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We Played A Mystery Game While Trapped In A Coffin

The Alt.Ctrl.GDC exhibit at Game Developers Conference shows off a selection of games that use wild, weird, sometimes gigantic control schemes. Nathan Grayson and I took a tour of the booth this week, which all culminated in me getting inside an actual coffin. Well, an IKEA dresser on its side painted black. But still.


You can watch our antics in the video above. Here’s what we checked out:

Vaccination: One player scans a video screen for viruses inside a patient’s body; the other uses a plastic syringe to inject “vaccines” (represented by LED lights) into a colorfully-painted wooden patient.


Clunker Junker: A first-person spaceship game in which players attempt to get through an asteroid belt to reach Earth. Only problem: when the asteroids smash into your ship, your controller falls apart in real life, and you have to use hand-cranked power motors to put it back together by way of electromagnets.

Grave Call: One player is trapped in a coffin, with a cell phone with limited battery. The other player is a 911 operator, with a computer system that can send cars and helicopters to find the player who’s been “buried alive.” The player in the coffin has to search through the cell phone and find information about their whereabouts, which they have to relay to the other player. (Whenever I told others at GDC about this game, their reaction was universally “Ha, ha, ha, no thank you.” I don’t get it! I just really enjoyed getting to lay down on a mattress for a while.)

Features Editor, Kotaku. Japanese curry aficionado. Author of the books Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life and Final Fantasy V from Boss Fight Books.

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Fuck no. I’m so claustrophobic, I want to be cremated when I die.