Banshees: The Game distils the plot of Martin McDonagh’s jet black comedy down to its barest possible bones: get to the pub, alone. The brand experience agency Cogs & Marvel released the online video game on St. Patrick’s Day, sifting through the “dark, atmospheric” original and “representing it through the saturated optics of retro gaming”, says creative director Jon Hozier-Byrne.
If it seems like a reductive take, it should – Cogs & Marvel says that was the aim from the offset. “St Patrick’s Day, like the film which inspired us, is an exploration of Irish socio-cultural identity,” says Hozier-Byrne. “For one day a year, political and historical baggage is cast aside, leaving only bright green hats and drinking. We wanted to apply the same kind of dramatic over-simplification to such rich cultural material.”
The fresh adaptation features all the typical features of an 8-bit game like Pac-Man; the arcade music, aerial view maze, power-ups. Though, Cogs & Marvel presents it through the lens of The Banshees of Inisherin, so that power-ups become severed fingers, the maze is bordered by rocky roads, and the ghosts who might ordinarily chase Pac-Man are played instead by former best friend, Pádraic – there are some excellent voice overs injected throughout from Colm too. Jenny the donkey, an essential part of the original tale, also makes an appearance.
“It was an interesting challenge. How can you tell a complex story in the simplest narrative form?” says Hozier-Byrne. “As well as celebrating a film that has real cultural importance, and of which I’m personally a huge fan, Banshees: The Game was a fascinating exercise in exploring how you can reimagine an amazing story and tell it in a new and unexpected way.”
GalleryCogs & Marvel: Banshees: The Game (Copyright © Cogs & Marvel, 2023)
Cogs & Marvel: Banshees: The Game (Copyright © Cogs & Marvel, 2023)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.