This year, thanks to Halloween landing on a Wednesday, we had fewer volunteers than in our previous years. We get many people from out of town coming in to help, and it was just too much for people to take off.
As a result, we had to come up with an attraction in the garage that was true to the previous years' shows, but could be manned by only one or two volunteers.
The end result was an original video game with custom-built controllers. We built a large Victorian window box with a rear-projection screen in it, and projected a video game we wrote onto it. Here are the controllers we created for the game:
- The Palantir of Hades - Filled with water from the river Styx, waving your hands over it generated mystical energy to be used for casting spells.
- The Skull of Rasputin - Lifting the skull off the table and waving it around in front of you (or moving it around on the table like a mouse, which is less fun) allows you to move a targeter on the screen.
- Casting Cards of Marie Laveau - Merely hovering your hand over these cards casts spells into the spirit world.
You can see all these controls, plus the laptop's configuration screen, in the photo above. Here are some screenshots of the gameplay:
Another cool aspect of the game is that it is cooperative. The kids have to work together to save Madame Sarita, because if any of them drop the ball, they cannot cast spells at their enemies.
The fact that you don't touch the Palantir or the Cards really added to the mystical feel of the controls, and the kids seemed to really enjoy it. We had a few technical difficulties with the first couple of teams, but we soon got into a groove that had the game running smoothly for most of the night.
You can see video of the game being played Halloween night
, or, for more discussion on the game, see these blog posts: [/i]Haunted Mansion Interior for Madame Sarita's Spirit Parlour[/i]
, More Progress on Madame Sarita's Spirit Parlour
, Spirit Parlour Game Coming Along Nicely
, and Sneak Peek at Carnival of Souls 2007