One of my favourite books is Atlas of Remote Islands, Judith Schalansky’s study of “fifty islands I have not visited and never will.” Each spread has a clean hand-drawn map on one page and a story about the island opposite. Some of the stories tell local myths, some are factual, but all are treated with the same significance. The result is a book filled with beautiful, often haunting stories of mutinies and shipwrecks, Soviet listening stations, unknown diseases, and dangerous expeditions to the edges of the world.
The Curious Expedition seems considerably lighter in tone, less filled with sehnsucht for lives not lived, but it does spark in this brief trailer below some similar sense of adventure, of visiting far away lands, of probably unintentionally destroying those far away lands. I am looking forward to this videogame – a “roguelike expedition simulation set in the 19th century.”
To properly mimic the feeling of stumbling upon uncharted places, Curious Expedition is procedurally generated. You travel across a worldmap with your party of historical explorers and scientists and make decisions in your encounters with native tribes. Those explorers – the likes of Nikola Tesla, Mary Kingsley and Levi Herzfeld – each have special abilities which will help you in your dealings. For example, I’m pretty sure Tesla has electric weaponry, which seems useful since the game also features dinosaurs. Marie Curie apparently has an “X-Ray gun”, which likely won’t end well.
Curious Expedition is being made by two people is apparently due to launch an alpha sometime this year according to its development blog. Yes, the first paragraph of this post was barely relevant to the game but I wanted to tell you about a book I like.