007 meets ‘Zork’ in ‘Device 6’

I was clattering away at my keyboard the other day when I received a communique from my sister.

Sister textShe usually has a pretty good feel for my sensibilities, so I decided to take her advice on faith and purchased Device 6 from the app store. Upon seeing the icon for the game, a silhouetted figure in a bowler hat against a field of red, I was filled with a sense of familiarity. After seeing the intro film and hearing its 60s spy soundtrack, my suspicions were confirmed. Device 6 was using the aesthetics and music of 1960s spy dramas like The Prisoner and The Avengers to develop a sense of place and genre. And when I finally started playing, my sister was right, I went mental.

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 2.53.53 PMDeveloped by Simogo Games, Device 6 weaves a novella with audio and puzzles to create a thriller mobile game. You take control of Anna, a young woman that wakes up on a mysterious island in one of two identical castles. To move forward in the game you must read the story carefully as well as listen to the audio for clues on how to solve the mysteries.  The written sections of the game force you to twist your device around, making reading text into a tactile journey that mirrors Anna’s own footsteps.

Device 6 also puts a new spin on the classic text-based adventure game by adding “windows” in the text that give you clues or atmosphere to the story you’re reading. The soundtrack is brilliant, giving off shades of Bernard Herrmann’s Hitchock scores as well as John Barry’s work for the Bond series.

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After spending several hours on Device 6, I am a fan. This game is expanding on the idea of interactive fiction and bringing it to a audiences becoming used to reading and gaming on the same mobile device. Device 6 has roots in games like ZORK, but also shares common DNA with literary experiments like Charles Cumming’s Google map story “The 21 Steps”. As a nerd who likes to take notes and make maps while gaming Device 6 allowed me a level of engagement I don’t receive very often.

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I should mention that the game is not for everyone. If you’re more of a fan of action based games, you may want to eschew the $3.99 price tag for a game with a bit more speed. However, if you enjoyed the old school text based games or puzzle games like The Room, and have a love for 60s spy thrillers, you will find much to adore with Device 6.

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Visit the official site HERE.

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Robert Walker
Robert Walker 152 posts

Rob Walker is a writer and filmmaker in Colorado, and is creator of the comedy web series Victorian Cut-out Theatre. He loves horror films and comic books (American Vampire, Jonah Hex, The Flash, Planetary). Rob has been a Sherlockian since the age of ten, is a Dark Tower junky and believes that Indiana Jones is the greatest cinematic hero ever created. You can follow him on twitter at: @timidwerewolf and see his other writings and videos at robwalkerfilms.com