Drowned God

Without question, one of Harry's most intriguing creations was the ground-breaking 1990s video game: Drowned God – Conspiracy of the Ages.

 

And the story behind Drowned God is every bit as fascinating as the brain twisting game itself.

It began in the early 80s when Harry first encountered a Professor Ian Halpke who, according to Harry, introduced him to the theory that human evolution might have been aided by extra-terrestrial intelligence. Of course, given that Drowned God mostly delves into a web of far-fetched conspiracy theories, whether this Professor ever even existed can never be known for sure.

 
 

What is for certain is that the next step in the game’s eventual development most definitely involved a phony.

In 1983, aged just 23, Harry forged and then claimed to have ‘discovered’ a historic diary dated 1846 which was said to have been written by Harry’s namesake, the English poet Richard Horne.

The manuscript was initially believed to be genuine as the date matched the time Horne was alive and the contents reflected the poet’s interests in predictions, prophecies and powerful hidden forces orchestrating global events.  The experts were taken in and the diary was snapped up by an eager Edinburgh Bookshop.

Harry’s hoax, though, was quickly uncovered. Not least because he’d illustrated parts of the manuscript in his own distinctive style.

 
 

Fast forward a decade to the early 90s and everyone is playing point-and-click PC games.

Among the most popular are those like “Myst” and “The 7th Guest” that involved interactive puzzle adventures usually told from the unfolding perspective of the player.

Even though his earlier misdemeanour was now long behind him, it occurred to Harry that his diary manuscript with its conspiracy-theory inspired ideas might easily be the basis for his own version of a game in this exciting new genre.

He immediately set about designing what became Drowned God and the game was developed by Time Warner’s Epic Multimedia Group and published by Inscape.

 
 

As Harry explained in an interview at the time: "The idea behind Drowned God is that history may have been manipulated to hide certain facts that might drastically change the way we see ourselves as a race … that maybe the evolution of mankind was aided or altered by outside forces."

The object of Drowned God was to recover ancient relics by travelling through time to meet both famous figures – some real, some legendary - in order to reveal the true origins of humankind.

 

On its release, the game sold over 30,000 copies in two weeks and its concept and visuals – largely Harry’s own – were widely praised. But its popularity was limited by technical issues and the planned sequel never materialised.

Bringing to a close one of the most colourful and unlikely chapters of Harry’s remarkable story.