Being widely hailed as one of the PC games of the year (warning: there’s a spoiler in the description at the end of that link), the videogame The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (26th Sept 2014) had until now escaped my attention. A weird murder-mystery adventure story, it appears to have sensibly avoided the use of the “Lovecraft, Lovecraft!! LOVECRAFT!!” marketing buzzword, and instead left that for reviewers to decide. The makers say rather that it is… “Inspired by the weird fiction stories and other tales of macabre of the early 20th century”. Be warned that the game is a short one, four-to-six hours apparently, though game geeks often don’t realise how fast they can buzz through games. Those less familiar with PC gaming and its numerous fiddly conventions may take a good few hours longer than that to play. Especially those flummoxed by a non-combat first-person detective puzzler story-game, which is said to offer little hand-holding in terms of game mechanics. As compensation for the relatively short length, it’s a walk-anywhere 3d ‘open world’ in a Vermont / New England -like autumnal landscape named Red Creek Valley…

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“while not strictly a Lovecraft game [it] is one of the best examples of these themes for a long time” — Bleeding Cool.

“Somewhere in-between H.P. Lovecraft and Gone Home” — IGN.

“There’s a wonderful Lovecraftian pay-off for your toiling in the darkness [in one section of the game]” — Eurogamer.

[As with Lovecraft…] “most of that horror is derived from an eerie sense of dread created through [the slow revealing of] the presence of the alien and the weird in an otherwise familiar environment.” — PopMatters.

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