Danny Boyle on Geiger Counter

July 4, 2009

Spent the 4th watching Danny Boyle’s commentary on Sunshine and, man, does he say some smart things about how to set up a good survival horror flick in space. He says:

  • The best films in this genre are 2001, Solaris (the original), and Alien. Steal horribly if you must but you have to at least pay tribute. Alien, in fact, invented this concept that the interior of space ships has to be industrial, dimly lit, and shot in grey, blue, and green colors. 2001 invented every airlock sequence / jump between two ships that you’ve ever seen.
  • The core of these movies is A) a ship, B) a crew, and C) a signal they receive that changes everything.
  • The beginning of these films HAS to be slow. You establish things and then let the problem creep up on you before all hell breaks loose.
  • Once you establish the characters, “you can kill them in any order you like.”
  • Deprive the crew of their captain first or very early on.
  • Give each character a crisis that they either overcome or are destroyed by (not necessarily killed, but placed on a path of no return).
  • You can hint at romance but no sex or kissing on screen.

I’m going to have to watch it again at some point and take notes so I can quote him in the actual game. Also, I feel like I should pick up some other classics of this genre and watch commentaries by their directors. Ridley Scott in particular seems like he’d have some great things to say.

7 Responses to “Danny Boyle on Geiger Counter”

  1. John Kantor Says:

    No sex? Not even alien-human sex?

  2. Dude, Alien 4? Not a good movie.

  3. Guy Shalev Says:

    Dude. Duuuuuude.

    Event Horizon?

    It broke no new ground, but it’s a perfect example of the above.
    Except it also had red corridors.

  4. Yeah, I think Event Horizon is a pretty good example, way better than Supernova. Also, Pitch Black does something similar, but the “signal” in question is finding the abandoned base, I guess. But also the “chase” aspects of Pitch Black are different than the normal claustrophobia of being stuck in a space ship.

  5. I’m risking my credibility here, but I like Aliens:Resurrection. Now, it’s nowhere near the first two, but I still enjoyed it. In fact, I would argue that it is much more in keeping with its predecessors than Terminator:Salvation is with its first two.

    Anyway. Those are good tips. Are any of these going to impact the next Geiger Counter edition? As someone who’s played the alpha and beta, I’m curious where it’ll go next 🙂


  6. nemomeme Says:

    I thought for a moment that Danny Boyle had actually played Geiger Counter! He is pretty cool so you never know…

    I’m curious too about the next version of Geiger Counter. I plan to run it again soon, but maybe I’ll wait if there’s a new release coming shortly.

  7. Haven’t seen new Terminator yet, but it can’t be worse than T3, right?

    I haven’t started writing the new version yet, much less playtesting it. Honestly, there probably won’t be anything released until I get to Seattle and get a chance to talk with folks there who’ve played it almost as much as me. My thinking right now is that I might do a more focused, board game inspired version of the game next, set in a more specific scenario, like: “mining asteroid” or the Black & Gaunt one which is “fighting zombies in the Hundred Years War.” And then, for the commercial version of Geiger, I’d extrapolate back from that specific scenario to general principles again. But that’s just my current thinking, which changes on a weekly basis.

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