Despite being a fairly technology-driven person, eBooks are the sort of thing I just couldn’t get behind. I appreciate the concept, being able to carry an entire library with you in less space that would be occupied by a single tome, but there was always something missing. Not a single book has been fully devoured on my Kindle, which is sitting now on an end table gathering dust, but I’ve consumed book after book in their “analog” format. There’s a familiar comfort in the weight of the volume, the gentle whisper of the paper as you turn the page, or the slight creak of the spine as you adjust the book, that the electronic format simply cannot match.
However, there is definitely a specific purpose for this format, as proven by Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut – The Official Visual Companion (which I’ll refer to as Visual Companion from here on out to avoid carpal tunnel). Here, the Apple iBook format has been not only fully utilized, but a sense of irreverent silliness—much like the game itself—pervades the virtual “pages.”
There is a lot of interesting content packed into the pages – concept art, character bios, maps, and other static content is on display, all readily accessible with a flick of the finger. There’s a photoblog from designer SWERY that shows off the correlation between Deadly Premonition’s town of Greenvale and its real-world inspiration of Snoqualmie Falls. There’s a gallery of fan art culled from the internet. It’s a different sort of content than what you would expect, even if it maintains the typical static art status quo. The iBook format, however, allows for more dynamic presentation: photos spring forth from hotspots, there are a slew of sound boards that play audio clips, and there are plenty of video clips to help make the experience possible only in the digital format. It reminded me of the early days of “multimedia” and doing research in Encarta, but I’m dating myself. A lot of the content is pretty spoiler-heavy, but these nuggets are clearly marked and hidden behind hotlinks to keep the game’s mysteries for those that haven’t finished the game.
Once you get past the meat-and-potatoes of Visual Companion, it takes a sharp turn into pure insanity. There are coloring pages, a maze game, a word search, and the digital equivalent of Colorforms (I’m dating myself again) as additional diversions. It’s so bizarre an idea to include in the iBook about an M-Rated horror game, but it somehow makes perfect sense when it’s springing forth from the brain of SWERY.
Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut – The Visual Companion is available for the iPad through iTunes for $9.99.