Thursday, September 29, 2011

After Hours

I've been looking forward to making this post, but it's only now that I have anything interesting to show. Ladies and gentlemen, I am slowly but surely building Hypnophobia as we speak and I am doing everything in my power to ensure that it's at least 20% more abstract then Insomnia. But don't take my word for it, let the pictures speak for themselves:

The Paranoia Zone is deadly, but fair. If one manages to avoid stupid mistakes they could find the dream-world to be surprisingly hospitable. However, if one insists on plowing through walls in their truck without considering the consequences Paranoia will make them pay the price.

It was only after I made this that I realized the lasers look like an inverted cross. While offending people's religious sentiments or drawing unneeded parallels to black metal were never my intention, I'm keeping it. It's a reflection of my subconscious that's integral to the work at hand, it must be preserved, in the spirit of Dali's psychoanalytic period.

This is the only photo-graphic evidence of the super-secret new area, more on this later.


One thing that I love hearing is people's interpretations of the maps perceived themes and backstory. I saw this one Polish website that did a article on horror-themed maps including Paranoia and they were convinced that the chairs represent hospitalization and psychosis.

For the most part, people think the maps take place between Half-Life 1 and 2, apparently Paranoia is the stasis that the G-Man left Gordon Freeman in between games. Others think it's a nightmare Gordon's having. I don't think these interpretations are bad, I just never thought of the maps being particularly well connected to the Half-Life mythos. I've actually tried to avoid having NPC's refer to the player as Freeman, but that's almost impossible.

Few of my peers know it, but I actually have a pretty extensive backstory for the maps already, involving Swedish-American's kidnapped from airports among other things. I have several notebooks full of possible explanations for what's going on, none of which agree with each other.

Given the surreal setting, I think it would be unfair to claim any one interpretation is correct, especially at the expense of another. For this reason, it is now official that any and all explanations, theories or fan fiction of the maps is official canon, including (and especially) those that contradict each other.

With that said, here's some of the explanations I've come up with:

  • Paranoia is actually an inter-dimensional vehicle of immense size, similar to the TARDIS. It's crashed and it's malfunctioning navigation equipment is kidnapping people from across all of time and space.
  • It's actually a sentient Universe that seeks to consume all of reality and turn space-time into more of itself.
  • The player is crazy and is having a hallucination.
  • It's the domain of a race of telepathic chairs that aspire to conquer the galaxy.
  • It's a "dimensional-intersection" where several alternate realities collide, often violently.
  • Paranoia is a giant super-computer, built to calculate a way to extract free energy from the quantum foam, ultimately averting the universal heat death.
While I said that every interpretation can be correct, I will make an exception for the people who say it's based on Inception because. That. Is. Wrong. My maps came out first and I refuse to be shackled to some movie just because it's popular.

So no, I am not going to make a map called Inception.


Feel free to share your theories in the comments, because if there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that the world doesn't need another Twin Peaks.


Chanel said...

I'd like to think that Paranoia is just some awful place the player stumbled upon, but since there's zombies he wasn't the first one, and after a while the player goes so insane they turn into zombiiiiies.

Morris169 said...

As people have seen from Escaping the Paranoia, one explanation could be that there is a war going on in some unknown world between humans and the Combine and the player is caught in the middle of it. The abstract segments are the effects of rifts through different dimensions as the result of said war and the player activating the machine in the first map.

Anonymous said...

The race of chairs is a good idea.

But, the photographic evidence of the secret area is a lot like Insomnia, no?

Shadgrimgrvy said...

Perhaps! You can be the judge of that soon enough.

heavonbound said...

Something I thought up of at random after reading Morris169's comment was that the Combine were trying a weapon that efficiently harvested all the "logic" (to say) of the earth in order to make a death-trap for humans. Notice the path from the beginning of Paranoia to the end of Hypnophobia. The first stage of Paranoia is not warped to any extent, however Hypnophobia is generally entirely morphed. The player is trying to escape the impact zone of this weapon, but is only going deeper into the belly of the beast.

Shadgrimgrvy said...

I like it! That's actually a really good explanation.

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