by Marcus Mulkins
previewed on PC
Wanna See My Vacation Photos?
Say you wanted to show the world just how quaint and photogenic your hometown is, and as much of the town's rich history as possible. So you grab your trusty Nikon or Polaroid and simply walked through every nook and cranny of the town, investigating absolutely every alleyway, backstreet, boutique, pub, inn, B & B, theater, ice cream parlor, knicknack shop, museum, art gallery -- everything, all the while snapping photos by the hundreds.
Now, the tough part: getting people to actually look at those thousands of photos. I know! Let's put them into a computer game! Just make the plot take the character through as many locations as possible and they'll indirectly have taken a virtual tour of the place.
That's pretty much all there is to Anacapri – The Dream, not exactly a sequel to A Quiet Weekend in Capri, more like a “spiritual successor”. Father-and-son team Gey (a computer chip designer) and Silvio (an electrical engineer working on his Ph.D in California) Savarese designed a virtual tour of the island. [The fact that they originated in Italy might have had something to do with the choice of setting.] Silvio has been designing games since he was an adolescent, creating text-based games like Interplay used to put out, such as Hitchhikers' Guide to the Universe. Papa Savarese has been a life-long Science Fiction fan. Between these two obsessions came the idea to create a game that provided both kinds of experiences. When they first approached the Capri Municipality Chamber, there was some initial hesitation. After all, Capri doesn't exactly have to advertise; everyone simply knows about the place. But after being assured that "game" did not necessitate shootings, killings, bombings, maiming, etc. and all the other things so often associated with video games, the Chamber finally gave the green light. For those that have been to the island, they will tell you that as breathtakingly beautiful the pictures are, the real thing is soooooo much more beautiful. And that's the whole point underlying the project, really: See pretty pictures. Be taken by the beauty and charm. Take yourself there for real. (And bring your well-stocked wallet, please.) Can you think of a nicer gift to bring to someplace you really, really, really love? Praise, tribute, and an improved economy! All in one fell swoop.
The plot thickens, sort of – more than broth, but much less than stew
All that you know at the start of the game is that you are Nico Fredi, supposedly an expert on ancient civilizations. You have been invited (more like implored) to visit the island in order to locate a mysterious ancient object known only as The Dark (or Black) Obsidian Disk. (There should be background dark, ominous, oppressive music every time the disk is mentioned.) Nowhere is it ever mentioned just what is so ominous about the disk, only that it scares the bejeezus out of the island natives who are currently fleeing the island in droves. [Now. Not 10 years ago. Not 100 years ago. Not 1,000 years ago. It’s an ancient object that has resided on the island for time immemorial about which seemingly no one has a clue about what it does or where it is, but everyone knows to be afraid of it. Now. Go figure.]