Puppet Motel

Review by Orb

Puppet Motel is a great quirky little title. Created by well-known performance artist Laurie Anderson, it is intriguing and enthralling, and it obviously means to be. It follows no specific path; rather, you are allowed to roam from room to room, experimenting with objects and exploring, which is one of my favorite things to do, so I was right at home.

Laurie Anderson herself is involving and mesmerizing, and Puppet Motel itself so engrossing several hours passed without my realizing it. She is also the only performance artist, to my knowledge, to venture into the realm of CD-ROM, which legitimizes her abilities further—it is obvious she intends to push creativity to the edge. This is definitely art for the last portion of the 20th Century, so drink up.

The nice thing about Puppet Motel is there are no wrong moves. Anderson shows you her set for performances; after she finishes, a completed shooting ducks game is rewarded with a bizarre display, which is an outgrowth of the set she was on. Art, music, and stories are combined as you explore the various rooms. The game of it is to figure out what is to be done in each room and complete it, then find your way back out, which is done in a completely nonlinear style. There are puzzles to solve, but these are more interactive art than anything. You don't get to leave any of the rooms until she's done with you. The stories keep your interest, and you get to follow Anderson through life's foibles.

You begin in the Hall of Time, which is your main navigation center. The rooms themselves are very cool, stylized pieces of art, done by designer Hsin-Chien Huang working in coordination with Anderson. In the hotel room, you get to find out just how many rooms there are, 33 in all, and their names. Other than this, there is no particular beginning or end.

This should definitely be listened to with headphones, which is also recommended in the packaging! There are subtle nuances that would otherwise be missed, small sounds and poetry conveyed using the flow back and forth from one ear to the other to impart the message. The music is ethereal, Anderson whispering in your ear unnerving, and she has a dark, soothing voice.

Additional movies can be downloaded from the Voyager site for use within Puppet Motel.

This is avant-garde art that communicates well its messages and is a perfect change of pace for any adventure gamer. Think of it as a big fat Playskool activity center for adults. By the time I was done I didn't want to leave. The End

The Verdict

The Lowdown

Developer: Voyager
Publisher: Voyager
Release Date: 1995 (Mac), 1998 (Win)

Available for: Macintosh Windows

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System Requirements

Any color-capable Macintosh
8 MB RAM, 12 MB for Power PC
13 inch or larger monitor
14 MB free HD space
2x ROM Drive recommended
External speakers or headphone recommended
System 7 or better

486 DX 66
Windows 95/98
4X CD-ROM drive
256 colors

Where to Find It

Check the Game TZ

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