Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Mythos Madness

Jeff made a great post over at Grubb Street regarding what he sees as six stages (or categories) of development of the Cthulhu mythos. His first five seem pretty spot-on based on my understand of the mythos' history. The sixth (Generation 5: The Gamers II?) - the one I would be a member of (or, the one preceding me) - is everything Jeff describes, but with an interesting added bonus: there have been a variety of mythos-inspired video games and interactive fictions that have taken story development into new places.

I don't want to get into a video games vs. pencil & paper games debate, but I can say that video games have had an influence on the mythos in my mind. True, I read every Lovecraft story I could find in the Granville Middle School library in the sixth grade, but the narrative graphic adventure games I played in my younger days had as much of an impact on my developing creativity than the books I read and the movies I watched.

Rather than write an essay, here are some mythos-inspired games that jump out in my mind:

  • Alone in the Dark - Started the survival horror genre. Investigators enter an old house, discover secrets, end up dealing with a pissed off demon.
  • Phantasmagoria - Created by Roberta Williams (of King's Quest fame), a full motion video graphic adventure spanning seven CDs (!) about a demonic presence let loose in a New England house. Fun fact: fellow Allit Lorelei Shannon wrote the sequel.
  • Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem - One of the five or so decent Gamecube games, Eternal Darkness was a hell of a trip and featured an insanity system I haven't seen duplicated anywhere else. It would often break down the fourth wall, telling you your controller was unplugged, pretending to delete your save file, and screwing around with your sound settings.
  • Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth - And here we have the only 'real' Cthulhu game (by name anyway) on the list. Dark Corners of the Earth was "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" in interactive form, and if it weren't for an absolutely impossible 20-minute stretch where you're being hunted and cannot save your game and die if you so much as screw up once, it would probably be one of the best 1st-person games ever made.

Those are the four that leap to mind. Silent Hill should probably be on the list too - does anyone have any others?

1 comment:

Jeff_Grubb said...

Thanks for the note. Alone in the Dark is definitely Generation 4. And CoC and Eternal Darkness use a SAN mechanic so they could be Gen 4 (though does Eternal have enough mythos ties?). How does Phantasmagoria fit into the mythos?