Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Someone Please Make This: Videodrome Videogame

Don't you hate it when you get an idea for something, but it is merely an expansion, adaptation, or otherwise entangled with an established intellectual property? Unless your name is Kevin Smith, you'll probably never be able to actually do anything with that awesome Batman storyline kicking around inside your skull. This soon to be recurring column is an attempt to exorcise such brainstorms and make room for more useful thinking.First up: rather than butchering it with a remake, someone should make a videogame adaptation of my all time favorite film, Videodrome. That seems a little goofy at first blush, but I think it would be a perfect fit. Imagine if you will, a gritty first person action game in the vein of the underrated, imperfect Condemned series. The storyline would have to unfold in the aftermath of the film, possibly revolving around a journalist or detective investigating the fate of deceased former protagonist Max Renn. The malicious spread of the eponymous signal through a subverted Cathode Ray Mission would provide a bestiary of mutating hobos for the necessary canon fodder. In a shout-out to both Bioshock and the source material's plot, the player could initially be used as a pawn against Bianca Oblivion, perhaps even taking her out before realizing the error of his(your) ways. (If this is all going over your head, you should definitely go rent the movie. It's the tits.)There is plenty of untapped conspiratorial potential in the movie's world, but so far it seems like videogame boilerplate. The special Videodrome twist stems from the Motif of Harmful Sensation. Since it is a first person game, looking or not looking at the legions of TV screens and videotapes within the game would factor heavily into gameplay. The player would be exposed to the initial, irreversible does of the signal near the beginning of the game, and accumulating enough exposure eventually kills the player ends the game. This would obviously have to be a high number to make the game playable, but could open up a range of different endings based on how far the player had progressed in the story before maxing out his dosage of videodrome viewing.To add another wrinkle to the gameplay, the player could accumulate his own collection of both videodrome and normal tapes. Normal tapes would function as the usual System Shock-y storyline advancing collectibles, but since the drome signal is affected by the video subject matter overlaid on it, the player could collect tapes with "weak" signals and record useful video on them in order to upgrade his or her rapidly evolving mutated powers. For instance, a gun safety video tainted by a weak drome signal could level up the inevitable gun-hand ability. So it's a bit of a reverse RPG, wherein your character gets closer to death as their powers increase. It also decreases the sting of an inadvertently shortened play-through caused by looking at a giant wall of video screens set up by the villains, when said screens also improved your stats.The videodrome signal could also be used as a weapon. Dispatching a mob of infected street-folk with an experimental '80s style (read: giant) video projector by wheeling it around and beaming a videodrome tape directly into their eyeballs, (also exposing yourself to the weaker, reflected signal) could be an awesome setpiece.

It's the mutant offspring of Condemned, Bioshock, and Oblivion set in a grungy, analog-punk world of urban decay with a unique visually based system combat/danger that directly ties in with character upgrading/customization. If any developers are interested, I'll write the whole damn thing pro-bono. If not, at least it's wasting space on the intertubes instead of my delicious brains.

What say you? Anyone else haunted by brainstorms they can never harness?


  1. Death to the demoness Allegra Geller!

  2. Very clever. It'll be like that, but with less spine fucking.

    Okay, a little bit of spine fucking.

  3. It will be kept very tasteful.

  4. I have had a VD game planned for years. Fortunately I am into games development, have a storyline basically outlined and all I need is help. I wont get it tho. costs too much dollar.