You know that scene in Jurassic Park where Richard Attenborough is guiding Laura Dern through the utilities complex, after Mace Windu got lost resetting the power? Throughout this moment the audience witnesses a scene that uses two different forms of suspense to double the overall tension of the scene: one from what we see with Dern…we know the raptors are lurking about somewhere in the shadows; and the second is with Attenborough and how he is responsible for Dern’s safe navigation through the complex. While he is removed from any immediate danger, he still fears for her safety. There is nothing he can do to help beyond guiding her.
The first type of suspense is one we typically see in video games: we are the hero who must make our way through a dim, creepy, and dangerous environment. Anyone who has played Bioshock or any of the Dead Space games is very familiar with this type of suspense. The second type of suspense, the emotionally invested but removed perspective, is not something we see (if ever) in video games.
Mayday! Deep Space is well on its way to changing that.
In Mayday! Deep Space, the player must guide the hero through a space station which has been nearly destroyed by some sort of unknown antagonist. The twist is that the player is watching the hero move through the space station on a minimalist map, and must use verbal commands to guide him to safety.
With the dangers of the unknown lurking around each corner, the player must listen to the hero describe what they’re looking at, and where they need to go, so that proper directions can be relayed.
“Walk forward…turn left…turn right…stop,” I’d say to the hero as he creeped around the space station. When a red dot appeared on the map, signaling the presence of an enemy, my commands grew more frantic, “Stop! Back up…turn left! Run! Run! Run!”
I’ve only scratched the surface of Mayday! Deep Space, and already I’m certain that those of you seeking out a new way to experience a narrative within a game are going to really enjoy your time with this game.
Mayday! Deep Space is available now, for $2.99 in the iOS App Store.