Just, why? Why would you do this, James Brown, lead dev on Taphobos [official site]? The whole of human creation ready to be explored in new, virtual worlds and you choose to trap people in an actual coffin and wrap an Oculus to their eyeholes? That's just cruel. And, of course, genius. The game part comes in when a friend/colleague/new enemy must try to find you before your air runs out, with you directing them via phone call, using clues buried with you.
Obviously this requires quite a lot of set up so it's a con-only game for now. It first debuted at GameCity 9 last year and will be part of the Leftfield Collection at Rezzed this week. That suggests people will actually do this willingly. What is wrong with you?
Speaking on his desire to recreate Tarantino's secret best work, James had this to say:
“This combination allows you to experience what it would be like if you were actually being buried alive with just a phone call to the outside world. One player gets in the coffin wearing an Oculus Rift, while the other player plays a First Person game; both using headsets to communicate. They must work together to uncover where the coffin is and rescue the trapped player before their oxygen runs out.
Exhibiting at EGX Rezzed will be immensely helpful with regard to the gathering of data for my research. I want to find out how different players cope with the experience of being in a coffin and if they do not wish to get inside, why that is. This will hopefully lead to conference papers and an eventual release of the game to the public.
It's forming part of his masters in uncomfortable gaming experiences. I do wonder if a two player route is the best to go down with something like this. The just one phone call dynamic is a good one, but it's at the cost of the fear and lonliness being buried alive would create. Everything's fun with friends, see, and a panicked one-person escape may have better created that uncomfortable feeling. Maybe it's too far the other way though, and would probably move some people from, "Haha, okay I'll try this," to a flat out no.