Read about Kyle Choi’s Comer in ROMChip! Adventure category

The box for Comer by Shine Studio. The front of the box reads: “COMER is an interactive adventure into the surreal world of natural and architectural wonders. Be a COMER and experience the story, 3D graphics, stereo sound with a quality of no compromise. In an ancient oriental script of prophecy, life was referred to as ‘The Game of Zao Hua.’ In modern terms, it might be ‘The Game of Creation and Evolution of Life.’ The study of prehistoric earth reveals that there were periods of lifeforms such as that of dinosaurs and that of mammals. Usually in a drastic ‘Bang!’, one period ended, lives were wiped out, new cycle started. Here and now, another ‘Bang!’ is taking shape...”

Let’s end the year with something new and exciting: I’ve published an article in ROMchip: A Journal of Game Histories!

Over the summer, a reader sent me a rare physical copy of Comer, a spiritualist CD-ROM adventure game that was produced entirely by one person from Hong Kong. Not only did the designer Kyle Choi make it entirely by himself with no prior game development experience, but he manufactured and published it by himself as well. That was no small feat in 1998!

Comer is an extraordinarily weird game, and seeing a physical boxed copy of Comer drives home the fact it doesn’t fit into any standard mold of video game production. So where does it belong in gaming history? That’s the big question in my article, “The Long Silent Journey of Kyle Choi’s Comer,” which is now available in the latest issue of ROMchip.

ROMchip is the first academic journal dedicated to gaming history. It was a great experience to work with their editorial team, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to bring my perspective on the weird outliers of video game history to an academic publication. This is an open-access journal, which means anyone can read this article for free without needing to sign in or get a subscription.

Since this was written for an academic journal, it’s more formal than my usual writing, but I hope it’s still fun and interesting to read! And while you’re there, check out the rest of the issue, which includes an essay about using historical materials to understand game production, as well as article about reconstructing political games from 1980s Czechoslovakia.

4 comments

  • VAN-Gluon

    Side of package writes “天國の走廊”, means “Heaven’s Corridor” in Japanese
    (“走廊” means “Corridor” in Chinese).
    But… Why do write in Japanese phrase at this side only?

  • Phil Salvador

    It’s not fully shown in the picture, but the packaging for Comer is in two languages. Half the box is in English, and the other half is in Chinese (or possibly a mix of Chinese and Japanese, as you mentioned). It’s one of the reasons it’s such a unique and unusual game!

  • toomanyletters

    i really want to play this, is there ANY way remaining to obtain a copy?

  • Yensid

    For posterity’s sake and convience, here’s a link to the internet archive download of Comer, uploaded by Phil himself. Not sure why it isn’t linked in either of the articles.

    https://archive.org/details/Comer_1998_ShineStudio

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