Chronomaster

Tagged: Game

Videogame (1995). DreamForge Entertainment. Designed by Roger Zelazny, Jane Lindskold. Platforms: DOS.

The graphical Adventure game Chronomaster was Roger Zelazny's last work. In a future galactic civilization, the creation of privately owned Pocket Universes has become a hobby for the immortal rich. The player adopts the persona of the eponymous Rene Korda, a famous designer of such works lured out of retirement by a mystery: several of these toy realities have been frozen in time by an unknown saboteur. Each universe can be repaired by finding its hidden world key and resetting it, a task performed with the assistance of "bottled time" – a substance which brings people and objects to life as the player approaches them. The universes are arguably the most important characters in the game; each is configured to suit the personality of its owner, having a unique theme and (often fantastic) set of physical laws. In one world, belonging to a woman who founded a philosophical movement similar to Dadaism, ice burns, pigs fly, and nonsense rules. Other realities are dedicated to War, to hedonism and to the reenactment of the Arabian Nights. This conceit works well as the basis for an Adventure game, allowing for the creation of a variety of difficult and interesting puzzles based on exotic forms of logic and Physics, many of which have multiple solutions. Unfortunately, the game's interface can be awkward to use, and character deaths sometimes seem arbitrary. Nevertheless, Chronomaster succeeds as an evocative journey through a series of remarkable and disconcerting landscapes.

Related works: Roger Zelazny and Jane Lindskold's Chronomaster: A Novel (1996) is a novelization, written by Jane Lindskold. [NT]

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