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Jon Bishop

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January 30, 2013 - 11:00 am

The Super Nintendo and the country house — now, there’s a combination I don’t think anyone has ever imagined. According to Vanity Fair, Bill Kiley decided to bring Downton Abbey back to the 1990s and turn it into a game modeled after those of the now-defunct SNES.

Julie Miller writes:

Kiley began by simplifying the show’s theme song down to a video-game-befitting synthesizer remix. Over “a few really late nights,” the Downton buff culled images from video games including Clock Tower to mock up the resulting excerpt. By assuming the role of a new Downton footman, players are asked to complete several tasks from Lady Mary (spying on Mrs. Patmore to see if she is trying to poison Matthew), Anna (“If you can fluff five pillows in 20 seconds, I will let you read a letter from my jailed husband”), and Robert.

In dialogue that is spot-on for Super Nintendo (but might make Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes cringe), Lord Grantham asks, at one point, “Footman, I require assistance! I have misplaced 10 of my most cherished cigars . . . I have guests coming over for a fancy cigar party. Without them, I’ll be ruined . . . I need you to explore the estate and the surrounding grounds for my fancy cigars.”)

It seems like retro, eight-bit mock games are in right now. They’re all over the Internet. What’s interesting is this: they seem to be popping up — the same can be said of shows like Downton Abbey — as we continue to fly toward that elusive, seductive place called “progress.” I think this is a playful signal from the culture. It’s saying: Whoa. Uh, pump the breaks, please.

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Related at PJ Lifestyle:

7 Times Downton Abbey Has Jumped the Shark

5 Covert Conservative Lessons in Downton Abbey

Jon Bishop likes to write.
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