This week I will be discussing the sort of adventure game that is not relegated to simple English text; a classic genre that we explored in my last editorial. More specifically, I will be describing the particulars that make such a game immersive, and fun. Real life is not always fun, it turns out; a point which was made abundantly clear within hours of my employment at this site. Interestingly, however, it was something of a surreal adventure that began my journey into Lusipurr.com servitude, and while this may have just been another of my lucid dreams, I choose to believe otherwise. This story, real or imagined, ideally illustrates my concept of an immersive adventure game:
Four years after his disappearance from public life, rumors about Lusipurr’s latest project have made their way to London from his family’s castle in Yorkshire. As one of his former schoolmates attempts to unravel the secrets of these mysterious happenings, he finds himself face to face with his destiny, and into the one place he swore he would never return.
Riveting, no? Thankfully, my dream notebooks are crammed with the sort of exposition that allows a shallow pretext for an editorial to meet the minimum word-count, and then some. Pour yourself a glass of eggnog and stoke the fire, for you, dear reader, are about to experience my real (or perhaps imagined) concept for the ultimate adventure: Escape from Castle Lusipurr. Here is what I pieced together from my dream notebooks:
The dark figure made no sound as it gestured for me to follow, directing me along the path that wound its way up the hill to Lusipurr’s castle. This robed stranger had met me at the gate; an eerie figure that immediately conjured up images of forgotten childhood horrors in my unfocused mind. Though I had been here before, the crushing darkness of the cloudy night had made the path indiscernible without the help of the small oil lamp swinging at the side of my silent companion. My mind raced as we walked, alone with my thoughts as we made our way up the stone path, straining my eyes as I tried make out any detail of the terrain before me. The climb was steep, with the eerie visage of the castle only visible when we were almost upon it; the clouds above parting just long enough to reveal the outline of the stone structure before me. The cold air of a Yorkshire winter was swirling through the trees, chilling me to the depths of my soul, and the warm light of the lamps burning at the front door looked almost inviting as we neared. To my surprise, however, the figure directed me past this; leading me further on into the darkness beyond. I was eventually able to discern a low, freestanding building, and it was into this foreboding structure that my silent guide directed me.
I had heard only cryptic rumors regarding the research that had consumed Lusipurr since his so-called disappearance some five years past. His former classmates all knew where he was, having ensconced himself within the ancient stone walls of his family’s castle; re-christened “Castle Lusipurr” upon his installation. Once among the closest of companions, Lusipurr had grown distant from his boyhood friends upon acceptance to Oxford, and by the time of his graduation none of us had heard from him in years; our letters unanswered until we gave up writing, convinced academic vigor – and not a change of heart – had consumed him. But in the past few months the rumors about Lusipurr’s latest project had made their way to London, and these had finally grown to be too much for me. What I heard made no sense, and at first I had dismissed the rumors entirely. But they persisted, and over time more details began to emerge. I began writing him at the castle in earnest, and a few weeks later one of my letters finally provoked an answer. The reply had been short, and rather incomprehensible for the most part; though his invitation to visit the castle and discuss the results of his latest experiment had been clearly conveyed. I could barely sleep that night, taking an afternoon train to Yorkshire the following afternoon.
Save myself, no one in our group of friends had ever visited Lusipurr’s bizarre residence; the former Portchester Castle, estate of Lusipurr’s late uncle Alistair. Lusipurr was only 12 when his uncle met his end; a gruesome death by bludgeoning that had become the talk of the small town, though it remains unsolved to this day. Lusipurr’s inheritance of the estate was unexpected, as was the fortune that funded his strange post-graduate “research”. I admit that I found it curious that his uncle’s death seemed to have no effect on young Lusipurr at the time, and though he rarely spoke of his uncle’s demise there was never a question as to Lusipurr’s plans for the estate.
As I walked through the dark doorway towards a dim, flickering light ahead, I felt a wash of uneasiness come over me. My companion was no longer behind me, I realized, and neither was the light he carried. I reached out and felt my way along the stone passage toward the faint light, and the passage opened into a small, round chamber. The source of the light was an inviting fire on one side of the chamber, and this provided just enough light to illuminate the drab surroundings; though I was only vaguely aware of them as I hastened to the hearth to warm myself. The walk up to the castle had been a long one, and the wind had made its impression on my frozen face and hands. As I stared into the flames I realized I had no idea where to even begin with Lusipurr. I had so much to ask, but my mind was racing. The room felt very close; the fire very warm. I was unaware of any other presence in the room until I heard a voice behind me. His voice.
“Idiot,” said Lusipurr.
The next moment something struck me on the back of the head, and the room went dark.
I awoke with a splitting headache, my vision blurred as I attempted to make out my surroundings. This was the same small chamber, it seemed. As my vision returned I saw that I was lying on the floor mere inches from the lone chair in the room. As I looked up I saw Lusipurr, seated comfortably, and with a satisfied look on his face.
“I trust you find your lodgings acceptable?” He beamed.
I was still quite dizzy, and confused by his flippant attitude. “Lusipurr,” I began, but a sudden kick to my face sent me reeling.
“You will speak at my command only,” Lusipurr roared, rising to his feet.
As I stared up at him, a curiously regal figure in a elegant robe, the room began to spin, and I was again taken by the darkness.
I had lost track of days. The small room I now occupied was completely devoid of light, and the lone exit had been barred from the outside. Alone in the dark chamber the feeling of despair had never been more urgent; as if another night within the grounds of the castle would forever destroy what remained of my mortal soul. The blows to my head and face seemed to have stopped bleeding, though the minimal water and crusts of stale bread that mysteriously appeared next to me at random had left me very weak after losing so much blood. Why on earth would my old friend do this to me? Where had Lusipurr taken me? My questions would not remain unanswered for long, but the truth was far more disturbing than anything I could have imagined.
To be continued…
There you have it. A good adventure game suspends the player’s disbelief, drawing them into a world of intrigue and excitement. It provides escape from the tedium of everyday life, though sometimes truth can be, as they say, stranger than fiction.