Night of the Cephalopods (2008)

Night of the Cephalopods is a survival horror game with old school pixel art graphics and an innovative fully voiced dynamic narrative system.

The game begins with a man lost in the woods having mistakenly summoning legions of preternatural octopi through a mistranslation of the Octinomicon, an eight volume set of books with mysterious power. Now you must fight till dawn with only your shotgun and a handful of shells. Throughout the game your status, the actions you take and the locations you explore are narrated back to you in the style of classic horror master H.P. Lovecraft with full high quality voice acting.

Night of the Cephalopods was originally created during the third round of the Artsy Games Incubator, a six week event where Toronto artists help each other learn how to make their own games.

Requires Windows XP or better. Full gamepad support including rumble on Xbox360 Gamepads.

Its success is based on both the quality of the writing and the unexpected timing of the narrative tidbits... ...If the breathless voice of the Lovecraftian scribe fills you with glee, then this is most certainly for you.
— Ross Rosenberg - Ectoplasmosis!


...your actions are fully narrated by the protagonist’s voiceover. The poor fellow is, it seems, trapped in a Lovecraftian fiction, and he tells you all about it, from your failure to reload, to missing your shots. He’s going mad, and you have to hear about his plight. Well worth playing, if just for those bleak comedic utterances.
Jim Rossignol - Rock Paper Shotgun

Video With Developer Commentary

Spoiler Alert!!!
Most of the fun of Cephalopods is hearing the narration for the first time and discovering what actions will trigger unique responses. Unavoidably this video gives some of that away. However If you've already played the game and want to know more about it, I've added some optional commentary on what went into creating it.

NotC’s gameplay feels deliberately slow, and claustrophobic, which adds weight to the dreadful narrative.
Derek Yu - TIGSource


Are there plans to create a full game out of NOTC?
We have returned to the world of Cephalopods in other games and will defiitely do so again however there are currently no plans to expand directly on NOTC. As you can tell from the 'preview' on the title screen there were plans for an expanded version of NOTC, however we were busy on other game projects at the time. Since it was released in 2008 the sort of audio heavy storytelling techniques used in it have also become more common.

Will there ever be a Mac/Linux version?
Unlikely. As much as we'd like to have it available for all operating systems the older version of GameMaker it was created in doesn't easily support porting to Mac or Linux.

I'm Getting an "XINPUT1_3.dll not found" error / My gamepad isn't working.
You'll need to update your copy of Direct X from here.

The game doesn't quit when I hit Esc.
This is an intermittent issue with newer versions of Windows and games created with GameMaker 8 and earlier. You can still exit by hitting Alt+F4.

Nice title, but I’m sorry, it’s Windows only, so no way will I ever sully my gaming muscles to play it..
— Noted biologist P.Z. Myers - Pharyngula

Blog Entries Mentioning Night of The Cephalopods


Miguel Sternberg: Writing - Code - Art - Sound Design
Scott "Pirate" Moyle: Voice Acting

The sound effects and soundtrack use audio from and are used under a Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 License. These sounds were created by the following people:

Music by: Dan Oberbauer, Connum
Various sound effects use samples by:
AaronGNP, Shades, Wolfsinger, vibe_crc, HardPCM, digifishmusic, sverga, tigersound, adcbicycle

Created using Game Maker 7.0 Pro

In addition the following 3rd party dlls were used for sound and Xbox 360 gamepad support:
GMXInput.dll by Yellowsix
supersound.dll by tsg1zzn