By Alec Meer on May 13th, 2014 at 8:00 pm.
You weren’t a game developer, so posting here about your unexpected death is tangential. But I guess you’ve always been there, accidentally informing the boyhood horror and action games which led to what I enjoy and write about to this day.
Your obsidian phalluses, mutant mech-babies and kinky bio-mechanical terrors remain a benchmark for modern horror and subversion, and a visual language borrowed by several generations of developers, even beyond the obvious chokehold Alien has had on so many games*. We all recite the quotes, but it’s the otherworldly, twisted imagery of that film which is truly deathless.
There was 1992 horror-adventure game Darkseed too of course, which seemed like a visitor from a nightmare future at the time but causes squirming if seen now. Challenging acting, trial and error failstate puzzles and a hero who wears a blazer: some things are best left where they are. Still, you were ‘just’ a contributing artist so none of that’s your fault – but good work on pushing for VGA resolution, and that box art certainly had every teen boy of the time convinced they had they to own the game immediately.
Anyway, thanks. I’d be lying if I claimed your work played any meaningful part of my adulthood (I guess don’t really want pictures of metal orifices and doorways made out spines on my wall any more), but as a teenager, when books of your art were handed with awed secrecy around school locker rooms, it seemed so important, so thrilling, so subversive. Coming out of an all too safe, rural, small-c-conservative upbringing, your nightmare visions were essential in making me aware of other possibilities, other ways of thinking about and seeing the world.
Rest in peace.
* In truth it’s much more Aliens that influences game, which Giger was not hired to work on – though it did of course make significant use of his creature designs.