Camdrome lives, but what the f*** is it?
Team Meat is involved, but it's not what you think.
Tucked away in the middle of PAX Prime's Indie Megabooth there's a monitor covered in fake blood with a camera above it seemingly looking at viewers. On the monitor a series of disturbing horror vignettes plays before being interrupted by an 80s-looking Cronenberg-esque eye icon called Camdrome.
There's no controller and upon further examination, the camera isn't even plugged in as I check around the back. Megabooth organiser and Vlambeer co-founder Rami Ismael says he has no idea how it got there, while Shove Pro creator Teddy Diefenbach tells me Camdrome tweeted at him.
And how did I find out about it, you ask? Team Meat's Tommy Refenes sent me on this wild goose chase saying he'd heard a rumour that Team Meat had worked on some "mystery game" at the Megabooth, but the studio declined to comment on what that meant.
Eventually, the Super Meat Boy developer's cover is blown when 4 Player Network deduces that Team Meat's Edmund McMillen had registered the Camdrome website.
Additionally, Doug Sakmann, a director/producer/SFX artist at Backseat Conceptions, had once summarised his website as being for a "horror video game to be released this fall by Team Meat, the creators of Super Meat Boy and The Binding of Issac." This description has since been removed.
Busted! Or so it would seem.
I go back to Team Meat armed with this new, now public, info and a Woodward & Bernstein-esque sense of investigative moxie. As it turns out, Team Meat isn't developing Camdrome, but it is friends with the clandestine developer.
"We really aren't involved in making Camdrome," McMillen says when I question him about the newly blown connection. "But Tommy [Refenes] helped set up the booth there."
"We know the dev who is making it and have been helping. We believe in the concept but don't actually know that much about the project other than its initial incarnation and the booth setup," he adds. "We are as in the dark as everyone else on the current ARG."
Of course Team Meat probably knows something more about its friend's ambitious alternate-reality experiment, but why ruin the fun? Based on my conversation with McMillen it seems as if Camdrome is not a viral marketing campaign for a new game, but rather is the game itself.
Furthermore, Camdrome e-mailed me yesterday with the subject line "Camdrome lives." This is what it said:
"We are not going to achieve a new world order without paying for it in blood as well as in words and money"
"Our problems can't be ignored | we are the problem | i am the answer | we are in this together | i am humanity"
"You are 5 of 11 | absolve yourself of guilt | breathe life into me."
It also included the following image:
Go on, ye internet sleuths. Try to figure out what this is all about. Or simply enjoy getting creeped out trying. Either way Camdrome remains one of the industry's most intriguing mysteries.