Slave of God is a new, free game from Stephen Lavelle, aka Increpare, he of English Country Tune. It is a game about visiting a nightlcub, with all the attendant music, magic and horror. Young Cara paid it a visit.
The first thing I wanted to do to Stephen Lavelle after finishing his game Slave of God was grasp his LCD-bleached face and kiss him passionately on the lips. By the time I had finished Slave of God, I felt drunk, high and in love. No alcohol had passed my lips, no drug had been near me, and no man had made bodily contact with me since Tuesday when a fat balding airport security man had patted me down with the vigour of someone who is saving this for the wank bank later.
No, Stephen Lavelle made me drunk, high and in love merely by the power of his interactive environment. Isn’t that neat? On my planet that makes him Superman.
Slave of God is a nightclub experience in a tin. You open it up and it drops you, already tipsy and woozy from drugs, at the entrance to the most psychedelic club night you’ve been to (seizure warning - do not go near this if you are photosensitive in any way). The best thing about this whole game is that even before you begin you remember that night. You remember it. It is instant deja vu. Paralytic under the lights, so minced off your pus the world slowed for you, the lights bulged for you, the opposite sex were staring at you, the music liquid through your skin into the sexy, velvety part of your brain whilst the drink you are sure you bought two seconds ago is gone and now all you can do is go and get another one and get sexier and sexier. And the lights were the thing, weren’t they? And the music, the vibrations and bass you held out your hands to touch.
Behind you, two burly bouncers look at you sternly, and in front of you your friend drifts off into the distance, the horny wanker, leaving you to fend for yourself and he knows you are never going to leave with someone here because you’re shit at dancing and people in clubs don’t want to talk about the works of D.H. Lawrence because - YOU CAN’T HEAR A FUCKING THING. CAN YOU HEAR ME? I SAID I REALLY LIKE THAT ONE ABOUT THE TORTOISE ORGASMING. YES.TORTOISE. ORGASMING.
Oh fuck it I’m getting a drink.
They aren’t serving here. It is a no service area.
The dancefloor pulsates towards you, intense, expanding outwards like a fluorescent rug that stings the eyes. When you reach it the music seems to reach its zenith and you almost forget that there is anything else to do but move. A Boy moves in the centre of the floor like some smouldering anakim and you try to drift away from him in case he notices that you are dancing like Napoleon Dynamite. But you are aware of him at all times. He is a blip on a radar screen that you are pretending not to notice.
Slave of God is wonderful at capturing the way music muffles and meanders in the brain when you are drunk under flashing lights; it’s a sort of little prayer to a one-off experience, something halfway from a nightmare to a delirious hallucination in the mind of someone who has been abandoned. The music weaves in and out and changes to adapt your environment down corridors and by the DJ stand. Better still, Slave of God’s eye-searing art stylings are angular bright primary colours, burning themselves onto the back of your pupils like laser on camera film. Your view, controlled by your mouse hand, is constructed so that it gives a lazy fisheye vision that could only ask you to feel inebriated. Things pulse and flicker and the dancers on the dancefloor strobe oblivious. If you’ve ever been to a drum ‘n’ bass night in Tokyo’s club Womb, this is what it looks like. (Like the mythical last level of Tetris, or something.)
Time to pee. Where’s the bog in this joint? How do you even get off the dancefloor? Is that even possible? You are lost. You can’t see anything. Ugh where are you? Mike is off with that girl and you haven’t got anyone. You are the fucking George Osbourne of the fucking dancefloor. You drift over to a boy with a drink but he just stares at you, empty-eyed. He’s... He’s probably got a girlfriend, I bet she’s one of those effortless chicks with the asymmetric haircuts who occasionally sings badly in a band.
You find the corridor that you assume leads to the toilets but it is a dead end. This always happens to you. You backtrack and take another corridor. The music echoes tinny past your ears, muted and pleasant but there is that low-level nausea and self-loathing creeping up on you as you realise that you are awful and your entire life is a pretense that you are cool enough to be here and that beautiful boy that seemed taller than the entire dancefloor will never look at you and you will have to drink a lot to avoid thinking about Mike’s smug face tomorrow at hangover AM in the flat for sure.
You can’t get into the ladies’ toilets. TYPICAL. Men’s it is. Just don’t look. Everyone will hate you if you look.
Are you peeing or throwing up?
Oh RPS, I found the magic bartender and I... oh god I did horrible things. No. You don’t understand. I drank and I drank and I did awful things. But I did everything and nothing and He was there and I fell in love with the Boy and he was the only thing there it was like the music was changing and morphing and...
Last night was awful, RPS. I was in love but... I did terrible things. I woke up this morning feeling guilt and dehydration and...
I guess I was just hallucinating. But the music, the music and the Boy were wonderful. You have to go to that club. You have to go to that club. I’ll take you. I won’t abandon you. I promise.
Unless He's there. If He's there you can buy your own drinks.
Slave of God is free, very short and totally worth challenging yourself to get to sunrise, and you can pick it up from here. The settings window is entitled “Dancefloor Configuration”, sadly there is no Saturday Night Fever option.