While industry analysts such as myself, and others like legendary developers Chris Crawford and Richard Garriott (AKA "Lord British") have been proponents of exploring sophisticated themes in gaming, be they mature, emotional or something else entirely, few games have actually bothered to make a legitimate attempt. Those that have, such as "Facade" have been more miss than hit in execution. A company called Cecropia has finally come out of stealth/start-up mode and been getting a lot of press lately about their first "experimental" game, "The Act", identified as an interactive comedic film experience. What seems to make this a bit different from the usual indie developer spin on things is that the company was started in conjunction with a bunch of former Disney animators, giving the experience legitimate visual impact, while the gameplay is designed around a simple knob to manipulate the emotions, personality and actions of the player's avatar.
While I have been unable to get the trailer working for some reason, I'm anxious to see if Cecropia actually followed through on this promise of taking a "Dragon's Lair" type of game and providing a less restrictive form of control over the action. Of course they also claim this is being enjoyed by both hardcore gamers and traditionally non-gamers alike, which may be possible with the sharp visuals and approachable concepts. Right now, as the following press release from yesterday indicates, it's only being test marketed in the Boston area, which is a bit out of my reach:
October 05, 2006 09:56 AM Eastern Time
Revolutionary Video Game from Cecropia in Boston Area Sneak Preview
LEXINGTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Entertainment production company Cecropia (www.cecropia.com) is previewing its innovative video game, The Act, at locations in Boston and Cambridge.
The Act is an interactive comedy that was created by an all-star team of former Disney animators. It gives players the unique experience of playing a video game thatâ€™s also a high quality, hand drawn, animated feature film.
With The Act, Cecropia is breaking new ground with content-rich video games that appeal to â€œthe rest of us.â€
Players take the role of Edgar, a shy window washer who is tossed into a strange role and must maintain the deception â€“ The Act â€“ through a series of increasingly challenging scenes. Players use a simple knob to control Edgar's reactions and interactions with a comic supporting cast.
More than 1,200 people have played The Act since the field test began. The reaction, from hard-core gamers to people who donâ€™t usually play video games, is outstanding.
What Players are Saying about The Act
â€œI hope to see more of your style game in the near future. It is much more appealing than the standard â€˜button masherâ€™ style games.â€
"Itâ€™s a cinematic experience you don't get in any other video game. I enjoyed watching the emotions of the characters and I wanted to know how the story ended because I really cared what happened to them."
â€œIt is the most original game I've seen in a long time. It has the eye candy factor of past games like Dragon's Lair but you've eliminated the tedious and repetitive move-memorization game play.â€
"The slapstick comedy in The Act is tremendous and made us want to play over and over."
â€œThis is truly the first animated game people will want to play because it's fun rather than simply because it looks neat. Itâ€™s a video game that I can actually play with my girlfriend!"
"I can't wait for the sequel!"
Cecropia Founder Omar Khudari said, â€œWeâ€™re gratified at the response to The Act. People are lining up to play â€“ even groups of strangers enjoy playing the game together.â€
The Act is installed at locations including:
--Our House West at 1277 Commonwealth Avenue, Allston
--TC's Lounge at One Haviland Street, Boston
--Boston Bowl at 820 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston
--T's Pub at 973 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston
--Lanes & Games at 195 Concord Turnpike, Cambridge
John Ellis of Boston Bowl said, â€œWeâ€™re always looking for new entertainment experiences for our patrons. The Act is an innovative video game unlike others weâ€™ve seen. We think it will be very popular.â€
For more information about Cecropia and The Act visit www.cecropia.com.
Cecropia is an entertainment production company. Cecropia is dedicated to creating video games that appeal to virtually every sector of the video game-playing population â€“ including people who donâ€™t play video games because they donâ€™t like fighting, sports, or driving games. Cecropiaâ€™s first game â€“ The Act â€“ offers a content-rich, interactive entertainment experience created by former Disney animators.
Brenda Nashawaty, 617-688-3253
Looks good... but i'm not sure it's going to be fun to turn a knob?
I know, Seb. I'm intrigued by the idea and love spinners (though this is in fact a knob, not a spinner per se), but it seems to be a unidimensional form of control that has to accomodate a lot of in-game elements. Still, without any hands-on time, I'm very much in the dark...
2006 .. it didnt catch on evidently :) From the trailer i really dont see anything new, but I must admit its hard to tell from a trailer. it looks a bit like a Dragons Lair, except not reaction based but Descision based ( alla Night Trap!!!!!!!!!!!!! EEEEKKK!!!!!!!) Imust admit the very Don Bluthy look interests me.. as does the not 100% NOT PC comedy (nut shot is always good for a laugh.. watch a you tube best of and tell me you dont smirk at least once). even with all that said its kinda interesting looking.. looks apple only.. so Bill will have to let us know how it is.
Here's a superb story on the game's history: http://www.theverge.com/gaming/2012/7/19/3165453/the-act-cecropia-chilli... . I *highly* recommend it for the .99. It is indeed short and I'm stuck on the game's final scene, but it's a brilliant experience for the price. I long for the original dial control over the touchscreen, but it still works, though it's not as easy to be subtle...