A Puzzle Game With Roots in Resnais and Resident Evil

The puzzle game Lorelei and the Laser Eyes opens with the protagonist — a well-dressed woman with the solemnity of a catwalk model — inside a forest where boreal owls roam. Ahead looms a secluded hotel whose secrets include art exhibits, mathematical puzzles and a pettable Labrador.

That mysterious estate, which has its roots in horror games like Resident Evil, is a place shaped as much by its own architecture as by character psychology and surrealism.

In addition to reflections about the medium itself, Lorelei contains traces of postmodern novels and the cinema of the French New Wave. The video game is “like wandering in memories and dreams,” said Simon Flesser, one of the founders of the game’s developer, Simogo.

Simogo has acknowledged an eclectic list of inspirations, including “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” “Twin Peaks: The Return,” The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening and John Fowles’s 1965 novel, “The Magus.”

Other references include the parallel realities in Paul Auster’s fiction and the enigmas of “Last Year at Marienbad,” an Alain Resnais film from the early 1960s in which characters explore palatial spaces and contemplate the past. (The name of the game’s hotel is Letztes Jahr, which is German for “Last Year.”)

The minigames within Lorelei almost included Nim, an ancient combinatorial game that appears in “Last Year at Marienbad.” In the film, memories intrude and elude; interpersonal dynamics shift unpredictably, like Nim’s matchsticks. Yesterday’s pastime is tomorrow’s existential crisis.

Related Articles

Back to top button