Taphobos is a gaming experience that puts you in a place no one wants to be; a dark, deep and dingy coffin. You’re running out of oxygen and your only hope is someone at the other end of a call, you must guide them to your burial site through voice alone as you find clues dotted around your coffin.
Can you and your partner save your life, only time will tell!
P.S. If you wondering where the name came from its a mash-up of the Greek for tomb, τάφος taphos, and fear φόβος phobos.
Check out the video above for an insight into what its like playing the game. (The game has improved since this!)
How does it work?
The game uses a real life coffin, an Oculus Rift, a PC and some microphones. One player gets in the coffin with the Rift on, together with a headset + microphone. The other player plays on a PC again with mic + headset, this player will play a first person game where they must work with the buried player to uncover where the coffin is and rescue the trapped player before their oxygen runs out. This is all powered by the Unity engine.
This combination allows you to experience what it would be like if you where buried alive with just a phone call to the outside world.
Why was it made?
The original idea for the game came from a 2 day hackathon at the University of Nottingham during a Performance and Games Network workshop. A team involving myself and 4 others, Ida Marie Toft, Mike Kalyn, Andreas Taske and Linda McConnon came up with a coffin experience using an Oculus Rift and, at the time, a cardboard box so you felt uncomfortable and immersed whilst looking around.
This prototype was then taken to GameCity 9 and shown to the public for the first time, many people had a go and we got some great feedback. The potential of the game in research and general terms encouraged me to use it as a basis for a Masters by Research in Computer Science at the University of Lincoln. The research is based on Uncomfortable Gaming Experiences and uses past investigations in the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) to guide the development of the game.
As the game is being developed by just one human alongside Masters research the development is progressing at a slow but steady pace. The aim is to have the game up to feature complete state by the end of the year at which point it will used in various academic studies.
After that there are many possibilities in terms of a wider release and the manufacture of easily portable coffins, there should be news on this later this year!
Where to play Taphobos
Upcoming events to be announced soon!
Where Taphobos has been
- London Anime and Gaming Con 2015, London, UK.
- Leftfield Collection @ EGX Rezzed 2015, London, UK.
- AMAZE Festival 2015, Berlin, Germany.
- two5six Festival, New York, USA.
- British HCI 2015, Lincoln, UK.
- Southampton Gamefest, Southampton, UK.
- CHI Play 2015, London, UK.
- TEXTure Festival, Brisbane, Australia.
- Frequency Festival 2015, Lincoln, UK.
- GameCity 10, Nottingham, UK.
- Zealous X, Shoreditch, London, UK.