Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Icarus Needs

by Daniel Merlin Goodbrey

Daniel Merlin Goodbrey

Icarus Needs is a hypercomic adventure game in which the game's protagonist—struggling cartoonist Icarus Creeps—has fallen asleep playing video games and become trapped inside a surreal, metafictional dreamworld. The intent with Icarus was to create a hybrid of comics and video games—something that both reads like a comic and plays like an adventure game (or interactive fiction).

The work was created as part of my current practice-lead doctoral study into the impact of digital mediation on the comics form. My specific goal with Icarus was to create a simulated world that the player could explore, interrogate, and solve via the medium of the comics. Unlike a normal comic, the narrative is not laid out in advance for the reader to read through and absorb but instead is created via the player's exploration and interaction with the comics-mediated world presented in the game.

Daniel Merlin Goodbrey is a senior lecturer in Narrative and Interaction Design at the University of Hertfordshire in England. A prolific and innovative comic creator, his hypercomic work received the International Clickburg Webcomic Award in Holland in 2006, while his work in print was awarded with the Isotope Award for Excellence in Comics in San Francisco in 2005. His smartphone app, A Duck Has An Adventure was shortlisted in the 2012 New Media Writing Prize.