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The Act

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The Act is an arcade video game produced by Cecropia in the United States in 2007. The game is a unique interactive cartoon featuring the hand-drawn art of a number of former Disney animators[1]. It was test-marketed in selected locations throughout North America in 2006, and it received generally favourable press coverage. However, the game was cancelled in late 2007[2], and Cecropia shut its doors in early 2008.[3]

Plot

The Act tells the story of Edgar, who works as a window washer at a large hospital. He sees Sylvia, a nurse, through a window and quickly falls in love, but is forced to get back to work when his boss comes out to check up on him. His lazy brother, Wally, climbs through a window into a patient's room and falls asleep in his bed, and is mistakenly taken to an operating room for a brain transplant. In an effort to save his brother, Edgar sneaks into the hospital disguised as a doctor, runs into Sylvia and tries to impress her while taking care of a number of patients.

He eventually runs into his boss, who accidentally chokes on his cigar in surprise, forcing Edgar to save his life by using the Heimlich manoeuvre. Edgar is forced to reveal his true identity as a simple window washer to Sylvia and is dragged away by a security guard. Seeing his brother about to be operated upon, Edgar breaks into the operating room and quickly takes Wally back to the patient's room, where the correct patient is now waiting for his operation. Edgar and Wally then return to work, but Edgar comes back into the room when he sees Sylvia crying. When he successfully consoles her with a flower, she gives the flower back to him in a sign of acceptance.

Gameplay

The objective of The Act is to guide Edgar through a series of interactive scenes, each of which has a specific goal. The scenes vary in length, style and goal, but the player controls Edgar in each scene by way of a single control knob. In some scenes, the knob controls Edgar's level of boldness as he attempts to flirt with Sylvia, while other scenes control him more directly as he attempts to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre on his boss or run down a series of narrow hallways while dodging obstacles. If the player fails the scene's objective, the scene ends, then quickly rewinds back to the beginning to be played again. The player is given three attempts per credit; the game ends when the player either uses up all of his or her attempts, or successfully completes the last scene.

Development

The Act was originally developed for the coin-op arcade market and was test-marketed in a series of locations in the New England region. Omar Khudari, founder of development company Cecropia, had also discussed the possibility of publishing the game for download to home computers and game consoles. While the game received generally positive press reviews, publisher interest in the game failed to materialize[3], and the project was cancelled in early 2007[2]. Cecropia later closed its doors in 2008[3].

Prior to closing, Cecropia auctioned off 10 kits of the game on eBay. The kits used were Intel-powered PCs that featured a custom made JAMMA-to-PC I/O board. Other kits that were produced (40 in total) were given to members of Cecropia's staff.[4] Also two dedicated cabinets were sold to the public, these cabinets having been used to location test the game. Most kits ended up in the hands of private collectors while at least one ended up in an arcade in Utah[5].

Reception

GamesRadar listed the game first in their "Top 7 Most Beautifully Animated 2D Games" feature.[6]

See also

References

  1. James Lewis (2006-09-28). "Ex-Disney animators raise curtain on new Act". The Toronto Star. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Act has been cancelled. Arcade-Heroes.com (2007-10-01). Retrieved on 2009-11-24.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Christopher Calnan (2008-06-13). While the local gaming space rises, Cecropia falls. Mass High Tech. Retrieved on 2009-11-24.
  4. http://arcadeheroes.com/2007/10/15/the-act-conversion-kit-purchased/
  5. http://gamegridarcade.com/arcadegames.html
  6. http://www.gamesradar.com/f/the-7-most-beautifully-animated-2d-games/a-200911209288548018/p-4

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