How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily - how calmly I can tell you the whole story."
- Edgar Allen Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart.
I gently slide the lantern hatch open until a sliver of light cuts the thick black of the room. The light arouses the old man from his sleep - his dreaded eye is open, peering into my very soul! The pounding of his heart fills my ears, I must put a stop to it. I hastily take his life, and carefully dismember the body to be hidden far from prying eyes. "There was nothing to wash out - no stain of any kind - no blood-spot whatever. I had been too wary for that. A tub had caught all - Ha! Ha!" I proclaim to myself after carefully bagging the pieces. I swiftly carry the limb-filled bags to the old mans own room. I pry the floor boards free and carefully deposit the bags. It's done! It isn't until that sound - the throbbing heart fills my head, and I expose my crime to the officers who came loudly rapping at my door. "It is the beating of his hideous heart!"
Some time ago, my parents were keen on giving gifts with educational value. They indulged me with many educational video games over the years - games that were often left ignored or rarely used. Much to their surprise and delight, the gift of The Dark Eye
, pushing the literature of Edgar Allen Poe at me through video game form, was one of the most appreciated gifts of 1995. By leaving out the words "educational" when handing over my present, I was none the wiser in my endeavor to fully explore the many twisted tales held within the Edgar Allen Poe PC game. I was Montressor, I was Fortunato - I was murdered, I was a murderer. Creepy claymation characters unfolded the stories for my young mind. I played with the lights off, I explored the many rooms of this game to uncover the tales within the tale - The Tell-Tale Heart hidden in a fish head, The Cask of Amontillado in my reflection from a wine glass.
Much of the game allowed me to explore the tales held within as either the victim, or the murderer - other tales were read to me with stunning visuals and an eerie narrator. Anabell Lee
was given a whole new meaning when the characters were composed of wire hangers and paper mache. The Masque of the Red Death made a wonderful Halloween project for a literature class to watch on my antiquated laptop. Then there was the integration; time to figure out how to trigger the next part of well known stories. "Did I check the pot on the stove?" I'd ask, "What about the drawings in the study? Perhaps it's there." I glide my cursor over every inch of the room until another dialog of Poe's famous stories starts up once more.
Halloween comes around, and I dust off the old box, reinstall The Dark Eye
and sit down to have my nerves rattled once more - it's been 14 years of this. I personally attribute my favoritism toward Survival Horror to that first fateful encounter, at the impressionable age of 10, playing The Dark Eye
. Now I savor the unusual, covet the bizarre, and play any survival horror game time permits.
Sadly for this game,
the action was obscure,
no grenades to lob away,
no gold to gather here.
Though, The Dark Eye did have me,
many gamers've never seen,
The erudite side of fear
that was inSCAPES twisted dream.
Leaving The Dark Eye here,
a forgotten dream within a dream.
Oh - and the Bells, bells, bells....bells.
The Dark Eye
had received a Premature Burial
, never getting the chance to claw its way into the hearts and homes of many literary gamers. You can quoth this raven, "Nevermore."