Peter Gabriel's Multimedia

Review by Orb

There are some musicians that see any kind of interactive effort as an opportunity for another empty-minded vanity piece. Then there are those that see it as an opportunity to broaden their artistic horizons and fiddle around to create something that enhances the work they have already generated. Peter Gabriel, as a performer that has taken his music and transformed it into an interactive thingamabob, is in the latter category.

I know, I tricked you with the technical reference "thingamabob," didn't I? Well, rare is it that any of these CD-ROMs made by musicians is a game, and most all are really just thingamabobs. So these two pieces are that, but really good ones, like some of the others I have previously written about, such as Laurie Anderson's Puppet Motel and the works by the Residents.

It makes sense that Peter Gabriel would go in the direction of this sort of work—he has consistently done music videos that define and set standards for computerized, hypnotic gimmickry that keeps people entertained and the records moving out of the stores.

Explora1: Peter Gabriel's Secret World

Explora, although groundbreaking in its time, is not necessarily a full gaming experience and will be enjoyed best by people who either like Gabriel's music or like oddities that defy specific categorization as far as things that go into the CD-ROM drive. This title does have a small number of puzzles and certainly plenty of things to look at and explore. I don't want to call it a game per se, because the puzzles are very simplistic and really only make the thing more twiddleware and interactive than it would have been otherwise.

This isn't to say that the things found in Explora aren't entertaining, they certainly are. The player gets to explore Gabriel's Real World Studios. In this area, the player is treated to videos of original recording sessions and gets to remix one of Peter Gabriel's songs.

There is a tour of the WOMAD Festival, and in this area the player must solve a puzzle that involves collecting various inventory items. Once these items are retrieved, the player is allowed access to additional parts of the disk, and also some treats are downloaded to the player's hard drive to be used and kept. There is also a section that covers Gabriel's background and history, a very thorough discography that also gives snippets of songs from each period of his life, and a section on Amnesty International, obviously a favorite charity of Gabriel's.

Explora is more of a music magazine featuring the work of Gabriel, and if one goes into it from that viewpoint, the experience is quite enjoyable. Explora also features some interesting packaging in that the box it comes in opens like a book, and included is a full-color book that features artwork by people involved in the project, quotes by them, and detailed info on the various sections on the disk, biographies, and other ephemera, all very nicely packaged.

Eve

Eve, despite being produced in 1996, is really a trip through the 80s, showcasing Gabriel's catchy pop music from that time period. The project was originally started as an interactive songbook, and it evolved as those involved in the project began working with ideas for the interfaces using art from well-known artists combined with Gabriel's music. This is a full-blown adventure game, with environments to explore and things to solve, all wrapped in Gabriel's music.

The game has 80 minutes of video and 45 minutes of music, with four worlds to explore, and 360-degree panoramic scenes in each. The images of the worlds were created with a tremendous number of still photos, and each world features a Gabriel song and the artwork of one of four well-known fine artists, Nils-Udo, Yayoi Kusama, Cathy Monchaux, and Helen Chadwick, which gives each world its own very singular air.

The puzzles themselves are decidedly unpuzzle-like, and very intuitive, allowing the player to look around and click on stuff to see what happens, before the inevitable "aha!" at the end of it all. There's no finite beginning and end and no particular narrative that has to be followed. The overall story is that Adam and Eve have been separated in the Garden of Eden, and Pandora's Box has scattered objects across the four game worlds, and these must be explored and the items located. The overall game goal is to collect and use various bits of video and music, and finding these objects will solve the riddle of "the Relationship between man, women and nature." Whatever. The thing is really just fun as heck to click around in and explore—after all, if they'd really solved this age-old riddle, don't you think they'd be able to get a lot more money for this sucker? The End

The Verdict

The Lowdown

Developer: Real World Multimedia
Publisher: Real World Multimedia
Release Date: 1993 (Explora); 1996 (Eve)

Available for: Macintosh Windows

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Screenshots

Explora1

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Eve

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System Requirements

Low

Where to Find It

Womad Shop (Eve)
£17.99 (inc p+p)


Explora1


Eve

Prices/links current as of 5/23/06
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