Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Bad Mojo: that other Kafka game

Bad Mojo hit the shelves in 1996. Karen and I, sick puppies that we were, instantly got hooked. There's just something unspeakably special about pretending to be Gregor Samsa, you know? Yup, that's the premise: you've been magically transformed into a cockroach (by the ghost of your dead mother, no less) and you must navigate through an ultra-grungy apartment complex to learn the secrets of your existence. You must unravel your own personal mystery to become human yet again. Despite the superficial resemblance to "The Metamorphosis," precious little in Bad Mojo invokes the words or themes of Kafka. A Berkeley research associate rips off his lab and plans on driving to Mexico with the loot. Before he can make his getaway, his mother's locket transforms him into a cockroach. Ultimately, Bad Mojo becomes a story of redemption, one that probably would not have sat well with Kafka. Hmm. Perhaps I'm wrong. Ever read "In the Penal Colony"? It's an unpleasant, nasty, violent tale of punishment and redemption. I hated it when I read it in high school, but it has stuck with me over the years. Can't say the same for Don Quixote. Bad Mojo has been re-released as Bad Mojo Redux (that link will take you to the video trailer, too), with more than a few extras: A bonus DVD packs in a couple hours' worth of extras, including a fascinating making-of documentary (with audition scenes and refreshingly honest creator interviews); developer commentary on the game's FMV movies; concept art and storyboards; and video hints for solving the puzzles. I'm not enough of a fanboy to pick up the Redux, but I've replayed it a few times, and if they release Bad Mojo 2, I'm buying. D.