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Santa Cruz, California, United States
I cannot remember life without GHOSTS/SPIRITS... My interest began in the paranormal when I was 2...that's when my mom told me I first started talking about GHOSTS/SPIRITS. I grew up like most of you, learning that one shouldn't talk about the things they can see, hear and feel. Now, after years of ignoring these abilities and senses, I can no longer deny it. The TIME has come...

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Star Mountain Studios' Spooky NEW Adventure Game - TAPS

Star Mountain Studios' Spooky NEW
Adventure Game
Author - James Fudge


For the Full Article:


Ghosts. Their existence has been a point of contention for centuries, and while scientists and skeptics still disavow that ghosts are real, it is ironic that technology will be the key to unlocking the mystery of it all. Whether ghosts exists or not (that is a contentious subject that is well beyond the scope of this space, believe me), the topic is a perfect fodder for gamers who have no problem suspending disbelief to have an abnormal adventure. So with that in mind, it's easy to see why Star Mountain Studios' latest game, Apparitions, is an interesting adventure for gamer and true believer alike (and for the record, I am the former and not the latter).

While Apparitions may not bear the Ghost Hunters name (which is obviously owned by Sci-Fi Network), it does capture the essence of what TAPS as a group and the show are all about. In the game you take on the role of a lead investigator exploring the depths and heights of an allegedly haunted hotel called the Red Reef Inn. The first thing I noticed is the incredible amount of back story created for this game, delivered as case files and histories in your laptop. The hallmark of any good ghost story (real or imagined) is a laundry list of historical data and personal accounts of sightings. The game does a decent job of delivering that in spades, setting those willing to take the time to read it up for whatever activity is about to happen in the many rooms of the Inn.

The game is served up in classic adventure game style. Each location in the inn is a static 2D picture which you can pan around simply by moving the mouse in any direction (left, right, up or down) - old school adventure gamers will feel at home with this style of play, for sure. As you navigate though each room you'll be using the real world tools that the TAPS team use like an EMF detector, camcorder, voice recorder and temperature gauge. You'll also be able to set up IR cameras remotely, though you won't be able to monitor what they pick up in real-time (that data is pushed directly to the evidence file on your virtual laptop). Whatever anomalies you encounter (or at least the most significant) will be stored in your laptop, which at some point you'll have to sift through and decide if it is real evidence or nonsense.

What's interesting about the game is how much of what you'll encounter would probably be the norm in a real world investigation. These anomalies I speak of are the ones people often mistake for real evidence; for example, you might encounter fluctuating temperatures in one spot, only to find later that there is a door slightly ajar or an open window.. perhaps you'll get a high EMF reading in the basement and find out later that some heavy electrical equipment is in the general vicinity. It is this kind of balance that makes the game fun - it isn't all about floating mists, moving objects and things that can't be explained.

While some might quibble of the graphical presentation and interface of Apparitions, it is pretty easy to understand why Star Mountain built the game the way they did. It is designed to appeal to Ghost Hunter TV viewers, paranormal fans and casual gamers of all ages. In that regard, the game does a good job of keeping things simple, while providing a lot of depth in the actual gameplay. And let's not discount the atmosphere the game provides. If you can get into the game's groove it can deliver some truly startling moments for players as you hear sounds, see shadows and watch as objects appear to move by their own power.

Of course, the goal of the game is to garner the highest score and post it to the leaderboards at the Apparitions site. While that's certainly one of the goals that you may want to accomplish, it ultimately doesn't matter. Apparitions is about taking a fantastic journey and experiencing something that you won't necessarily encounter in every day life - and that's what games are all about.

In the final analysis Apparitions is a fun old school style adventure games that targets its audience with laser beam precision. True believers of the paranormal, skeptics, gamers of all ages and backgrounds and fans of TAPS' popular TV show can all find something appealing in this game. If you consider yourself a member of one of these demographics, then you shouldn't have a problem finding enjoyment within this game.

*Editor's Note:
A demo, as well as the full game can only be found online at

You can learn more about TAPS by visiting

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