Scott Carbines, Property Journalist
First published 16 Feb 2023, 6:30am
Got a rental horror story? Here’s a chance to have it immortalised for all to, er, enjoy?
Renting has gotten so grim it’s the subject of a new video game — the producers of which are seeking real-life horror story submissions to include.
Sydney-based Fuzzy Ghost has unveiled a new trailer for its next game ‘Janet DeMornay is a Slumlord (and a witch)’, or JDM, which launches on Steam later this year.
Ahead of its release, the developers are hosting a competition to source actual rental horror tales to be featured in collectable ‘Case File’ stories hidden throughout the game’s world.
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Hmm that oven does look familiar.
Fuzzy Ghost co-founder Scott Ford — an experienced tenant in Sydney’s inner west — described the game as “a horror comedy about renting”.
“We wanted to make a horror game, so we asked ourselves: In Australia in the 2020s, what’s something that’s truly terrifying?” he said.
“To be honest the answer came pretty quickly — being a renter … it feels like everyone we know has a rental experience that’s horrible, or hilarious, or both.
“We wanted to share their stories, as well as our own. Just have a great big bitch session, really. But in a game. And with witches.”
Competition submissions close March 25, with winners to receive a copy of the game — and perhaps some catharsis.
Gamers play as Andrew, who has signed a new lease to an “enchanted but crumbling queer terrace house in Sydney”.
The catch is the house has been transported to another dimension.
Using puzzle mechanics, players explore their home and try to get back to the real world as their “faded television shopping channel star landlord (and witch) Janet DeMornay becomes increasingly menacing”.
“One big inspiration is the 1982 film, Poltergeist,” said fellow founder Pete Foley.
“On the surface, it sounds like a typical haunted house movie: suburban household is haunted by ghosts. But the family is depicted with such warmth and humour, they still have good times, even as things get progressively more strange and terrifying. It’s a joy to watch.
“We wanted to take some of that and put our own queer spin on it, so we made our game about a found family in a queer share house.”
Uh oh.
Eh, why not?
JDM follows Fuzzy Ghost’s ‘Queer Man Peering Into A Rock Pool.jpg’, which won the 2022 Australian Game Developer Award for Excellence in Emerging Games.
That game was acquired by the Australian Powerhouse Museum to be part of its permanent collection and is currently being featured in the Absolutely Queer exhibition of WorldPride 2023.
Some of the classic renting quirks Andrew might experience are having to clean parts of the house that were dirty when they moved in and an electric oven that does not work very well — that also turns out to be the entrance to a haunted cavern.
Got a story? Submit it here.
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