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The Fabulous Fear Machine is Coming Soon

I don’t keep my ear to the ground of video game indies the way I once did. However, while scrolling through steam this week, a particular title caught my eye. As a huge Creepshow fan, I stopped on The Fabulous Fear Machine for a second, noticing the AMC games logo and the Shudder logo immediately at the end of the trailer. An ominous voice that sounds incredibly like Fred Melamed (though I could not confirm) welcomes the viewer to the Creepshow-styled pulp nightmare. His voice booms over the images of our deepest desires while showing the rapid spreading of fear throughout the globe in the finale. That was it, but it was enough to intrigue me into finding out more.    

The Fabulous Fear Machine is being touted as a narrative-driven strategy game where the objective is to sow the seeds of fear through legendary stories and urban myths. Players propagate the anxieties of the regions by sending in agents to spread mayhem throughout the world and panic the population. Depending on what kind of story you’re perpetuating in the area, the result can either take off through the media or quickly get debunked by the rival voices of that region. If you don’t plan wisely for the fear, your story can be subverted into a fairy-tale or heroic retelling. The endgame is to achieve your dreams of wealth, power, or glory by generating a folk horror idea that becomes a conspiracy theory and travels the world. Win the game by achieving the desire you seek.    

Created by the deranged minds at Fictiorama Studios, who brought us Dead Synchronicity and Do Not Feed the Monkeys, The Fabulous Fear Machine fits in with the studio’s decision-making style over a robust bleak narrative. Combining the strategic prowess of Risk with a more infiltrative approach, The Fabulous Fear Machine currently has a demo available through Steam before its vague release date of Summer 2022. This past weekend, the developers offered a live gameplay stream with extensive commentary to kick off LudoNarraCon.    

Still, how much can you really say about a game if you haven’t tried it for yourself? I decided to take a shot at the demo. You can see my playthrough below.  

As you can see, there’s a bit of a disconnect in the tutorial, but I blame myself for glossing over the rules and just jumping in. You may have better luck than I did. It’s a bit of the same style as Fallout: Shelter or mobile games where you have to wait for tasks to be finished before progressing, but luckily, at least in these early stages, those tasks take about thirty seconds. I like the concept, albeit it’s a bit on the nose of the current state of political affairs. Horror always satirizes, and The Fabulous Fear Machine is no different, allowing players to see how fans are flamed into full-on hysteria. I may not have gotten far, but some of those bugs will likely be worked out when the full-game releases this summer.

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Written by Sean Parker

Sean lives just outside of Boston and loves all things horror.

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