Joseph Vargo is an artist, writer and musician, best known as the creator of The Gothic Tarot, author of The Dark Tower series, cover artist for Dark Realms magazine and founder of the band Nox Arcana. Joseph conceived the story and puzzles for the game in addition to creating the original artwork and music to bring his vision to life. The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana is published through his company Monolith Graphics.
"I've always loved puzzles and adventure RPGs. I've designed several board and live-action mystery games throughout the years and have always wanted to create a gothic adventure computer game set in a mysterious mansion filled with diabolical puzzles. The game itself is a puzzle lover's dream. It's like the ultimate escape room, or escape house, in this case."
Christine Filipak is an artist, writer and graphic designer, best known as the creator of Madame Endora's Fortune Cards and for her work as art director for Dark Realms magazine and The Dark Tower book series. Christine's combination of artistic talent and computer design skills bridged the gap between creative concept and digital production. Christine worked closely with Joseph to design the rooms and puzzles of the game, as well as the numerous inventory items, graphics and animations.
"It's a great deal of work to design and create a computer game as involved as this one, especially with a development team of only three people. Each of us had to take on multiple duties, creating the artwork, puzzles, soundtrack and getting everything to work smoothly on multiple platforms. The end result was worth all the time and effort."
Daniel Kennedy is a programmer and game designer. As founder of The Hideout, he has produced titles such as Manor of the Damned and its upcoming sequel, Isle of the Damned. An accomplished musician, Daniel is also the lead singer and songwriter for the industrial cyber-punk band Syn Nine. Daniel is the tech-savvy guru who took all the pretty artwork and crazy ideas and made them function as a game, assembling Arcana Manor one computer file at a time.
Joseph Vargo describes, "The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana is a throwback to the early computer puzzle games like The 7th Guest, Shivers and Jewels of the Oracle. I was very influenced by these types of games and used them as inspiration throughout this project. Puzzle games seem to have become a thing of the past, and that's really unfortunate because they're very fun and challenging. I felt compelled to resurrect this classic genre, so we embraced the idea of creating an old-style puzzle game and ran with it. We specifically designed The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana to have a very retro look and feel within a simple framework with minimal mouse controls. The end result is an effectively moody and entertaining game that evokes a haunting sense of nostalgia.
"The concept for the game began as a feature I created for Dark Realms Magazine back in 2000. The feature was called The Cabinet of Doctor Arcana, based on the title of the classic silent horror film The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari. In each issue, the condescending Doctor Arcana presented puzzles for the readers to ponder, then insulted the integrity of anyone who correctly solved them. This jeering humor carries over into the game as well. Players are subjected to taunting remarks from Doctor Arcana throughout their adventure and lost souls who consult the in-game walkthrough, aptly named The Cheater's Compendium, will be scolded and ridiculed for doing so.
"I developed the Doctor Arcana idea further on the Nox Arcana album, Theater of Illusion. The story centered around a secret society of magicians who possess actual magical powers and lurk in the hidden shadows of our world. I've always loved magic and magicians—the darker and creepier, the better. The concept seemed like a natural backdrop for an eerie adventure shrouded in mystery. In the game, players must explore this shadowy realm of magic and illusion and resolve a variety of devious puzzles to unlock Doctor Arcana's darkest secrets. The gauntlet of confounding conundrums consists of more than 50 logic puzzles, word puzzles, mazes, riddles and codes. For those seeking something more mentally stimulating than the usual arcade game or hidden object adventure, this is the game for you."