The house was about ninety miles west of where I live. It was a warm Saturday morning mid September. Getting out of the car a soft breeze brushes past me and lifts a few orange colored leaves onto my feet. The property has clearly been abandoned for years by the overgrown weeds and brush surrounding the house. Walking up to the front I see no way inside. Plywood and boards cover all the doors and windows. However the house isn’t my interest . The letter I received said the trunk was in the old storage barn behind the house. Pushing my way through waist high, dead vegetation I see the dilapidated grey barn in the back. The entrance is blocked by an old section of wooden fence tangled tightly with vines and dead branches. After several minutes I manage to muscle the fence out of the way and find the door firmly secured with a large, rusty padlock. Digging in my pocket I remove a silver key that had come with the letter. Inserting the key, I turn it to the right unlatching the lock. The door hinges seem to be rusted as it is difficult to open. Inside sunlight streams in through a hole in the roof. I see a couple of boxes on the floor and a branch has broken through the small window. In the middle of the floor lies something covered with a tattered canvas tarp. Pulling the tarp away a cloud of dust obscures my vision for a moment. As the particles of dust settle a brown, wooden trunk is revealed. Pulling up a small aged stool I open the trunk and am taken aback by the first item I discover.
A golden age comic book. My hand runs gently over the cover as my mind recedes to my youth. I remember reading this issue numerous times as a child. Lifting the cover a smile spreads over my face as I see the 50's styled candy bar advertisement. Over the next three hours I pour over the long forgotten artifacts. The trunk is filled with letters, old photos and other family relics. My family has always been an enigma loosely knit together with second hand accounts and folklore. Our story begins to deepen as I read generation old letters, examining each sentence with the attention of a crime scene detective. Digging deeper into the chest I discover a well worn cigar box. Opening it I uncover world war two era medals and documents. Schedules, concerns and responsibilities cease to exist as I’m transported to an alternate reality by way of this trunk. An enduring sense of longing and curiosity settles within me.
This is the spirit I wanted to capture when I created my interactive game 146. To recreate that experience of searching through old memories and mementos. 146 tells the story of a Grandfather's gift to his Grandson. It covers themes of war, The great depression and Christianity seen through the eyes of the Grandfather 146 is also a video game but not in the traditional sense. You do play mini games on the computer but these are intertwined with treasure hunts and real world objects. These real world objects include a trunk, tape recorder, film reel, photo album and other items all placed within the trunk. The player uses these items to solve puzzles and progress through the game. Although the story and gameplay are linear the actual gameplay is designed to be explorative, allowing the player to meander through the objects in the trunk. This was done purposefully in contrast to the busyness of our smartphone culture. I find myself longing for a less technological, mass produced rat race. Something that harkens back to the quietness of an old library where one could spend hours looking at voluminous, antique books. Places lit by natural light that have well worn, creaking chairs that you sink into, and may be overly hot but drafty at the same time. Places that are not the Apple store or Starbucks. If you feel this same way then please like, share and discuss this page. Due to the complexity of this game I am only able to set it up and play it in the Denver area and it’s surrounding cities. However if enough interest is generated I could see it moving outward as well.