Social media and entertainment define us and the times in which we live. Silverstring's latest project Book of the Dead seeks to explore how we consume this content -- and it consumes us. A "digital triptych," Book of the Dead is a 3-part project about a dead and forgotten social network. Part 1 will release August 4th at http://silverstring.itch.io/dustydead, available for free; a $5 donation also gets you the "90's Toon Channel's Dusty Dead Adventures Theme Song".
Book of the Dead is the second major release from Silverstring Media after last year's critically-acclaimed Glitchhikers. The triptych is about our relationship with content consumption and how internet culture grows, is shared and consumed, creates conflict, and ultimately dies.
The project begins with the Viral Dusty Dead Identity Quiz. Players answer a series of surreal questions to find out "which character they are" in a popular media franchise, as the quiz itself decays unnervingly around them. Just like the fragile structures that support their contemporary lifestyle. Then they reach the final stop, sharing the content virally to thousands of their closest friends.
But the franchise itself isn't actually real. "Among other things, we wanted to explore the relationship between media and fandom, the ownership fans have, but we couldn't do it with an actual franchise," says Silverstring partner and head writer Lucas J.W. Johnson. "So we constructed this concept of a franchise that doesn't actually exist -- in our world, The Dusty Dead has a long history going back to the 70's, with all the highs and lows that come with that." As the first part of the larger project, Viral Dusty Dead Identity Quiz will introduce players to that franchise, while also satirizing corporate viral content.
Development of the project has taken some turns, as social media itself was in turmoil. "We started designing the concept for Book of the Dead a year ago," says Silverstring partner and lead designer Claris Cyarron, "and then GamerGate hit. We -- a tiny studio -- were inexplicably pegged as shadowy corporate overlords pulling the strings of all gaming journalism. Even so, we escaped the worst of it. Always a double-edged sword, social media took on a more directly sinister aspect as we watched our friends and colleagues get harassed out of the industry and their homes. Book of the Dead's design had to adapt to reflect this recent history and, for many, new reality."
Silverstring Media has become known for its experimental games, from last year's Glitchhikers to the host of smaller experiments on their site in multiple types of media, and Book of the Dead is no different.
Viral Dusty Dead Identity Quiz will be released on August 4th, with the rest of the project to be announced. You can view the trailer and sign up for the latest news about the project at http://dustydead.com/