Home Invasion: Rohrer’s New Game The Castle Doctrine

About the easiest way to start a bar fight among those who deem themselves educated in videogames is to bring up Jason Rohrer’s Passage (missus), an unwitting poster child for ‘artgames.’ It worked its morose magic on me, while others found it arch and ungame, but between that and the lofty ambitions (though there are disagreements on the execution) of two-player storytelling game Sleep Is Death I suspect I’ll forever be fascinated by what Rohrer gets up to. Next up is The Castle Doctrine, “a massively multiplayer game of burglary and home defense.”

A Tony Martin sim? Maybe the Daily Mail will embrace videogames after all.

In fact we know very little about the Castle Doctrine as yet. There are a few screenshots to go by, which let us know it’s a top-down, lo-fi,2D affair – not a million miles away from his usual style, but perhaps less minimal – and that there will be blood.

The massively multiplayer mention is tantalising – will we, then, be invading others’ home while also building defences in our own, or will there be two discrete teams of burglars and defenders?

Maybe all the phone numbers on the minimal site‘s front page hold clues. Or maybe they’re pseudo-Yellow Pages artwork. Or maybe they’re real people’s numbers and they’re about to have an incredibly bad time of things.


  1. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Hmm. Colour me intrigued, but don’t use more than six pixels to do so.

  2. elderman says:

    This is great news. Love Rohrer’s approach to game design and was sorry Diamond Trust of London was for a platform I don’t own. The description of the game doesn’t make any sense to me, but I look forward to finding out what the heck Rohrer’s take is on ‘massively multiplayer’. I wonder if it will involve asynchronous collaboration in the mold of Chain World?

  3. Frank says:

    Yeah, I like Rohrer’s games (well, particularly the starry-sky zooming shooter one and the sound of the non-PC blood-diamond one), but “unwitting” poster child for art games? Really?! After seeing his (interesting) talks with Chris Crawford on YouTube, I think his artsiness is deliberate. Let the fight begin…

    • elderman says:

      I’ll jump in to defend ‘unwitting’ in two ways. On a technicality: the way the sentence is phrased, it’s the game that’s unwitting, which it has to be seeing as it’s an inanimate object. On supposition: Rohrer doesn’t seem like he sets out to be the poster child for anything — he’s not out for glory.

      But I agree that he is who he seems to be as a game maker. The way I’d put it is that his artiness, the way he relates game design to abstract ideas, his intellectual approach, the attempt to make his games ‘meaningful’, all of this is part of a package and not a front or an after-the-fact rationalisation. Given the ascetic way Rohrer lives his life, it’s hard to imagine his attitude as a pose for effect. Here’s a guy who really lives his philosophy.

      Is this the video you were referring to?

    • Big Murray says:

      I think Alec meant unwitting in the sense that the gaming community has elected him as a sort of de facto champion for the cause of arty video games.

  4. kwyjibo says:

    Regarding the Daily Mail. Can we all please tweet at their games guy @talalmusa to review Hotline Miami? It’s not that I want to read his words, but that I want the game played in an office where people are likely to be outraged.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Urgh, can we just ignore that nazi rag and not give it any publicity please

      • Unaco says:

        Impressive. Mention the Daily Mail and we get a Godwin reply within 2 minutes.

        • AndrewC says:

          Well they did support the nazis, so as far as a Godwins goes, its not that bad.

          • Unaco says:

            In the 1930s, yeah. You know who else supported the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s? Germany… like, the entire country. And Italy. And Japan. But we don’t go around throwing the Nazi label at them these days, do we?

            It’s a rag, definitely, and there are multiple deplorable aspects of it as it is published today. But the Ad Hom Godwin stuff doesn’t really help in the effort against it.

          • tomeoftom says:

            Unaco: It’s not a democratic state, and as such ownership doesn’t change every 3-4 years, and if it does it’s not usually swinging between the Left and Right. If anything, the Daily Mail’s probably as far-Right as major Western newspapers get in the world, and I’ll be damned if it’s ideology’s not rooted in racist nationalism. But, yeah, they’re not committing genocides just yet.

          • KDR_11k says:

            Really? People ALWAYS bring up the Nazis when Germany is in the news.

          • Stackler says:

            Rohrer is an amazing guy. His games may not be everyones cup of tea, but well, the gamer equivalent of the Jerry Bruckheimer fanbase has enough of shitty games already, so I’m glad there are guys like Jason for the intelligent gamers.

  5. celozzip says:

    that (missus) is the funniest thing i’ve ever read on this site.

  6. BathroomCitizen says:

    I’ve only played Sleep Is Death. I think that its concept is amazing, but I’m a bit sad because it didn’t spawn the cult following I’d hoped it would get.

    I can’t wait to hear more about this one.

  7. Matt says:

    Diamond Trust of London is ace. Looking forward to this.

    And yeah, those are all real phone numbers from Cuyahoga Falls, OH… who knows if they still belong to the folks listed though.