A game idea: Sweet Insanity

This is one of my favorite concept albums ever. It's not something most people will have heard of. It's not even something most people would want to hear. It is creepy, disturbing, beautiful, wrong, gross, wacky, badass, and sinister as fuck. I love every moment.

If you enjoy metal, or at least don't mind it, and the thought of deliberately insane music is not inherently unappealing, give it a listen. You won't be disappointed.

This album's 13 incredibly varied songs weave a tale of descent into raving lunacy, intertwined with intensely violent and sexual lyrics, at points, delivered in too many vocal styles to bother listing. All from one man, Todd Smith. I don't know how he does it, but I'm glad he does.

It really defies explanation, so if any of that sounds good, check them out. Comparisons are often made to Mike Patton and Mr. Bungle, and to a lesser extent System of a Down. I don't really get the connection to System of a Down myself, I think it's mostly because Serj Tankian did guest vocals on an earlier Dog Fashion Disco song, Mushroom Cult. System is my favorite band ever though, so maybe I'm not the person to ask.

Now, as for the game idea. Over at the Razor to Wrist Records (Dog Fashion Disco has been defunct since 2006, they've continued on in spirit, and mostly in membership, as Polkadot Cadaver, since 2007. Razor to Wrist is their self-created record label) forums, Spear XXI suggested Adultery: The Game as a general idea. (You'll have to register there to see it, but it's there.)

Spear XXI said:
You know it would be rad if there was like a game based off of DFD's Adultery album... Just think of the game in first person perspective as the killer, losing his sanity, and third person perspective of the cop on his tail. It could play out like half life2, silent hill, indigo prophecy and maybe a bit of Amnesia. lol...... Anyways, carry on...

Hmm, now the more I think of it, the more I think you would play more the perspective of the private eye, and slowly as you go throughout the game you slip into your own insanity as you are on the hunt for the whore killer. The style can be a bit noir and some parts of the game are even in black and white, with clues of say viberant red blood and other colors for clues in search mode. The game wouldn't be too long since you are focusing on one serial killer case. Though things blur in your struggle to keep yourself in the right side of the law. Like you have your prostitute friend Kitty, who helps you out at times, but things go sour for her later on.... Hmm...

Though you could take control of the killer as he is being possessed by Ollie the demon. The killer is surrounded by the demon and there is random places you are at where you just are going in killer or kidnapping people.

I give him/her credit for getting the gears turning, but here's my original post from there (I go by Shoeblazer in many places):

Shoeblazer said:
This idea is brilliant. This album, as coherent (in its intentionally insane way) and wonderful as it is, could use a little more exposition. The outline of the story is there, but, imagine if Todd and the crew really fleshed out that narrative, with all the great creepy touches you might expect.

It might almost work just as well as a movie, but that general territory has been tread on before, and it would be difficult to get the right budget together for this specific project without it getting changed too much.

A game would be awesome. Have two fully playable campaigns, one from the killer's perspective and one from the private eye's. Have the stories tie into each other as deeply as they should, but keep the playing experiences separate, and let the player figure it out. I'm sure you could use the actual songs from the album in a few places, like the Killer campaign intro cutscene could have The Uninvited Guest playing. Maybe get some new, ambient music recorded to match the style.

The album has such a distinct feel to it, I think the visuals would have to be unique. A rough approximation of reality wouldn't really work. You'd honestly need multiple visual styles, but I think a rough cel-shaded aesthetic could work quite well, in general. Like Team Fortress 2, but more sinister looking.

As for the gameplay, I like the idea you mentioned earlier. Have the killer be a first-person only character, so you don't ever get to see who you are. Have the Private Eye play from third-person. That would make it really interesting.

There'd have to be a heavy emphasis on duality and perspective, with the mental instability of your character kind of fucking with you all the time. Like Far Cry 3, but, you know, clear and well-written.

I need to get my understanding of the story of Adultery straight before I can think of how this would really work.

If done right, a game like this could be incredibly unsettling. Harrowing, but not in the way survival horror games are. It would just be a story that really makes you feel uncomfortable.

And I don't know what the gameplay would really need to be... I guess, a mission-based first-/third-person game. But there would be no need for an emphasis on shooting. It would be more like an genre-defying interactive experience that just messes with you. Atmosphere, dialogue, and tone would be so much more important than any actual game mechanics, for this.

I think you'd be going from place to place, with mission objectives. And the Private Eye, he would have people to report to, things to do. Slightly more normal.

The killer, though, should just be batshit crazy when you play as him. Not like an obvious maniac running around, but his (and therefore, your) mind would not function the way it should. I don't know that you'd have people giving you mission objectives.

How chilling would it be to play a first-person action game, where you run around more or less randomly, and as you see people and places, you give yourself objectives (on-screen and mandatory, still) that just kind of happen. Very violent, very specific, very wrong.

Imagine running around with no clear goal. You come down an alley, passing a crowbar. Further along the alley, you see a man, perhaps in his 50s, shivering while rubbing his body in the cold, his teeth chattering.

