Mel Croucher’s going back to the game he made in 1984, and taking it to Kickstarter.
Way back in 1984, former architect Mel Croucher put together a ZX Spectrum title Deus Ex Machina, a multimedia 8-bit mindbender rock opera starring Jon Pertwee – aka Doctor Who – in the lead as Storyteller and Croucher himself as the Defect. Roll on a few decades, and Croucher now wants to take his game to Kickstarter for its sequel, Deus Ex Machina 2. This time out the Storyteller – now Narrator – of the piece is a knight you may remember from any one of a dozen different villainous roles, from Dracula and The Man With The Golden Gun to The Lord of the Rings‘ Saruman: Sir Christopher Lee.
Deus Ex Machina assumes that all life has been wiped out by a computerized defense system. All that’s left is the Machine, but its programming has gone awry thanks to an errant dropping left by the last mouse on earth, just before the poison gas defense system killed it. The now slightly broken Machine therefore sneaks a Defect into the ordered, programmed system, a test-tube baby that, over time, grows into an adult. The game charts its development, using Shakespeare’s Seven Ages of Man as its premise. Nothing else was quite like it; you had to synchronize your cassette tape deck with your Spectrum – yep, you needed a separate system for the game’s music – and press pause on the soundtrack every so often when the on-screen action dictated it. Deus Ex Machina, despite its awards and favorable critical reception, did not sell well back in 1984, but Croucher now hopes his Kickstarter will spark old memories. “Back in the day, we never sold out to banks, advertisers or parasites, we only ever dealt direct with our players,” says Croucher. “Now we can reward them in advance thanks to mechanisms like Kickstarter.”
Croucher’s looking for £64,000 to make his sequel. If this sort of thing intrigues you – or if you just want to hear Sir Christopher intone a Shakespearian crossover about soldiers seeking hi-scores even in the laser’s mouth – head over here, or here, for a look at what Croucher has in mind.