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Teenagers make the game of the opera

640px Royal Opera House 2012
640px Royal Opera House 2012

It sounds like a spoof made up to specifically rebut tiresome fools who decry videogaming as mindless nonsense, but if you’re at a loose end this weekend might we suggest a free web game made by a group of teenagers based on an opera?

Don’t Look Back is based on Monteverdi’s 1607 work Orfeo, one of the very first operas (which in turn is based on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, for those of you not paying attention at the back). The game has been made to help drum up publicity for a January production of the opera, co-produced by the Royal Opera House and the Roundhouse in Camden. With a little help from a handful of professionals, the group of 11-16 year olds storyboarded, designed and programmed the game, as well as recording all spoken roles, in just two weeks. (A short YouTube making-of can be found here.)

The game itself plays like a classic text adventure, except text descriptions are thrown out in favour of audio. We here at Absolute Gadget have given it a quick whirl – too brief for a full review – and found it pretty enjoyable once you get the hang of it (quick tip – you need to move north more than once at the beginning), with the audio gameplay working surprisingly well. The game can be found here, though note that we had trouble getting it to work on anything except Chrome.

It’s not the first opera-based game – anyone remember the Wagner-inspired Ring on PC back in 1999? – but it’s surely the first one knocked up in a fortnight by a gaggle of teens. So now you have a handy response next time you encounter a Daily Mail reader.