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Man With A Moody Camera: Paranormal

I've been festooning RPS Towers with cobwebs and butchers' leavings ever since the announcement of A Machine For Pigs, hoping the decor wouldn't be out of place in a 2012 bursting at the fleshy seams with the grim and the gruesome. After Anna I was left with a hankering for some haunted house horrors and Paranormal looked to be just what the psychologist accidentally ordered. Built in the UDK, Matt Dementous' project is a 'dynamic haunting simulator' that plays out like a rather more active version of Paranormal Activity. You wake, you wander, you film, you scream, you...go back to bed. There's a downloadable beta, although only certain backers of the Kickstarter can play the latest versions.

There seem to be stories linked to some hauntings, which play out sequentially, although there are plenty of randomised bumps and whispers as well. The biggest barrier to brown trousers is the frequency and intensity of the scares. What starts with a whimper very quickly ends with a bang. These aren't the sort of things you could blame on a trick of the light, they're the sort of events that would cause you to move out of the house and have it burnt to the ground from a great distance, the ashes collected in a sanctified bin bag and launched into space. I hope there's more subtlety in versions closer to the final release.

I'm also a little disappointed that the main character is an artist since his home doesn't so much resemble a home as a giant studio, making it a much less familiar-seeming space to be trapped in than a dingy suburban house owned by a bus driver. Of course, you may actually be a sculptor with money to burn, in which case this could well be a perfect recreation of what your life would be like if the walls grew faces and screamed at you.

Time for cautious optimism, I reckon, and the hope that improvements are made before release. The Kickstarter has already been a huge success and maybe that means there'll be more meat on these bones.

Oh yeah, I also tried this right before hearing about Knock-Knock which sounds like it might be the best thing ever.

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Adam Smith

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