Innovative new iPhone game played purely with sound

by PYB James | Dec 01, 2010

A new game launched this week in the iTunes app store heralds a new gaming experience, where players play and experience the game entirely through sound.

Papa Sangre is a version of a Mexican game called ‘Sangre y Patatas’, which translates as ‘blood and potatoes’ and is played by blindfolded players.

The iPhone version has been described by its developers as "the first binaural real-time, 3D audio engine implemented on a handheld device" and is a first-person thriller with a strong horror theme.

Papa Sangre’s great strength is that it connects the gamer to a truly high fidelity experience via the power of their imagination.

The game is structured over five intriguing levels known as ‘palaces’ where players navigate through the sounds they hear. The palaces of brass, strings, wind and bone lead ultimately to Papa Sangre’s own palace. Players have to collect musical notes by negotiating around the sounds of a monster who is guarding them and who, in return respond to sounds triggered during play.

The game was created by the Somethin’ Else and partly funded by Channel 4’s now defunct ‘innovation fund’. A main staff of five developers with an extended team of ten others took 73 weeks to create it. Paul Bennun, director of digital games at Somethin’ Else gave a candid assessment of the process "We're not the first to do a game entirely in sound but others have tried and realised it was a bat-shit insane thing to do,” he said.

"But sound is hugely under-rated and brings a massive amount to gaming. Even in a mass-market game like Silent Hill, some of the interface of the game is communicated through sound like radios that crackle when zombies are nearby. Sound is often far more important than people give it credit for."

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