The Qwillery | category: Lovecraft


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Lovecraftian Horror Game Conarium

Conarium Available Now

Developer Zoetrope Interactive and publisher Iceberg Interactive have released their Lovecraftian Horror Adventure game Conarium. Players can purchase this beautifully crafted tale at an SRP of $19.99, through Steam and major digital retailers. To celebrate the release of this highly anticipated successor to the Darkness Within series, Conarium will be at a 15% discount for the week of launch.

Conarium is a psychological horror adventure game that takes place during an Antarctic expedition called Upuaut (meaning “Opener of the ways” in ancient Egyptian). The story revolves around a group of four scientists trying to pass beyond the limits of traditional human experience; transcending human consciousness by using an artificial device called Conarium.

As Frank Gilman, a member of the Anthropology Department in the Miskatonic University, you have taken part in the Upuaut expedition led by Dr. Faust, attempting to pass beyond the limits of human consciousness by using a device called Conarium.

When you find yourself regaining consciousness, you are alone in the Antarctic expedition base, and you remember nothing. Soon you will discover that having used the device during the expedition, you have died but then returned subtly changed, speaking of strange memories and of strange places. You have lost something important or gained something sinister…

Explore the antarctic base, as well as dreams and visions. Study clues, unlock secrets, experience alternate realities, but avoid macabre beings present there at all cost.

Powered by Unreal Engine 4, Conarium aims to bring cutting-edge visuals for a more immersive storytelling and gaming experience.

Key Features
  • A deep and suspense-filled Lovecraftian story with lots of secrets and Easter eggs.
  • Ominous but wonderful graphics created with Unreal Engine 4.
  • Multiple endings.
  • A haunting and atmospheric soundtrack.

[click to enlarge]

Zoetrope Interactive is a small independent game development studio located in Istanbul, Turkey. Their Darkness Within projects are renowned for maintaining a true Lovecraftian atmosphere and their complex narratives. Thanks to the constant support from their beloved fans and wonderful followers all around the world, they are currently working on their third project, “Conarium”. Their development philosophy consists of devoting their talent to narrating fictional stories that offer players a unique and different gaming experience, while offering elements like intense storylines, atmosphere, immersion and suspense.

Iceberg Interactive is an independent video game publisher founded in 2009 by an international group of games industry veterans and is located in Haarlem, The Netherlands. Staffed with avid gamers, Iceberg works closely with an international assembly of game developers, both midsize and indie. Garnering attention with acclaimed releases over recent years, including Killing Floor 2, Endless Space, Endless Legend, StarDrive 2 and Starpoint Gemini 2, the company has an exceptional line-up, including Oriental Empires, Starship Corporation, Lord of Rigel and The Last Crown: Blackenrock – with further promising games in the pipeline.

What is "Urban Fantasy" to you?

Before I get started, I want to mention that I am really looking forward to the debut novel by Jaye Wells titled Red-Headed Stepchild. The buzz about this book is exceptional. There is a contest over at Amberkatze’s Book Blog. So head over there and enter and you may win a copy. Red-Headed Stepchild has a March 31, 2009 release date.

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog (which is 2 days late):

The blogosphere is replete with discussions about Urban Fantasy, well the part of the blogosphere I seem to read regularly. It seems that the definition of “Urban Fantasy” is murky. Let’s parse this if we can –

Fantasy – Fiction characterized by highly fanciful or supernatural elements.*

Urban – Of, relating to, or located in a city.*

That gives us a very rough approximation of Urban Fantasy (UF) – a fictional work with highly fanciful or supernatural elements in which the locale is a city. It's not a horrible definition but it is lacking. It reminds me of the saying – all generalizations are false including this one.

I think my view of and the way I would like to define UF is influenced by the way I came to UF. I generally don’t like Fantasy, especially Epic Fantasy. I’ve read and enjoyed series by Anne McCaffrey, Katherine Kurtz and others. None of those books have remained in my personal library. I do love Thomas Burnett Swann’s books. I perhaps should not admit this, but I’ve never been able to read The Lord of the Rings. I didn’t even make it all the way through The Hobbit.

I much preferred to read H.P. Lovecraft, Machen, and Hodgson to reading fantasy as I was growing up. Later I found Elaine Bergstrom’s Austra Vampire series, Poppy Z. Brite, and Brian Lumley’s Necroscope series among others. I’m also a huge fan of dystopias (Animal Farm, The Overman Culture, R.U.R., We, Brave New World, etc.).

I came to Urban Fantasy because of the paranormal element. And I came to it from horror. I’m not going to argue, tempting as it might be, that it is more closely aligned with horror than fantasy although I reserve the right to do so at a later date. It is called Urban Fantasy. I also perceive a dystopian element lurking in some of the stories. Things are simply not as good as they seem.

Is there such a thing as Urban Farror (Urban Fantasy Horror)? There are some scary things in many of these novels. I'd certainly like to have Urban Farror as a subgenre.

So how do we define UF?

Does it have to be set in modern times or simply in a real place that exists or has existed?
Does it have to take place in a city?
Does it have to have a kick ass heroine?
Can it have some semblance of an HEA or is the HEA strictly forbidden?
Do we exclude or include novels that are primarily mysteries?
How many subgenres of UF presently exist?

I have many more questions about the definition of UF than I have answers, obviously.

So what defines UF? I just don’t know because it’s a genre that has existed for quite a while, seems to include many subgenres, and is still evolving. I think I’ll borrow a line from Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, "I know it when I see it" ... or at least I think I do.

Qwill’s Qwestions: What defines UF for you? What’s your favorite UF book or series and why do you like it?

*From the American Heritage Dictionary. It's the dictionary that I prefer because it has awesome etymologies.

Lovecraftian Horror Game Conarium

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