In response to Later Levels’ Question of the month, I thought I’d take a stab at this!
The question is part of The Ultimate Video Game, a collaborative 12-month project to come up with the best virtual video game based on the input of contributors from the community.
This month it’s about setting and themes, so without further ado…
What would be your ideal setting and themes for the ultimate video game?
I’m not a fan of wandering far and wide in search of some ancient scroll or elusive relative. I like everything to be contained, so all the action can take place in a microcosm flourishing with detail and full of interesting objects and things to engage with.
So naturally I’ve gone for… drum roll… an abandoned IT room.
Wait! Come back! Not just any abandoned IT room – An abandoned IT room from 1989.
Stay with me.
During an excavation in modern-day London, archaeologists unearth the basement of an old office building. Despite the rest of the tower block being torn down decades ago, this floor is preserved in all its glory thanks to some sturdy masonry and a general ignorance about IT departments.
The room is a glorious mix of old tech and 80s paraphernalia. There are boxes of early mice and keyboards, floppy disks, software packages, manuals and a half-stocked vending machine. Posters of Depeche Mode and The Cure line the walls. The desks are strewn with empty tobacco packets and stress balls. There are cupboards and drawers, some still locked.
The techs had their entertainment figured out, too. There’s a Commodore 64 rigged up in the corner in front of some beanbags and next to it is a chart scrawled with top scores. On top of one of the filing cabinets a battered walkman is popped open, revealing a mix tape (SPOILER!)
Needless to say, the setting provides plenty of scope for foraging – particularly if this ends up being an adventure game (COUGH). Just imagine the range of inventory items and puzzle chains.
Everything in the room has laid dormant for 30 years, now awoken for the first time. Among the burgeoning technology and flecks of neon, a steely dampness hangs in the air. What were they really doing down here?