Creator Spotlight: 5 Questions with Steven, creator of Blood on the Clocktower

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Blood on the Clocktower is an exciting murder-mystery bluffing game with plenty of intricate elements that makes for quite the immersive experience. Today we catch up with the game’s creator, Steven Medway.

What are you playing/reading/watching right now? I am reading serious science fiction, if I can find it. Or silly fantasy, just for fun. So, one week will be The Quantum Thief, by Hannu Rajaniemi, the next will be Going Postal, by Terry Pratchet. I keep trying, and occasionally succeed, in getting through a Haruki Murakami novel, but it’s tough going.

I am playing old-school Battletech, and the occasional game of Mysterium.Battletech is hardcore, terribly, awesome, mind-bendingly baffling and a
tonne of fun if you don’t mind a house rule or two. Mysterium is great for all ages and all levels of involvement. Oh – and Blood On The Clocktower, of course! I really enjoy playing my own games, which is a good sign.

As for watching – I don’t have a TV, so I have zero clue what is even on
the menu. My viewing habits include 80s films, and waaaaaaay too much Super
Mario Maker youtube videos. I’m really into “Ryukahr”, who plays Mario on
Super Expert mode, and dies again and again and again and loves it. Say
goodbye to about 50 hours per month if you look it up!

Who or what is Blood on the Clocktower? Why is it important? Blood On The Clocktower is a supernatural murder-mystery game, set in Ravenswood Bluff – a sleepy town a long time ago, where a Demon is on the loose, killing by night, and taking on human form by day. It is a hidden-identity game, where some players are good, some players evil. Each player has a unique role, and gets some type of information, which makes it a puzzle game on the one hand, and a bluffing game on the other. There is a massive amount of information that the good team can use to find, and kill, the Demon, but some of that information is wrong – players who are drunk or poisoned get false information to lead them astray.

It is important because it is more than a board game. It is a social
gathering, a genuine battle of wits for players, and a fantastically fun
and engaging social experience. Since the game is based around talking,
teams, and logic, the level of engagement is intense. Various design
decisions have been made to push the game into areas beyond what a
table-top game usually sticks to, which makes it more like a roleplaying
game, or a genuine live-action mystery-novel that is being created, and
solved, in real time. Players can join in if they turn up late, or have
special needs. Every game is wildly different. To me, and many of the
players, Clocktower is an entirely unique experience, and one that actively
grows a community around it. People want to get together to have fun, face
to face, with other people, and Clocktower cultivates a party-like
atmosphere and facilitates the growth of human relationships, whilst also
being a fun activity in itself. That is something important to me, and to
many others, but I dig it if that is not what it important to you.

Apart from your game what should everyone be looking out for in local
Australian Pop Culture? I don’t think I have a great answer to this question. What people should be looking for depends entirely on their tastes. I will recommend though, that the best things are those that you need to dig to find. A lot of mainstream
Australian pop culture is mainstream American or Japanese pop culture. If
that’s your bag, more power to you. But if you would like to find things
that are unique, that push the boundaries, and particularly those things
that engage you on a personal level, I would look locally, and underground.
When you have a link to the creator, you can make your own fun. In a way,
this is how Dungeons and Dragons got popular. For example, I saw one of the
best films I’ve ever experienced recently – a Zombie survival / drama film
set in the Australian outback, called “Cargo” – because I was talking with
the director, and would have missed it completely if I didn’t. My local
gaming club in Sydney – Exiles Gaming Club – is a non-profit, loose
collaboration of roleplayers and wargamers who just decided to hire a
warehouse space to set up some tables and game. It is not a shop, and won’t
appear on your google search, but is seriously the best place to meet and
engage others in the hobby in the local area. If you want to find what is
best, I’d recommend ignoring posters on buses, and asking that weird friend
with even weirder tastes what they recommend, and go from there.

Major prediction for Pop Culture 12 months from now? I’m pretty clueless about pop-culture in general, as I’m a bit of a hermit. If I was a gambling man, I’d say that the film and animation industries will continue to merge the science fiction and action genres, as the popular consciousness seems to be in a phase of exploring the ubermensch
idea in all forms. Older science fiction and fantasy was based more around
exploring new ideas of philosophies, systems, and things, whereas modern
science fiction seems to be going in the direction of exploring what people
can be.

As for the gaming industry, I think we’ll see a huge push towards
accessibility. Digital games are exploding in number, and physical games
are getting easier and easier to produce. In order to tell which games are
good and which games are not, people will want more and more the “5 minute
version”, so that they can get a taste and move on. Whilst movies have
trailers, which give a good indication of what type of film it is, games
don’t really have that, since the fundamental experience of a game is it’s
interactivity, not it’s theme. I think we’ll see a lot of games being made
simpler and easier to experience, with no background knowledge on the
player’s part. This will have the upside of more people being able to try
all sorts of games before they commit to something, and will also open up
the market to traditionally non-gamer types. The downside will be that
there will be a lot of pressure on complex games to be culled to the point
of over-simplification, just to meet the marketing requirement of being
able to be showcased in 5 to 10 minutes. Established, recognisable games
will be able to afford to offer larger, more nuanced meals, but the new and
unknown will need to be bite-sized.

Best last thing you ate? A chilli hot chocolate from my local gelato parlor – Cow And The Moon Gelateria, in Newtown, Sydney. Some naysayers may make the argument that a hot chocolate is not a meal, and they would be dead wrong. Not only is it a meal, it is THE nutritious breakfast for the modern gentleman.

And that’s 5! Blood on the Clocktower will be releasing in 2019, with a planned round of crowdfunding soon. But you don’t have to wait that long to check the game out. You can head over to their website to find out more about the game, and the facebook page has details about the regular preview games happening in Sydney (or elsewhere in the world).