Prisoner’s Cinema is a narrative-driven, expressive game being developed by a student team of four at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center. It is a 20-minute, non-linear experience focused on moral choice which is compounded by the protagonist’s insomnia, and is meant to be the “pilot” of a longer, episodic “season” of content.
The game conveys the subjective sensation of living a life subdued by sleeplessness, and we aim to evoke from players an empathetic response. We want players unfamiliar with feelings of alienation to gain an understanding of how an affliction like insomnia can impact the sufferer physically, mentally, and emotionally, and we want players who have experienced or are experiencing the existential, societal ramifications of sickness to understand that they are not alone.
The project is influenced by modern, socially conscious games like Gone Home, Papers, Please, and That Dragon, Cancer, as well as other surreal and iconoclastic media sources, such as the films of David Lynch and the writings of Jean-Paul Sartre.
The use of real video allowed us to get as much emotion across as possible, without the time constraints of typical animation.
Lighting was an important device for conveying the tone of the game.
Download and play the Windows or Mac build of the game HERE.
(Please note that the build represents a vertical slice of a potential gameplay experience, and is not intended to be viewed as a finished, shippable product. Captured here are the exploratory first steps of a much larger experience.)