COReplay - 15 / 03 / 08



To Russ Lees it was about an experimental project. Attracted to the universe of videogame production by an old friend, this part engineer, part playwright spearheaded one of the most ambitious endeavours ever, an essay that begun hesitantly, later assuming a proportion which remains unvisited until this date. Exploring the expansive genre of graphical adventures, renewed by the CD-ROM’s multimedia capabilities, the Inscape studio approached the work of the majestic author Edgar Allan Poe in what is one of the very first adaptations of the north-American writer to the videogame cosmos.

THE DARK EYE is defined by its interactive dimension within the age-old genre, the horror tales, penetrating through the darkest corners of the Human mind. Inspired by 'The Fall of the House of Usher' and other stories, Lees writes a sketch for a joint venture with his long-time friend, Michael Nash, uncertain of what his work would result in. The house, isolated by the surrounding waters, is the starting point to a spiritual journey of an anonymous character, whose presence is bound to set off a series of tragic occurrences among the initially unstable family nucleus. These events spawn, within him, an anomalous predisposition to establish contact with lost memories of death, pain and dementia, symbolized by disparate objects within the house.

A passionate reader of Poe’s work, which he read entirely, Lees analysed dozens of tales and poems while trying to determine which were most appropriate to the reactive nature of the game scenario, where the simple pointer unfolds into multiple possibilities. Notwithstanding, the digressions between restless psyches go beyond the written format of Poe’s stories, where the perspective is narrowed to the homicidal instinct, allowing the player the opposite experience of playing through the victim’s standpoint. This unique option postulates a new format of coherent narrative exposition which instils, simultaneously, an alternative intuition to the player as the progresses through the diverse chapters, sustained in his subjective correlation of events.


The artistic triumph in THE DARK EYE resides not only in the complex web of the chronicle, yet in the exceptional audiovisual nature, supported by the notorious works of several creators from the artistic direction by Rebekah Behrendt, the soundtrack by Thomas Dolby and his studio Headspace, to the vocal talents like the one donated by the ‘beat’ author William S. Burroughs – exceptional in his declamation of both poems included in the game. The reunion of talents behind this production includes varied techniques of painting, design and sculpture, ranging from 3D computer rendering of the background and objects, monochromatic and coloured illustrations, photo-montages, ‘stop motion’ animated characters and even oil paint.


II. Personas >>

> From the character’s introductory consideration: “For the wild narrative which I’m about to tell, do neither expect nor ask for belief: it would be mad to ask for such a thing, in a case where my own senses reject their evidence. And yet I’m not mad, and I surely do not dream.”


> Formed in 1995, Inscape is a studio responsible for some of the most original adventure titles on the PC such as the famous Residents: Bad Day on the Midway or Drowned God.


> Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) accumulated, beyond the fame of short-story writer, the best references as a poet, editor and literary critic. Many believe that Poe shared many of his character's insanity.




> The act above the motive: in the story 'Cast of Amontillado', the character solely describes his hatred towards his fellow and his hideous and methodical actions, omitting any justifications for his grudge.












> Illustrations for the declamation of the poem "The Red Death" by William S. Burroughs present on a hidden stained glass window which underlines the theme of death by means of tuberculosis.


> William S. Burroughs was one of the most prominent authors of the 'beat' generation, author of 'Naked Lunch' and many other essential works of the 50's and the early 60's. His exceptional vocal talent remains present in The Dark Eye, recorder two years before his death.

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