Tourist Trap: a Surrealist Dark Comedy Adventure | Gaming

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Greetings from sunny South America…

Tourist Trap is a 2D hand drawn point & click adventure game with a strong focus on narrative and light puzzle solving. It´s a surrealist comedy with a dark secret at the core of the story. In a fictional South American tourist town called Santa Ballena, we play as a young tour guide, Lucas, who uncovers a conspiracy involving local abductions and an menacing corporation controlling the town.

Developed by TragicoMedia, a two-man studio composed of myself and Manuel González Larrauri, the game tells a very personal story and has many layers but mainly revolves around the two sides of its plot.

On one hand, the main text of the story about a tourist colony ruled by a foreign corporation and the lives of the many exploited locals that try to survive within it, is very much inspired by Manuel’s experience growing up in a working-class family in Punta del Este, Uruguay. As a coastal tourist town it suffers from most of the game’s fictional ills, such as no real economy beyond service to wealthy foreigners, no interest from the government to care for its population or infrastructure beyond the summer months and an ever rising sense of despair and wish to escape.

On the other hand, the game also addresses the issue of touristification, which is not unlike the situation of cultural industries in the global south. Drawing parallels between working as an artist, developer or creative of any kind and living in the Global South. Meaning that one must choose to either entertain the tourists (i.e., Global North audiences) by serving to their tastes, culture and language (i.e., developing game in English based around a gaming culture developed by and for the Global North), or cannibalizing their own culture for profit (i.e., making games in English but featuring highly marketable elements of one’s culture).

It’s naive to believe that the games industry should be safe from colonization…

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“The adventure of life is to learn. The purpose of life is to grow. The nature of life is to change. The challenge of life is to overcome. The essence of life is to care. The opportunity of like is to serve. The secret of life is to dare. The spice of life is to befriend. The beauty of life is to give.” —William Arthur Ward

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