I don’t have a lot of teenage memories. In fact, as I’ve surely remarked/lamented before, I don’t have a lot of memories from any stage in my life. But of the few I do have, some of the fondest are the laughter-filled hours my siblings and I spent gathered around the computer playing adventure games.
I’m not quite sure how we managed to transform single-player games into such a group activity, but we did. “The Gaming Hour” became a bit of a pre-dinner ritual, actually — a wild and wonderful domestic touchstone, where we all milled about in an overstuffed corner of the family room, enthusiastically lobbing suggestions, encouragement, and exasperation towards the designated driver who was desperately trying to simultaneously navigate the game’s pitfalls and keep up with the endless, crescendo-ing advice at his back. The driver was usually me, as the family’s tech guru (and as the guy most willing to suffer the slings and arrows of outraged puzzle solvers ignored).
Fun, fun times.
The Sierra and LucasArts games were family favorites, particularly the “King’s Quest” and “Monkey Island” series. But the unequivocally crown jewels of the Susanka Gaming Experience were most emphatically the pair of Cyan puzzlers: Myst and Riven. (My wife even played them with us. Before she was my wife. So there’s a whole lot of family history wandering through their digital halls.)
It’s easy to see why the games lent themselves to the group-solve format: they were hard. Really hard. And they rewarded patience, perseverance, perspicacity, and (I’ll admit it) a whiff of obsession. All traits that are occasionally found in a single individual — especially that last one — but which are far more commonly found in a group with a common goal. Many hands are better than one, as they say. And many heads make light work. And also light
As you can see, Cyan was a beloved company in my childhood home, and Robyn and Rand Miller and their WA-cohorts fueled many hours of family fun. And while they fell upon leaner times in the intervening years, they always held a place of especial prominence in my gaming heart. (Why, yes. I did write a lengthy letter to the Miller Brothers in which I detailed why exactly they would want to hire a teenager without a lick of programming or game-building experience. And no, I did not send it.)
Ob`duc´tion, n.1. The act of drawing or laying over, as a covering.
I had no idea this was even being discussed, and the rush of triggered memories almost bowled me over. That spinning logo was enough to snap me back to those fun-filled days with a speed and a violence that still surprises me, and I spent most of last night (and early this morning) feeling like a kid again. A kid at Christmas.
Obduction’s experience supplies what every good storyteller does: a very personal window into a much larger world. Obduction begins with… well… an abduction – your abduction. On a crystal clear, moon-lit night, a curious, organic artifact drops from the sky and inexplicably whisks you away across the universes to who-knows-where (or when, or why).
Simply put, Kickstarter is a way for us to deliver a stunning experience that doesn’t empty your pocketbook, while keeping us independent enough to make choices that a publisher might not understand. (Like we did with Myst 20 years ago.)
Now, I don’t really understand Kickstart. But the project’s kicked up about $50,000 in backing since I opened that link this morning, and it’s sitting somewhere in the mid-$300,000 right now. So I’m guessing things are going well. Yes, I realize that “mid-to-late 2015” is nowhere close to “now,” but I can’t focus on that at the moment. I’m too busy rounding up chairs for my living room.
The boys won’t even know what hit ’em.