Monthly Archives: June 2014

10 Things That Inspired Entrapment

It’s been just under a month since the rerelease of Entrapment and it’s received some good praise from around the interweb. It was featured on GameJolt and Indiegames.com and was number 2 on Game Addictz Top Free Indie Games of the Week. Some people also left a couple of Let’s Plays around YouTube somewhere.

One thing I found interesting about the rerelease was the number of downloads Entrapment had compared to Time Stone. Here’s how the Gamejolt figures look:

Time Stone

TimeStoneNumbers

Entrapment

EntrapmentNumbers

So Entrapment has less profile views that Time Stone, but over a thousand more downloads. I’ve been struggling to try and explain this, because of the two, Time Stone is the much better game. Maybe it’s the artwork related to Entrapment that people found more appealing, maybe it’s the synopsis, I don’t know. There’s a lesson to be learnt from it, but I’m still not sure what that lesson is. Oh well.

Anyway, to celebrate Entrapment’s mild success, I thought I’d rehash this old article I wrote on the many things that inspired it, including references to them within the game. WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS!

 

1. Fight Club

01FightClub

I remember seeing this film when I was young and most people seem to see the ending coming, but not me. I was blown away. The film itself contains such dark and mysterious content about what’s going on, it kept me guessing the whole way through. It took the film to get to the part where the main character is out looking for Tyler Durden and people are saying that HE IS Tyler Durden for me to start piecing things together. After seeing the film I became intrigued with the concept of Dissociative Identity Disorder in story lines.

Reference in Entrapment:

There are two! The iconic pink bar of soap on the metal tray in the Bathroom and the Graffiti on the side of the Hotel towards the roof says “Tyler”.

 

2. Adventure Games by Ben Chandler

02Hope
You may or may not know this, but Ben Chandler has made a ton of cool little adventure games using Adventure Game Studio. He is a fantastic artist and also a really great game designer. All of his games are available on Adventure Game Studio, but the one that really spoke to me was the game ‘Hope’. Ben Chandler and Steven Poulton created Hope in 48 hours and it’s a great simple adventure game. Its simplicity is the reason it caught my attention so much, it showed me that an adventure game doesn’t have to be an epic tale, it can be short and sweet and still give the player a feeling of satisfaction.

Reference in Entrapment:

Well, the receptionist  is named Ben after the inspirational designer behind all of these games.

 

3. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

03Jekyll
I read The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde while I was still in the designing phase of Entrapment. It’s a great book and was really the first story to investigate the disturbing psychology behind split personality disorder and the human conflict of good and evil. This is something I wanted to get across in Sam’s character and the book also introduced the idea that split personalities would take on a different physical form, which I also used for when Sam turned into Sam 2 as I dubbed him, or “Evil Sam”.

Reference in Entrapment:

If you look at the book case in the bedroom, Sam will say there are books by Robert Louis Stevenson before claiming not to know who he is.

 

4. 5 Days a Stranger

045Days
Easily one of the best series created with AGS, the Chzo Mythos games were created by Ben “Yahtzee” Crowshaw, now mostly known for his work on Zero Punctuation. It was mainly the art style that I took from this game, but it has a great story, atmosphere and great puzzles. It also involves a serial killer, which is also an important them of Entrapment.

Reference in Entrapment:

The Bathrooms in the two games share the odd item of furniture (The toilet, the sink, the rug).

 

5. Two Face (Harvey Dent)

052Face

Another Character that explored dual personalities, Harvey Dent is a tragic figure and embraces his psychological disorder. When working on the story for Entrapment, I realized that nobody ever has two good personalities? There is always one nice one and one really really bad one. I wanted Sam’s evil side to show on screen and using Two Face as a reference helped with that.

Reference in Entrapment:

Two Face – Harvey Dent – The Dent Hotel. I didn’t just make names up you know, I put a lot of thought into naming conventions.

 

6. Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes

06LifeOn

These two fantastic British Television Drama series focus on the lives of people who have accidents and wake up back in time. The theme I took from this is the waking up, filled with confusion as Sam Drake does when we first see him in Entrapment. If you haven’t seen Life on Mars (The British Version), then I definitely recommend it.

Reference in Entrapment:

The main protagonists in the series are Sam Tyler and Alex Drake, a mash up of their names gives you Sam Drake.

 

7. Technobabylon

07Techno
Another great series made with AGS. Technobabylon is a series with great characters and a great story. The first game is also an escape the room game, so it draws similarities with Entrapment in that respect.

Reference in Entrapment:

When testing the game, it was made clear that the player needed more insight into why Sam had this psychological disorder. The opening of Technobabylon Part 1 involves a mysterious conversation between unknown people. I used this mechanic to add a small back story to Sam’s past (although you don’t connect this until later).

 

8. Sin City

08Si
Frank Miller’s Sin City is a phenomenal graphic novel series. It explores a dark gritty world, which is mostly conveyed through internal monologue. I used a lot of internal monologue within Entrapment for Sam Drake and I like to think that I kept Sin City and other graphic novels in mind when writing down Sam’s thoughts.
Reference in Entrapment:

Sadly, there is no direct reference to Sin City within Entrapment, maybe the black and white video tape section could count?

 

9. Doctor Who

00Doctor
I’m a huge fan of Doctor Who and it wasn’t the brilliant science fiction elements that I took from it for Entrapment (as there are none), it was the strong female roles within the series. The Doctors companions (usually female) all have strong characters. Martha is the only female in the game and I wanted her character to come across as a strong compassionate one with her conversation with Sam. I looked to Doctor who for that.

Reference in Entrapment:

I used the first name of one of the Doctor’s companions, Martha Jones, as the name for Sam’s wife as she was meant to come as strong as the character from the series.

 

10. Saw

10Jigsaw
Horror films aren’t usually my thing, but I really enjoy the Saw films. The whole mythology around the Jigsaw killer and the games that he makes people play are brilliant. I totally used the idea of a serial killer that traps you in a room and you have to escape. I love the whole Escape the Room genre such as Crimson Room and Entrapment is basically an escape the room game, with serial killers.

Reference in Entrapment:

As well as being an important point in the story, the camera in the bedroom closet is a nod to the Saw films.

Well that’s it, an extensive list of inspirations to me when I made Entrapment.