Tuesday, 8 December 2009

I'm The (Stephen) King of the Castle! - Discordia

To my great shame and regret I have never read Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. There they sat on the rotating display of short horror and sci-fi books in my secondary school's library and for all those years I never once picked them up. (The same thing happened with Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and other staples of modern graphic novel culture).

Now the good people of Stephen King's official fansite have released the first chapter of Discordia, a flash-based adventure involving the exploration of a grizzly, blood-soaked restaurant and its kitchens. The player is a member of  the monster-fighting, world-protecting Tet Corporation. Frankly I don't understand much more than that as Discordia expects a great deal of knowledge of the setting on the player's part. As such the whole thing should be considered spoiler territory.

What gameplay there is consists of exploring beautifully realised 3D environments and clicking anything that flashes when you mouse over it. Yes, it's a hunt-the-pixel game, yippee. I do not know what happens if you get further into the game because all I could find was one magic item and a couple of character biographies. Presumably fans of the books will know where to look, but doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose of an investigation?

In order to move to different rooms you must look in the Options screen, which is a very strange design choice. Numbers across the bottom of the screen allow you to select different angles from which to view the given scene, and it took me quite a while to realise that as no hint or explanation was given.

So a very confusing little piece and clearly one for the fans. A look at the website forums shows several of them are confused also, but others are lapping it up. Oh, and you if you want to play you will need to register first within the game itself. It presumes a US keyboard configuration so if you have trouble entering '@' for your email, try SHIFT+2 (") instead.

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