My kids and I spent the morning on board our ship, the research vessel Caroline, trying to find our way around the waters of The Floating City. I’m the skipper, Captain Bee Whillikers, and I totally don’t know what I’m doing–but I’m having fun.
The Floating City is the brainchild of Thomas Dolby–that’s right, the musician who blinded us with science in the 80s. It’s an interactive transmedia game set in a captivating steampunk world that Dolby describes as “a dystopian vision of the 1940s that might have existed had WWII turned out a lot differently.” You progress in the game by making trades with other ship captains in an effort to complete sets of mysterious items that, once amassed, earn you rewards. There’s an overarching storyline, a knowledge quest in which you and other members of your tribe are trying to figure out where you’ve come from and how you got here.
Besides the supercool nautical-steampunk setting, The Floating City has an intriguing and highly original music component: completing certain tasks unlocks free music downloads and other surprises, including concert tickets. Completion of the first tutorial trade, for example, earns the player an mp3 of “She Blinded Me with Science.” (“I love that song!” gasped my ten-year-old daughter–because, yes, our 80s Hits box set gets a lot of play around here.)
The Floating City trailer, which conjures memories of Myst, offers a glimpse of the backstory.
That gorgeously haunting score–Dolby’s, of course–gives me goosebumps.