The Seventh Door
NES_palette.png

NES Palette.

Outline

Summary

The Seventh Door is an exploration platformer inspired by You Have to Win the Game and urban legends regarding haunted NES cartridges. Players explore an expansive 2D area as they're pursued by a mysterious 'Blue Wraith', with the goal being to find the key and door for each of the game's seven zones. They're aided in this task by objects of power (such as the Hand-of-Glory). The game ends once the player finds the seventh key and uses it to open the titular 'Seventh Door'.

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Player Sprite.

Aesthetic

The Seventh Door is intended to evoke urban legends about haunted video-games such as BEN Drowned, Sonic.EXE, and Pokemon Black. However, rather than relying on jump-scares or gore, The Seventh Door seeks terror through a mixture of verisimilitude, paranoia, and an unspecified but looming threat to the player. The closest approximation of the mood it attempts would be Killswitch, a classic urban legend about a game that can only be beaten once. To achieve this effect, The Seventh Door operates under three contrivances.

Contrivance #1: It's an unlicensed NES game

The game relies on a retro-NES aesthetic (using the classic NES palette with its particular limitations), going so far as to even replicate classic NES glitches (such as palette swaps and sprite flickering). When the game 'boots up', a screen flashes by resembling a diagnostic scroll for a ROM hack. Sound and music are both taken from chiptunes (with some possible exceptions regarding Contrivance #3 — see below). This includes an image implying the existence of box-art for the game.

Contrivance #2: It's been altered

Despite being a 2D exploration platformer, it presents itself as having once been a Metroidvania with an elaborate, lively setting filled with enemies and NPCs. The game contains numerous elements that imply functionality no longer 'present'; examples include a life counter (despite the player's inability to die), shops with greeting dialogue (but no shopkeepers or items to buy), and hints about ways to kill certain enemies (despite no enemies existing). In short, the game appears less like a game and more like a game's "corpse".

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Mock up screenshot.

Contrivance #3: It's haunted

If the game is a corpse, the Wraith is the murderer responsible for it. The Wraith is The Seventh Door's only 'enemy'. Aesthetically, it appears not to 'fit' in the game (drawn in a different style, different palette). No description or reference to it exists "in-game". It cannot be killed, and pursues the player relentlessly. When it catches the player, the game resets. Successive resets will change certain elements of the game (making them appear more sinister, or otherwise confusing the player).

Mechanics

The Seventh Door

Random Notes

  • Crows flying out of the woods (to signify enemy/wraith approach)?
  • Similar movement schema to Friday the 13th (NES)?

Code

Information

Art Assets

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Blank map (20x20).

Screenshots

Inspiration

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