The Commonplace Book Project

By: Derek Yu

On: September 20th, 2007

lovecraft commonplace book project

Lovecraft’s “Commonplace Book” was a notebook in which he jotted down his various ideas, many of them disjointed and cryptic; most of these musings never became real stories. The Commonplace Book Project is a collection of text adventures (interactive fiction games) which are based on these notes. Great idea!

I’ve only tried out one so far: Ecdysis. It’s based on the note “insects or other entities from space attack and penetrate a man’s head.” Good one, right? Well, without spoiling anything, this game is a great mindfuck and does a more-than-competent job of capturing what’s great about Lovecraft’s stories: the feeling of overwhelming dread. It comes as a playable executable and is good for newcomers to IF.

I always thought it was funny that Bethesda made (correction: produced) an FPS out of H.P. Lovecraft. What’s next? Vin Diesel as Cthulhu, riding a motorcycle out of R’lyeh as it explodes behind him? Directed by Michael Bay? Okay, that actually does sound appealing in its own way.

(Source: The Random Gnome’s Lair)

  • Lorne Whiting

    No man, NO.
    Ron Perlman is THE guy, if you want someone wearing a heavy costume.

  • Advenith

    Wow, H.P. Lovecraft-inspired games the original writer might have actually enjoyed. He hated games, for some reason.

  • nullerator

    Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the World was a brilliant game, btw. It was a bit like Penumbra: Overture, an adventure game with a first person viewpoint. There was shooting (quite a lot at some points), but it still feels almost unfair to call it an FPS. I think it’s one of the most successful horror games of all time.

    Anyway, on the topic of these games, I’ll probably give them a try. I used to be a big fan of IF, and know how some of these games can really mess with your head when you’re playing.

  • Mike

    >”I always thought it was funny that Bethesda made a FPS out of H.P. Lovecraft.”

    Actually, it was created and designed by a studio known as “Headfirst”:
    And was pretty good, but not really good enough.
    But I could complain about it all day… So I’ll stop now.

    I’ll definately be giving The Commonplace Book Project a look. :)

  • Quiest

    Why do people dislike Micheal Bay? He has made some pretty good movies.

    Uwe Boll would be perfect to shoot a movie like you described :P

  • Golds

    what about Alone in the Dark!?

  • Pacian

    I love how Ecdysis uses the TADS links so much. It initiates the unfamiliar, and also stops you from having to type the obvious. Open cabinet, take pills, eat pills: click, click click…

    I’m surprised I’ve never seen a shortish IF game use them to this extent before.

  • ugh

    Bethesda didn’t make anything, they produced it…err err…financed it.

  • EvilASh

    Guys who did Simon the Sorceror as Adventuresoft & Elvira as horrorsoft did The Call of Chtulhu…
    And I think it’s the best Lovecraft game since Alone in the Dark. It kicks major ass!

  • Advenith

    Man, I liked the way Ecdysis was written, but it’s way too short. That, or I missed something. It doesn’t help that about five seconds from the “creepier” ending I immediately realized what it would be.

  • gnome

    It’s lovely not being alone in appreciating such beautiful offering! Cheers!

  • Chris

    Derek: Have you played Call of Cthulu?

  • Melly

    Golds: Alone in the Dark, directed by Uwe Boll, is certainly, without a doubt, the greatest crime against videogames of all time. It’s… it killed me inside. Don’t watch it. Just don’t.

    I gotta lie down. And die.

  • Derek

    Chris, I haven’t played it, but I did hear it was pretty good! I’d love to play it.

    I just find the idea inherently funny, somehow.

  • Quiest

    Yeah, Uwe Boll sucks.

    But I still have to watch the Postal movie.

    AITD is a Lovecraft game?! Sweet, I played through the first two back then, omg where they frickin hard.

    Never watched the movie tho, but as its a Boll(ocks) movie, I guessed it kills people.

  • Joe Joe

    So, I screwed up The Cellar. After I was told the third part of the story, I was asked if I wanted to hear more, I said “Yes” and then I heard the second part of the story again. When I went on the fetch quest for a second time, the item I wanted wasn’t there, so the game became un-playable.

    It’s a shame, I was really getting into it too.

  • Tet

    Is Ecdysis really this short? Seems like a nice game, but I can only find the 2 endings… :