I’m wearing my Oculus Rift and some studio headphones. The only input I’m getting from the outside world are the voices of Chris and Andrew as I stare at the rapidly diminishing timer of a bomb. “OK, the last module is a ‘Simon’ board,” I tell them, “the blue light is flashing.”
“Press the green button,” Chris replies, his voice full of confidence.
I oblige. The timer keeps ticking. I breathe a sigh of relief. There’s still time, I think to myself. Moments later I start keying in what I hope will be the final sequence and the timer stops with two seconds to spare. My heart starts to slow down as Chris, Andrew, and myself celebrate our victory. It was our first bomb with a three minute timer and we defused it on the first try. We kind of rule.
That’s pretty much how Keep Talking and Nobody Explode plays every time. The lights come up and there’s a bomb on the table covered with various modules that only the Defuser can see. Their job is to describe what they see as precisely and succinctly as possible to the Experts who have a painstakingly detailed guide giving them instructions to relay to the Defuser. In this game, everyone works and no one quits.
Each bomb is made of several modules of various types. ‘Simon’ boards, wires, and Greek letters are just some of the shorthand terms we made to quickly convey what was going on to each other. Some of the modules are pretty simple to figure out. The ‘Simon’ board, which should be familiar to anyone who grew up in the late 80’s and early 90’s, requires the Defuser to press the colored buttons in a certain sequence which, in my experience, is usually opposite the sequence the board is displaying. Sounds pretty easy, right? That’s just one board. Others have variables including the serial number of the device, the number of strikes, the color of the wires on the entire device, and even what types of ports are on the device.
While all of this is happening a timer slowly counts down to 0:00 regardless of how well you’re doing. Sometimes the counter even ends up on the opposite side of the bomb that you’re working on making for some very tense moments as the uncertainty just continues to rise. Throw in an Oculus Rift and the Defuser is transported to a completely new world. While I never felt like Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker, I never the less felt a definite sense of impending doom as my view was dominated by a little red clock that pitilessly counted down to nothing as it hoped to blow me to hell and back.
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes comes out on October 8, 2015 and I will be picking it up.