GAMING

Creating the Bahnsen Knights Universe – A Love Letter to Old-School Games and Pulps

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  • LCB Game Studio’s third Pixel Pulp, is out now on Xbox.
  • Unique interactive fiction experience merging 20th-century ‘Pulps’ with 80s game aesthetics.
  • A captivating fusion of undercover cop drama, supernatural beliefs, and tornado-chasing road trips.

Bahnsen Knights is the third Pixel Pulp released by LCB Game Studio. A Pixel Pulp is our own way of understanding interactive fiction, trying to bring together two distant elements such as the genre narratives of the early twentieth century— the so-called ‘Pulps’—and the computer games of the 80s, with their limited palettes and with a whole history of possibilities ahead as a medium.

But what we term “Pixel Pulps” is not mere nostalgia; it’s a glimpse into a past that might have been.

History of Bahnsen Knights

In Bahnsen Knights, players assume the role of Boulder, investigating the disappearance of a fellow Agency member by infiltrating the Bahnsen Knights—a cult led by Toni, a former used car salesman. Toni believes that hell is above us, and tornadoes are the devil’s doing. With his Bahnsen Knights, Toni drives his Sierra to conduct ‘road exorcisms’, as a way to fight F5 tornadoes.

As with all Pixel Pulps, Bahnsen Knights aims to craft a gripping narrative experience reminiscent of stories published in pulp magazines from the first half of the 20th Century—stories that refuse to release their grip on readers.

BK screenshot

Art of Bahnsen Knights

The starting point was the color palette of the ZX Spectrum console, limited to six colors plus black and white with two levels of brightness. Although the palette can be strident when used in its entirety, this is part of its charm and nostalgia.

To create distinct identities for each game, we reduced the palette to a couple of colors for each Pixel Pulp. Drawing parallels with magazine printing techniques—mixing small dots of two colors to create the illusion of a third color—we aimed to achieve this effect.

In Bahnsen Knights, centered around an undercover cop, saturating everything in red felt appropriate, creating a continuous sense of alertness. Combining it with magenta gives the visuals a vibrant neon 80s quality that complements the story perfectly.

BK screenshot

Input in Bahnsen Knights

Our Pixel Pulps use a choice-based input system, extending beyond choose-your-own-adventure decisions to control mini-games. In Bahnsen Knights, this is no different. This system not only aligns with certain game genres we love but also allows us to experiment with game design elements such as time, muscle memory, and reflexes. And like our other Pixel Pulps, Bahnsen Knights includes a variant of a solitaire we designed… Cross Solitaire!

Time in Bahnsen Knights

Time is a crucial element that enhances the gripping nature of the story. As an infiltrated agent, Boulder is always on the verge of discovery, leaving no room for rest.

Experimenting with quick-time events, counters, and other game design resources, we aim to break the passivity of reading an interactive fiction, where time is usually on the player’s side—one of the achievements of the game has to do with this, specifically with the reading time… can you unlock it?

BK screenshot

What Could Have Been and What Might be

Our Pixel Pulps – rooted in pulp-like narratives, pixel aesthetics reminiscent of a 1980s that might have been, and a control system that allows itself to experiment as if the video game industry hadn’t already calcified some design practices – are not products of a past we yearn for, but of a past yet to come. We hope you enjoy discovering this little universe of ours!


Xbox Live

Bahnsen Knights

Chorus Worldwide Games




$9.99


In a world of religious fanaticism, F5 tornadoes and Ford Sierras you are Boulder, an undercover agent. Your assignment sees you infiltrate the Bahnsen Knights, a deadly, supercharged cult with an enigmatic leader. In this murky and dangerous world you must keep your wits about you and stay alive to unravel the mystery behind an old friend’s disappearance.

Who are the Bahnsen Knights?
The Bahnsen Knights are the fastest cult in the land. Powered by religious fanaticism and supercharged Sierras they follow their charismatic leader Toni as they unleash hell upon earth. What are their aims? Why are they performing ‘route exorcisms’ and babbling about ‘miracles on the road’? And adding to the enigma: Why are they holding paranormal investigator Lou Hill captive in a trunk?

An enigmatic leader
The Bahnsen Knights’ highest authority, Toni, is an ex-car salesman preaching that Hell is not below but above us all. He was being investigated by agent Cupra, one of your oldest friends in the Agency. But now Cupra’s gone. Does Toni have something to do with his disappearance?

An undercover agent
You thought you had seen everything in all your years working for the Agency, but this assignment is something else, something personal, something darker… and it scares you. Will you be able to keep it together for long enough to uncover what happened to Cupra and take down Toni and the Bahnsen Knights once and for all? Danger lies around every corner and every conversation. You just need to stay alive!

Features
– Immerse yourself in the story with its rich, branching narratives and evocative illustrations
– Decide the fate of characters in ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ style gameplay
– Earn the trust of the Bahnsen Knights to survive the investigation
– Piece together more of the interconnected world of Pixel Pulps
– Accessible, brain-tickling puzzles throughout the story… including the return of solitaire!

A Pixel Pulps adventure
Bahnsen Knights is a standalone experience and the third in the Pixel Pulps series of interactive adventures. Created by novelist Nico Saraintaris and artist Fernando Martinez Ruppel, Pixel Pulps fuse exceptional writing and stunning illustration, inspired by mid-20th century pulp fiction and 80s home computer graphics. The first volume comprises three games: Mothmen 1966, Varney Lake, and Bahnsen Knights.

Bahnsen Knights, like all the Pixel Pulps, is made to be played by anyone who enjoys fine storytelling.

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