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The Gothic Revival: Off The Map

Dracula and Poe walk into an abbey...

The Off The Map competition is my favourite part of GameCity. Admittedly, I might enjoy the actual event if I ever managed to drag my self to Nottingham while it was happening, but the delights that Off The Map produces would still be fairly high in the rankings. The competition "challenges higher education students based in the UK to create gaming software inspired by the British Library’s collections." CryEngine is the weapon of choice. This year, the library's collection of gothic literature was the focus. No, not the Robert Smith/The Crow slash fiction you left tucked between the pages of Fifty Shades of Grey - we're talking sunken abbeys, old Poe-face himself and Whitby.

All three of the top-placed entries are extraordinarily beautiful creations. The winner is a recreation of Vathek author William Beckford's grand folly, Fonthill Abbey. Members of the RPS Supporter Program, articulate and handsome creatures that they are, will know that the ability of games to recreate lost places is close to my own heart.

this is not a recreation of a real place

Fonthill Abbey's reconstruction was undertaken by a team of three students from the University of South Wales and the history of the structure and its destruction are seen through the lens of a sunken world. The completed game - and game it is, with puzzles and all - will be available soon but for now you can plant your peepers on the video below.

A team going by the name The Flying Buttress from De Montfort University also made it into the final three with their take on Whitby Abbey, which has been reconstructed in gothic splendour, in honour of its connections with the Count. The results, as seen in the video below, are impressive.

Rounding out the podium is Beneath the Crimson Moon, which isn't based on a specific location but instead takes its cues from Poe's The Masque Of The Red Death. You can download that one right now if you like the look of this here video.

Next up - tourism an urban exploration jam.

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About the Author

Adam Smith

Former Deputy Editor

Adam wrote for Rock Paper Shotgun between 2011-2018, rising through the ranks to become its Deputy Editor. He now works at Larian Studios on Baldur's Gate 3.