A PLAY MACHINE
Play Amduat. A play machine below
Amduat. A Play Machine is a playable experience about the Egyptian Sungod Ra’s perpetual journey through the Netherworld, as described by the ancient funerary text Amduat. Follow along on the varied events of the twelve hours. The trials, troubles and tribulations of Ra and his crew, eventually leading to the birth of the sun as a new dawn rises. Amduat. A Play Machine puts you in control of these events.
Ra stands tall in his barque, never moving, dependant on the aid of his many helpers. Using only your trackpad or mouse wheel to alternate between scrolling up and down, you help Ra along.
The fate of the sun is in your fingers.
How to play AMDUAT A PLAY MACHINE
The Thoughts behind Amduat. A Play Machine
The team behind Amduat. A Play Machine
Art Director: Adam Ryde Ankarfeldt
Creative Lead & Sound Designer: Jacob Hviid Armstrup
Technical Designer: Christopher Aleksander Orloff Bech
Narrative Designer & Project Manager: Lucas A. V. Møller
Lead Gameplay Designer: Nikolaj Schildt Christensen
Technical Director: Rasmus Emil Odgaard
Supervisors: Kirsten Dehlholm, Miguel Angel Sicart.
Amduat. A Play Machine is created in collaboration with Hotel Pro Forma and IT University Copenhagen.
In the first hour of Ra’s perpetual nighttime journey, our protagonist arrives at the Netherworld’s gates. With its intuitive interactions, Amduat. A Play Machine features no tutorial. Yet, nothing happens until the player learns to use their scroll wheel or touchpad to move Ra.
As Ra moves towards the gate, he is joined by other barques full of The Blessed Dead. These nameless figures were a highly symbolic representation. They represent how those who have died during the day now come to seek Ra’s help for a safe passage beyond.
The Sungod Ra and his crew enter a green world of constant growth. The player scrolls vegetation into the scene. Suddenly, two grain gods appear and rain corn on the party, fertilizing their passage.
The parting party bears the same duality as any other intoxication, and the hour ends with desert god Seth killing his brother Osiris, god of fertility.
Isis reassembles her husband Osiris. Then she impregnates herself with his corpse. The child she now carries is Horus. He is the god of the sky (and, therefore, also the sun and the moon). Horus serves as the Amduat’s leitmotif: Bring the Sungod Ra and his crew through the Netherworld so that Horus can be birthed anew by Isis.
With the Horus seed planted, the hope for a new dawn lives. But first, Ra and his crew must travel through the complete darkness of Apophis’ cave. In this hour of arrival, The Blessed Dead tow Ra’s barque into the dungeon.
Innumerable snakes attack Ra and his crew, but a giant, winged serpent arrives just in time to push them away from the barque!
In the zenith of night, Ra and his crew must battle Apophis — the demon of chaos and the ultimate symbol of darkness and destruction. Several of Ra’s companion goddesses attack Apophis with knives steered by the player’s timed movement.
Slumbering out of his mad, Dionysian intoxication of Hour 2, Seth has joined sides with Ra. It is he who deals the final blow to Apophis. This symbolises the tipping point of the night: From the escalation of shrouding darkness to its de-escalation into the unveiling light of a new morning.
Ra and his crew exit the cave. Here, the player scrolls a light cone out from Ra, so that his army of the Blessed Dead can find and help him depart.
Ra and the Blessed Dead enter their barques. Now, the final push towards the new dawn can take form.
Ra and his crew are now championed by the scarab-faced god Khepri, god of the rising morning sun, who now spearheads the journey by pushing an enormous dust-ball.
Afore the gate of the morning, the Blessed Dead are divided. Some will stay in the Netherworld, others will continue. This symbolises both the rejuvenating and the lethal energies of sleep: For some, sleep is a regenerating ritual. For others, it is the final journey into death.
Khepri arrives at Isis with his dust-ball. He pushes it into her womb with Horus, and the new dawn seethes into view.