In the days of Downton Abbey, class distinctions were fairly straightforward. There were the folks that owned the Abbey, the folks that aspired to own the Abbey and then those that slaved over hot ovens, spit and shined boots, delivered room service and scrubbed toilets. Today those distinctions have blurred significantly where demographics and psychographics tend to label you by your preferences.
Which poses the question: Could the widely popular Masterpiece Theater hit show, Downton Abbey become a successful video game? Is their target audience the same demographic as the typical gamer who's 18 years old or younger where those between the ages of 8 and 18 per own a video game console? Possibly? Since surveys also show that forty-seven percent of all players are women and females over 18 years of age are one of the gaming industry's fastest growing demographics. Downton Abbey's gender mix is 62% to 38%, women to men - not to say the show is not attracting a growing male audience, or that men don't weep.
Downton Abbey is not a full-blown video game yet, but if gaming engineer Bill Kiley has his way, a Super Nintendo game by the name of "Downton Chippy" could possibly evolve past its first iteration. A trailer from Kiley and his firm Left Coast Digital offers fans some advance motivation to consider buying the debut version of the game.
According to Meredith Blake and her LA Times report, "for children of the ‘90s who grew up playing "Super Mario Brothers." and "The Legend of Zelda," the spoof game is like a double dose of nostalgia: all the peculiar rituals of the British aristocracy as re-imagined in 8-bit graphics, with a hypnotic, synthesized version of the show’s familiar theme song on the soundtrack."
Kiley's game version of the infamous abbey allows players to wander the estate to complete puzzle-game style missions for the various characters on the show. Missions can arrange from fluffing pillows, securing cigars, reading secretive letters or catching the wayward staff in various nefarious activities.
The debut game and a soundtrack that's been re-arranged by John Lunn were released for sale January 25, where apparently you can "name your price" for a purchase. ( Note: don't know if offers less than a buck will guarantee you a purchase however?)
Eight million viewers watched the third season premiere, which added the American aristocrat Martha Levinson, played by Shirley MacLain. This provides Kiley with a wide audience to draw from. But perhaps if he added a few additional missions that appealed to the show's four-hanky weepers, he could offer gamers a chance to rewrite some of the show's most dramatic tear-jerkering moments.
After all, didn't we want to punch out the run-away groom Sir Anthony for leaving Lady Edith in the lurch at the altar, and how about rushing poor Sybil to the hospital, failing short of what Blake suggests: "Pushing Lord Grantham and Sir Philip in front of a speeding train." Now that's a game move that would appeal to both gamers and weepers alike!