It might be a little early to start thinking about my August 2011 novel, but, lately, I’ve been having a few dreams that involve big, sprawling, mansion like houses, and last night, I finally had one that made me realize that my imagination is trying to turn back to an old (very old!) project from when I was a teenager. All because of this game.
Now, I grew up at the height of the Sierra action-adventure reign, with a father who studied a few years of computer technology while he was in college. So we always had a computer, we were one of the first people in our podunk little farming community to have the Intrawebz, and I basically like to tell people I learned how to read playing Zork. When Phantasmagoria came out, it was a pretty big deal, with movie cut-scenes (that I had to sneak into the gaming room to watch since Dad put on the parental controls when we played so we couldn’t see all the gory stuff, which, really, was a very good idea on his part) and a real-person avatar. The plot revolved around writer Adrienne and her photographer husband moving into an extremely cursed old mansion, to inspire them on projects, but the only thing that it inspires is the release of demon that caused the last owner of the mansion to kill his five wives and daughter, and now is causing Adrienne’s husband to try to kill her!
It’s a scary, creepy, disturbing game, and sometimes I’m a little astonished to think that I couldn’t have been more than twelve years old when I played it, and I was utterly entranced with it (and this even before my “goth” phases, too!). Immediately, I started sketching out layout of my own terribly cursed mansion, putting together an elaborate story about a hellbent patriarch and a bloody past that a new family, moving in, would discover as new hell breaks loose. I can’t remember a lot of the details of that old project, escept that, in my fashion, there were way too many characters, and the mansion was glorious (the Phantasmagoria one was always too small for my liking), and there was definitely a star-crossed love between one of the daughters and the servant boy who lived in the tower.
Adrienne Delaney does not approve of this bullshit.
Looking through Phantasmagoria stuff online again not only makes me terribly miss this game (how much more I’ll be able to be appreciative of it and terrified of it anew this time around!), but it definately inspires me to want to see what kind of scary mansion book I can write now, with a little nod to my teenaged self’s previous attempts. If anything, it could be a lot of fun, and just the fact that I’m randomly thinking about this game from well over a decade ago is a good sign that perhaps that’s just where my inspiration has taken me. If anything, I remember the joy and excitement I felt making the layout and maps of the mansion and the nearby village when I was younger, and I know I’d feel the same if I started doing it again.
And now I decide if I want to lay down the $10 for the download and the nostalgia again. Come August, you know I so will. And I can only hope to create something as iconic and creepy and starling as I remember Phantasmagoria being (and I hope it wasn’t just because I was only twelve!).