie Constantine and seasoned with some gameplay alá Left 4 Dead.

    Does the player have any hope of surviving this? Legends will be sung of the players who bested this game.

    “Cúchulainn achievement: 1000 gamer points” 🙂

  2. March 25, 2009 5:44 pm

    *Kicking open the window, gun in hand* “Listen up, you primitive screw heads! THIS is my BOOM STICK!”

    But really, isn’t this rather telegraphed? I pretty much rile at the use of an interactive medium where the end message is not affected by the interaction AT ALL. I think it’s actually rather deceitful to use an interactive medium to essentially make a static movie with a static message. Just make a movie, in that case.

    I think theres this leap in design that needs to be made, where the player can actually influence and change the end message. And not just choosing from a few pre set messages the designer put in. Actually making up a message the designer might never have thought of themselves, even.

    How to do it? At this stage that just has to be worked on and actively developed, rather than there being many established ways of talking about it.

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