"Could you s-s-s-spare s-s-some ch-ch-ch-change, man? I'm s-s-so hungry."

Your character, in the best Todd Smith growl possible, as an objective marker pops above the bum's head: "You're hungry? What are you hungry for, you shit!? You gonna get your fix if I give you that money!? Are you hungry for smack? You want some FUCKING SMACK, IS THAT IT, YOU WORTHLESS FUCK!?"

*on-screen prompt* Kill him.

At this point, you could punch and kick him to death. You could strangle the life out of him while looking into his eyes. You could pick up that crowbar and chase him down and beat him with it.

The point is, your character is irrational, and out of control. You, as the player, don't have a choice. You have to kill this poor man.

And I think that could be the central concept of the game. Making it clear that even if you don't want to, you will. Even though you are controlling your character, you have no control.

And that, then, is exactly how the character feels too. He doesn't want to do that. But he is, and it's horrifying.

And at the end of the killer's campaign, you could have him sitting with the psychiatrist in custody, like at the end of Adultery, Mature Audiences Only.

You could have dialogue options as he asks you questions. Give two or three possible responses, and then, just to reinforce the loss of control, have him say the same thing, no matter what you choose.

This is starting to sound so goddamn cool.

I think you could call the game Sweet Insanity. Sounds about right.

So, as I envision it after thinking about it more... it would be a mixture of Far Cry 3, Manhunt, Grand Theft Auto, and Hotline: Miami.

And that idea excites me.

Now let me explain those influences.

Far Cry 3 had insanity and mental instablilty as a narrative element. In my opinion, it handled that aspect terribly. This game, if done right, could use similar concepts to its advantage, while avoiding the need to appeal to the mainstream, $60-boxed-retail-DVD-copy market altogether, thereby allowing more freedom to play with this sort of theme.

Manhunt, because of the unflinching grisly aspect. Brutality will be key. But hopefully violence will be key to a game like this the same way it is key to a Quentin Tarantino movie.

Grand Theft Auto, because the album has a crime and murder spree facet, and the game should too. I picture the game as less realistic, and more cartoonish, abstract, ethereal and trippy, in its horrible manner. I'd think that you wouldn't have a large open environment. You'd have limited spaces to play in, that suited the mission and story at hand. (Perhaps, if the art style is abstract, randomly generated?) Think the environments from the boss encounters in Far Cry 3, but more cartoony and interactive, and a bigger part of the game as a whole. You know, the trippy, memory-lapse drug dance floor of insanity?

And Hotline: Miami, in the sort of unsettling and unwilling to surrender way. There's a lot of similarities here, actually, in the unanswered questions and the straightforward, unapologetic portrayal of violence, however simple the graphics are. In addition, music and sound design would be hugely important to a game like this.

This is a fanboy's dream, but holy shit does all of this seem like a great idea. I want to make this. Too bad I have no coding or game dev experience. I'd love to write the script. I'd love to do any voice acting I could. I'd love to help conceptualize and oversee the game's development. But I don't think I have the programming prowess necessary to undertake something like that alone. If anybody thinks this is a good idea, please comment or PM me.

Thanks for reading.

Start the Conversation

Reaching Toward Halo: Reach

 Click Me 
Is that not the worst pun ever? 
Anyway, Halo: Reach is looking great. I have been looking forward to it since it was announced, but now that Bungie is actually showing it off, I can't wait. 
Up until very recently, though, it definitely looked like more Halo. Which isn't a terrible thing, it's just that the series is beginning to feel stale. Halo 3: ODST certainly didn't help things in that department. The specific reveal that has me most excited for Reach is the Invasion multiplayer mode. This gametype looks amazing. Traditionally, in Halo, I'm not a huge fan of objective games. I would much rather play Slayer. With all the details I've seen on Invasion, including the Ask Me Anything: Halo: Reach Beta video right here on Giant Bomb, I'm very anxiously awaiting May 3rd to hit. 

What's Invasion?

Invasion is the biggest objective gametype Halo has ever seen, barring any further reveals before Reach hits stores.  
I'm not going to go into all the details here, but Bungie did here
The reason Invasion is my favorite part of Halo: Reach so far is because it's just more ambitious than anything I've seen out of the Halo franchise so far, and I love Halo. It's just bigger and, I'm assuming, better than the standard deathmatch and CTF modes that very other FPS has had since the beginning of online multiplayer. 
I was excited for Halo: Reach before. They announced all sorts of cool things, like actual differences between Spartans and Elites, new weapons like the DMR and the Needle Rifle, and all the improvements to gameplay and engine enhancements. But Invasion is what is causing to preorder the Legendary Edition. Well, that and the fact that I have a copy of every NTSC disc in the main Halo series (I don't count Halo Wars). Yes, that includes the Halo 2 Collector's Edition, the Halo 2 Multiplayer Map Pack, and a copy of Halo: Combat Evolved for PC and Halo 2 for Vista. Yes, I own Halo 2 for Windows Vista.