So to end my Halloween Trivia Time marathon, I thought I’d end on a high note. And what better high note than Deadly Premonition. I will be talking spoilers in this article so read on at your own peril. This game is a masterpiece. Not in gameplay or graphics, you’d have to pay me a lot to say that, Swery. Swery being the creator of the wonderful world of Deadly Premonition. The game centres around Detective Francis York Morgan. Although he prefers to be called York, everyone calls him that apparently. He is a film loving detective who has been assigned a case in the middle of nowhere. A little town called Greenvale, where a local woman has been found murdered.
Mystery and intrigue ensue and York must uncover the mysteries of this town in order to try and put a stop to a string of gruesome murders. It is a very strange game filled to the brim with quirky characters. There in lies the beauty of this game. It is unbelievably rough around the edges and a slog to play at times but the world and its absurdity are unlike anything I’ve played since. The town is full of weird people and you’ll get to know these people very well. As you play through the game, you’ll see different characters going about their own lives. Each character has a daily routine that you can follow and keep track of. You’ll see them in a diner or at a shop, perhaps at a bar or more commonly you’ll see them whizzing down the road and full on driving into your car. Remember, I said this game was janky. But as your fellow neighbour drives off your bonnet you might notice a strange combination of letters and numbers. The license plates of these residents not only form words, but also a trait synonymous to them or even a clue or two about their involvement in the murder mystery.
The basic patrol cars around Greenvale have the license plate ‘VIDGMES’, which considering you’re reading a video game article, I believe I don’t need to solve this riddle for you. Nick Cormack, the local diner chef has ‘GR8COOK’, which is very boastful and also a plate that made me do a double take because of my filthy mind. Perhaps the most on the nose plate though and the most damning in a game about finding a murderer is George Woodman’s license plate. George Woodman, for those who haven’t played the game, is the local rugged cop who helps York in his investigation into the murders. But, this whole time George wasn’t who he seemed and in the end, we find out that George was involved in the killings. Not only that, George likes to flaunt his murderous ways to the whole town for all to see. Not only is George revealed to be a late game bad guy, but his license plate was laughing in our faces about it. His license plate reads ‘HESTHE1’, which in case you’re struggling, reads as He Is The One. You smug so and so, George.
I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream is a game based on the short story of the same name by Harlan Elison. It is a point and click adventure game by Cyberdreams and was released in 1995. The game is takes place in a post apocalyptic world where humanity has been wiped out by a diabolical computer called AM. The story of the game revolves around the last five people in existence. These people exist because AM wishes them to exist. For the past 109 years, AM has been subjected these individuals to pain and torture for its own amusement. These people cannot die as AM doesn’t allow it and so to save of its own boredom it cruelly tortures them and plays mind games on them.
It’s a very dark story. Each of the five characters has a character flaw or weakness that AM continuously and methodically exploits and tortures them with. For instance Benny, a handsome man turned into an ape like human by AM’s doings, is a starving man but AM has constructed a reality where he struggles to eat food. Ellen was a woman who was a rape victim and associated her harrowing experience with the colour yellow. So AM sets her in an Egyptian setting where the colour yellow is very prominent. Nimdok is the character that I want to talk about today. Nimdok’s story has Nazi themes and takes place in the confines of a concentration camp. Understandably this setting is a rough subject matter. All 5 stories are but some more than others. Due to this storyline the entire Nimdok section of the game was completely removed from the French and German releases of the game. The section wasn’t replaced with a different story or setting and so Nimdok was a character that the player never played as.
This caused an issue with the best ending of the game. And by issue I mean, it was unobtainable. The French and German version’s exclusion of Nimdok’s chapter means that you can’t do the certain actions required to activate the best ending. And this was in 1995. If these situations happen today we can just go to YouTube and watch the ending but back then there wasn’t much you could do. For those intrigued by the story, I highly the game. I didn’t play it but I watched an LP of it and it is a wonderfully bleak setting. Fun little side note to end on, the author Harlan Elison helped on the development of the game. He wrote most of the dialogue and even voiced the evil computer AM. He did a great job too, giving AM’s voice that contempt for mankind that was ever present in its actions.
F.E.A.R stands for First Encounter Assault Recon. Firstly, is Assault Recon an oxymoron? Assault in this context, means to go into the establishments with guns drawn and ready to take on the foes. Recon though. Recon to me means scouting the location and if finding a foe, keeping distance and reporting the intelligence to headquarters. F.E.A makes sense but that doesn’t make for a snappy title, does it?
Now that I’ve got that thought out of the way, lets talk trivia. F.E.A.R is a horror FPS developed by Monolith Productions and released in 2005. During production a few members of staff maybe got too engrossed in their work. Lead level designer John Mulkey had a toilet fright (bathroom for those outside the UK, I’m not just talking about an incident confined to a toilet. This isn’t The Grudge but through the toilet bowl instead of TV screen) that left him and a few co-workers a bit rattled. Apparently, while John was using the toilets, he believes he saw a dark shadow in a mirror. This toilet prowler wasn’t just seen by John though. A fellow team member also explained to John that he found the toilet’s atmosphere eerie.
The fact that the toilets were described as having only one working light and one light that flickers, does paint a creepy scene. A bit that I’m sure is in F.E.A.R. A trick of the mind or ghastly toilet voyeur? Perhaps too much work and not enough sleep. We’ll never know. Most of the production crew claim they didn’t believe John’s mirror buddy and that he was merely seeing things. Funny though that after the sighting was spotted, that particular toilets usage dropped drastically. ‘What a load of nonsense! I’m just going to take the lift up two floors to use the other toilet’.