William S. Burroughs Reads Edgar Allan Poe Tales in the Vintage 1995 Video Game, “The Dark Eye”

William S. Bur­roughs, like Christo­pher Walken, has one of those voic­es that casts any­thing he reads in a new light. No mat­ter who the author, if Bur­roughs reads it, the text sounds like one more mis­sive from the Inter­zone. In 1995, Bur­roughs took on the mas­ter of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe, read­ing “The Masque of the Red Death” and the poem Annabel Lee for a lit­tle known PC game called The Dark Eye.

Ignored dur­ing its release, the game has since gained cult sta­tus, and playthroughs can be found on YouTube (see below). Sim­i­lar in style to Myst, play­ers point and clicked their way through three nar­ra­tives based on Poe sto­ries, with lit­tle inter­ac­tion. In the end it was more about mood and design, and the creep of Bur­roughs’ drawl. (He also voiced the old man char­ac­ter in the game.)

Accom­pa­ny­ing Bur­roughs’ read­ing was a slideshow that popped up in the mid­dle of the game, with art direct­ed (and pos­si­bly drawn) by Bruce Heav­in, best known these days as the co-founder of Lynda.com. Thomas Dol­by com­posed the gloomy sound­track. The Dark Eye was the sec­ond game from Inscape, which debuted with the equal­ly ambi­tious Bad Day on the Mid­way, a game fea­tur­ing weird music giants The Res­i­dents. Two years after The Dark Eye, the sort of CD-ROM games the com­pa­ny made fell behind due to advances in tech­nol­o­gy, and the fall of the house of Inscape came inevitably in 1997.

The Inter­net con­tin­ues to exca­vate what’s left of these bound­ary push­ing games, and for those who want an audio ver­sion of “Masque”, an mp3 can be enjoyed here.

via WFMU blog

Relat­ed Con­tent:

William S. Bur­roughs Teach­es a Free Course on Cre­ative Read­ing and Writ­ing (1979)

William S. Bur­roughs on Sat­ur­day Night Live, 1981

Iggy Pop Reads Edgar Allan Poe’s Clas­sic Hor­ror Sto­ry, “The Tell-Tale Heart”

1,000 Free Audio Books: Down­load Great Books for Free

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the FunkZone Pod­cast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.

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  • Ant says:

    I have very fond mem­o­ries of this play­ing this game with my dad when I was a kid. Always scared the crap out of me, but always stuck with me. I miss these point and click games. Thanks for the write-up!

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