Never Take Candy From Strangers
A small town in Texas was in a panic over a slew of missing children. These kids all had one thing in common: they had eaten the candy on their windowsills. Children were finding candy, and eventually notes, on their windowsills inviting them to come and play. If they accepted the invitation; they were never heard from again. The rumor was that Clara Crane, the Candy Lady, killed them and put their souls into dolls and toys. And so the legend of the Candy Lady begun.
In Coven Games‘ Witchkin, you play as young girl who must venture into the Candy Lady’s home to rescue your sister. While looking for your sister, you must avoid the possessed toys of the Candy Lady. Your only defense in this “helpless” horror game is to run, hide, and sneak around them. Marcy, the porcelain doll, is featured in most of the trailers, and she is terrifying. In the trailer, Marcy is shown walking down the hallway toward you, and you can’t help but feel pure terror. David Jennison, creator of Witchkin, gave me an exclusive first look at a new toy, Trappybear! I can NOT wait to see this terrifying fluffy force of terror in action!
Everything’s Better in Texas
Coven Games is a “family owned and operated business serving the horror needs of our Austin community” (What an amazing description!). David Jennison is the genius behind Witchkin. (You may recognize him from a little web series called Red Vs Blue.) His wife, Rachael, takes care of the business and the social medias and his kids are a huge part of the creative process. His children’s fear is a big inspiration on the look and feel of the game, and this totally comes across. David says, “Fear in the mind of a child is raw and rabid. They can’t fence it in with reason or life experience. They just don’t have those mental resources. So it’s more primal.” Having played the game, you totally experience this. You feel like a little kid in the game, and that really makes the game even more frightening.
While this is Coven’s first game, David is a well known gaming artist. So it should be no shocker that Witchkin is a very artfully driven game. There is so much thought put into the atmosphere and characters they have created. The game looks like one of the old, creepy, grainy, yellow photographs, and it’s done beautifully. You feel like you’re in a silent movie, and it is very unsettling. David expressed being very attached to Marcy, and it’s obvious that a lot of attention was put into her development. He explains the madness behind Marcy:
Marcy was designed from the ground up to tap into the doll-phobia many of us have. With this particular phobia, what is really going on under the hood of our consciousness, is a severe form of uncanny valley anxiety. For those who don’t know, uncanny valley is a natural aversion we have to things like mannequins, dolls, and bad human CGI. We see something that is human-like visually but does not move quite like a human. We find this disturbing because the primal part of our brain thinks we are looking at a corpse.
To be completely honest, I could go on and on about this game. Before I even touch on the game itself; I have to talk about David. I got the opportunity to try Witchkin and speak to David at RTX this summer. He was so passionate and willing to talk to anyone about his game. His infectious passion for his project would make you excited even if the game wasn’t incredible. I literally had to keep myself from asking to many questions because I could just listen to him talk about it all day.
Ok, now to the game. If it isn’t already obvious, I canNOT wait for this game to be released. This game is a perfect ten, and I’ve only played about 10 minutes of it. I may or may not have squealled in terror when I first ran into Marcy when I played it on the exhibition floor at RTX. At least I wasn’t the only one! It’s probably the first horror game I’ve encountered where it’s obvious that no detail was left untouched. This game isn’t just about scaring you; it’s about making you feel helpless and vulnerable while playing on your childhood fears.
Depending on crowdfunding, Witchkin will hopefully release in the middle of next year on PC. Believe me when I say, you will want to support this project. Coven Games is coming out of the gates strong, and I can’t wait to see what other delicious stories they can create!