[dropcap size=big]C[/dropcap]ontradiction was a live-action, fully interactive adventure mystery game that was funded for £4,010 on Kickstarter back on January 17th. The game uses 100% live-action video and boasts a “unique design to give you the freedom to move around at will, investigate locations, collect evidence and make notes.” The core of the game is centered on interviewing characters and spotting any lies they tell. The production was, overall, low-budget, using £3,400 of the funds raised on Kickstarter, plus additional funds (some of which the creator, invested himself) for a total of £6,000. The game has been received well, and is currently available on the iTunes market.


The basic premise of Contradiction is that an exclusive business training course in the British countryside has been caught in scandal. When the father-son pair running the course are accused of employing abusive training techniques, the authorities send in fedora-wearing Inspector Jenks. As the player delves into the mystery, they uncover a wealth of bizarre secrets that involve the occult, psychological manipulation, and physical abuse.

The creator of Contradiction is Tim Follin, who has done extensive work in video game music (Ecco The Dolphin and Ghouls n’ Ghosts) before moving into the film and TV industry, mostly working on TV commercials. Contradiction was Tim Follin’s passion project, which he worked on over a number of years. As stated in an interview on AdventureLantern.com: Originally, Follin and his brother (who helped develop the concept) intended for Contradiction to be an audio-only game, but as the idea evolved, they realized the project would work better with video. It wasn’t until the iPad was released that Follin felt the technology was there to create what he really wanted.


We all remember the old FMV games of the 90s. Many lacked enjoyable gameplay, had a nasty reputation of sex and violence, and just about always featured horrendous acting. Tim Follin wanted to separate Contradiction from such games. When watching the trailer, you can see the skill that went into the production. The acting appears fairly good, and it gives a feel of something one might watch off the BBC. While Follin never intended for the game to be so difficult that a person could fail in the traditional “game-over” sense, to help some players overcome hurdles, he provided  a hint page for players. Follin’s ultimate hope was for the game to be thrilling and fun for crime drama, mystery, and adventure game fans.


I recently got in touch with Mr. Follin in the hopes that he would shed some light on his experiences making Contradiction, as well as where he was in terms of getting other versions of the game released. He was kind enough to get in touch with me, and so here are his responses:

Cliqist: What’s your progress on other versions of Contradiction? Particularly for the Amazon Fire TV and PC?

Tim Follin : After an initial rush of thinking I’d be able to do the Amazon Fire TV version, I soon ran into a few technical problems that I may or may not be able to overcome, basically there are always hardware issues with Contradiction mainly because it uses video playback in an unusual way that most devices (including iPad) aren’t really set up to do, so at the moment I’m going to have to mothball it until I can get some more info about it.  However the PC / desktop version is almost ready to go now, I haven’t had anything like the number of problems I had developing the iPad version.  It’s so much easier making Desktop apps!  So that should be ready I’m hoping by the end of March.  Also having the extra memory to play with makes a big difference in what I can do with the game, such as adding different times of day and other elements as you progress through it, all in HD video.


Cliqist: Reviews for the game seem to be very positive. Would you consider doing a sequel to Contradiction in the future? Or releasing another interactive adventure like it?

Tim Follin : I’d love to do another if I could afford it!  This was a very low budget production in comparison to TV drama – in fact I’ve made cheap 30sec TV commercials that have cost four times as much – but the low budget meant that I had to sacrifice a lot of elements in the game, which led to a lot of patching up afterwards, including desperate plot hole patching, which I wouldn’t want to repeat!  I also added around £2-3k myself to get it made.  If I was going to make another it’d have to be a step up from Contradiction 1, in terms of having a lot more ‘stuff’ happen and a lot more environments, which means a much longer shoot and consequently a lot more money.  It all depends on whether I make my investment back on this one first!


Cliqist: What were some of the biggest challenges that you faced while producing the work?

Tim Follin : Writing the script was the first big challenge, having the idea is one thing but I had no clue as to whether it would actually work as a game or as a story, so I was very much working in the dark, hoping it’d come together.  Around the same time I decided I’d better learn how to program too, since having worked with programmers in the past, I knew I wouldn’t be able to ask someone to do it without paying them.  Programming is a full time and very taxing job – I found it far more taxing than writing the script, but then I’m probably not really cut out to be a programmer to be honest!  Following the Kickstarter campaign we had to start organising the actual filming, which turned out to be a lot of work but in a relatively short amount of time.  The challenge was making sure we got decent actors for the roles and a decent location to shoot in.  Fortunately the location worked out really well, also by this point I’d already got my friend John Guilor on board to play the character of ‘Ryan Rand’ and he turned out to be invaluable in finding the rest of the cast, as I had really no idea how to find decent actors other than auditioning them, and I couldn’t really afford to do that.  After shooting was complete the biggest challenge I faced was purely technical, mainly turning my limited Javascript programming skills into a polished iPad app.  Fortunately I found an application (Titanium made by a company called Appcelerator) which allowed me to do just that.  I did have several video-related hurdles also, such as fixing the awful on-location sound quality (as happens in the absence of a paid sound recordist!) and patching up lighting problems due to the incredibly limited time slots we had at each location – it was filmed mostly during the day, so I had to do what I could to make it look like night in post.  So there was a lot of post production work to do on the video, on top of the problem of making the game run smoothly on the iPad.  As I mentioned, the game uses the video in an unusual way and for a time I thought I might have to give up the iPad version completely, as it was very difficult to make it work consistently.  Manufacturers expect you to make a certain sort of game on their devices, and when you have a slightly different idea it’s amazing to see just how biased their approach is, so I found myself fighting against that bias the whole time just to get the game done.


Cliqist: What inspirations from film, video games, or otherwise were drawn from when developing Contradiction?

Tim Follin : My inspiration wasn’t really from games at all, I knew a bit about those mid-90s FMV games and the earlier Laserdisk arcade games, but only that were legendary for being truly awful!  The idea for Contradiction really came from thinking about alternatives to the standard ‘choose what to do next’ idea underpinning most FMV games – I think at first I had the idea of putting pieces of things you find together like a jigsaw, then that turned into the idea of pairing elements in a certain order, then that eventually turned into the idea of pairing contradictory replies and having a bunch of characters telling lies.  As regards the story and atmosphere I was going for, I’d say my inspiration came mainly from the sort of 70s horror films and mysteries I used to watch in my teens, those with that creepy 70s atmosphere, such as Rosemary’s Baby, The Wicker Man, The Omen etc.  However I’d say my biggest inspiration from a film-making point of view is Stanley Kubrick – 2001, Clockwork Orange, The Shining, right up to Eyes Wide Shut, the latter probably having the biggest influence on Contradiction, although I’m not expecting anyone to see any comparison between them of course!  I wish…


Watch the trailer for Contradiction below, and to purchase the game you can currently find it on the iTunes App Store.

About the Author

Amanda French

Amanda French first cut her gaming teeth by playing such classics as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Super Mario World at the ripe age of four. From there spawned a lifelong love of video games, particularly narrative heavy adventures and open world games. A creative writing graduate of Full Sail University, Amanda writes fiction novels in her spare time. You can find her work at the Independent Author Network under the pseudonym, Illise Montoya. Amanda’s all-time favorite games include Dragon Age: Origins, Fallout 2, and Tekken 5. She lives on the California coast with her husband and young baby son.

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