Hey Developers – Where’s My House of Leaves Video Game?By Justin Massoud
This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the publication of the genre (and mind) bending novel, House of Leaves. And yet we’re no closer to a video game based on it. The work seems ripe for video game adaptation, its plot and characters the stuff many developers could only wish to create. At its twisted, haunted heart lies a family drama, but the intriguing premise ripped straight out of a horror story is what would make it work as a game. Inside the titular house is a featureless hallway barren of light, longer on the inside than structurally possible, that seems to continue forever. A group of explorers, including the man of the house Will Navidson, ventures into the abyss. Crazy things happen. People die.
Recent games like Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and Alan Wake have proven developers can deliver atmospheric, tense adventures based on heady psychological themes. House of Leaves’ complex and divergent narrative would lend itself well to a variety of levels and objectives. The player might face one set of objectives while outside the house, and then be tasked with just surviving as they explore the depths of the 5 and 1/2 Minute Hallway. While the novel may not contain that vital aspect of most games (a clearly defined antagonist), in the hands of the right developer the formless yet constant terror within the house’s ethereal darkness could prove the best type of bad guy: an enemy that cannot be seen or touched but is always around, threatening…howling.