A Brief Word on Anachronism

I’m loving these increasingly light mornings and how much easier that makes it to get up early and work on my Bible-teaching adventure game. I’ve been able to tick off another couple of issues since yesterday, leaving the number of remaining puzzles tantalisingly small!

An issue which comes up regularly when devising puzzles is the issue of historical inaccuracy. So many things that we take for granted — glass, books, lemons, doctors — well they just weren’t around in 10th Century B.C. Israel. When it comes to my game, however, I’m fairly relaxed about allowing a certain kind of anachronism. I’m aiming for the kind of fun sense of humour of Monkey Island and other games like it, and I think a little bit of historical nonsense is necessary. However, some of my friends who’ve been helping me out with the puzzle writing process have found my method of deciding what is and isn’t allowed a little arbitrary, so I thought I’d attempt to explain as far as possible here!

I think my style is based loosely on the model adopted by Terry Pratchett in his Discworld fantasy books. They’re vaguely set in a kind of mediaeval parallel universe, and yet the citizens of Discworld have managed to recreate all manner of “modern” technologies using the tools and materials available to them at that time – like a nation-wide telegram system and a highly developed motion picture industry. That’s pretty much the same as what I’ve been aiming for: I’ve tried to minimise or explain away the presence of things that simply wouldn’t have been available to them (bye bye parrot!) but yet I don’t mind introducing quirky adaptations of their contemporary technologies to reproduce more modern phenomenon. I guess the challenge then is how you communicate to the player what things are genuinely in the Bible, and what things you’ve totally made up – but that’s a blog post for another day!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *