Published on May 17th, 2013 | by Fraser Brown2
The surrealist world of Tangiers
Browsing the tubes of the internet in the wee hours of the morning, I came across something rather intriguing: Tangiers. Described by developer Andalusian as a surrealist stealth game, my interest was immediately piqued. The trailer — which you can find below — is quietly disturbing and alien, and it has done far more to sell me on the title than hours of exposition.
The likes of surrealist painter Man Ray, industrial music founders Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire, and novelists William Burroughs and J. G. Ballard are noted as inspirations for the game; it explores the abstract realm of 20th Century avant-garde art. It’s bizarre and experimental, and I’m extremely eager to dive in when it launches next year.
Gameplay-wise Tangiers blends stealth and exploration, taking aspects from the Thief series and placing them in a surrealist dystopia. The mundane, such as setting traps, hiding in the shadows and murdering from behind is combined with the abstract, using snippets of conversations to distract people by throwing the tangible words down a street. Giving conversations a physical presence and turning them into tools might be one of the most fascinating mechanics I’ve seen in an age.
The world is open for exploration; a non-linear experience where anything can be attempted in an order the player sees fit. It’s a space that is affected by player interactions, and will become distorted and mutated if the player acts in a chaotic manner.
Only a couple of days ago I was chatting with Andy about my love of disquieting horror surrealism, it’s something we’re trying to inject into our current adventure game project, so it’s serendipitous that Tangiers should come along. Its inspirations are diverse, yet all before their time, giving life to countless works after them.
The setting, interactions, narrative and appearance are a culmination of numerous influences – The Swiss and Berlin DADA movements, the theatrical theory of Antonin Artaud… the grotesque and cut-up narrative of Burroughs, the urban, social dystopic of Ballard… and to the soundscapes of Oophoi and Lustmord, the performance art influenced music of Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire… amongst others and their peers.
Tangiers is absent a website at the moment, hence my linking of the Facebook page, but apparently Andalusia will be launching a site in the next 24 hours along with a dev log discussing the game and some of the feedback it’s received. I’ll update the post accordingly once it goes live.