Top 5 Twin Peaks Video Game References
So, you might have heard that David Lynch and Mark Frost are bringing their acclaimed series Twin Peaks back to television a quarter of a century after it went off the air. Consistently rated one of the best television shows of all time, the small town full of darkness was cancelled in 1991 when ratings faltered after ABC network executives demanded Lynch and Frost reveal the identity of Laura Palmer's murderer and the show stumbled for an identity afterwards. The series finale ended on a cliffhanger, with Kyle MacLachlan's Agent Dale Cooper returning from the mysterious Black Lodge as a possessed and evil doppelganger.
Debuting on Showtime in 2016, Lynch and Frost confirm that this will be a continuation of the series set in the present day, which works for the show as Cooper saw a vision of himself as an old man in the Lodge. Much of the cast is expected to return, though no formal announcements have been made. Series villain Killer BOB may be out as actor Frank Silva passed away in 1995.
In addition to just being great on its own, Twin Peaks was highly influential. Lost, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The Killing would not exist if Twin Peaks never had. Over the years, it's even found its way into video games, and today we look at some of the times it did.
Day of the Tentacle The acclaimed and wonderful sequel to Maniac Mansion is chocked full of geek references. Star Wars gets several shout-outs, as does Mr. Ed, but there's also a sly reference to Twin Peaks.
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Once you get the unconscious Dr. Fred back into his lab after dealing with the IRS, Bernard has to wake him up. You see, Fred's been awake for two straight years to avoid a nightmare about opening his safe, so Bernard switched Fred's coffee with decaffeinated to put him to sleep in order to watch the sleepwalking mad scientist open the safe on the security feed. Video games were... different back then.
Anyway, once rescued Bernard puts a funnel in Fred's mouth and gives him regular coffee, causing him to wake up and bounce all over the lab like a super happy fun ball. Finally awake he says, "Damn good coffee," one of Dale Cooper's most famous lines.
Final Fantasy IX The last PS1 entry in the legendary franchise is also full of nods to famous geek outings. Lines from Star Trek appear, and the final boss Necron lifts the entirety of Yoda's "fear leads to anger" speech in his final monologue. There isn't however, a Twin Peaks reference.
In the game, I mean. However, there is one in the official Prima strategy guide, which went down in game history as one of the worst strategy guides of all time because it made you look up half the information on the Internet (which is the exact opposite reason that people buy strategy guides in the first place) so you're forgiven if you missed it. There's a point in the game where you're looking for the hidden village of the Black Mages, and the only way to find it is to search for a dark place in the woods where even the owls don't go.
The guide tells you that when you come to a fork in the woods, head the direction where there are no owls, and eventually you will reach the village. The title of this section was "The Owls Are Not What They Seem", which is a quote from the giant in Cooper's dream. He was trying to warn Cooper that Killer BOB could inhabit the owls in the woods.
Silent Hill And then there are games that don't just contain references, but are themselves so full of nods to the show that they might as well be spiritual successors. The first among these is the Silent Hill series. The concepts of the Black Lodge and the Otherworld are very similar, and both contain doppelgangers. There's a scene in both the show and the first game where drugs are hidden in the gas tank of a motorcycle. The dynamic between Mary and Maria in Silent Hill is nearly identical to that between Laura and Maddy in Twin Peaks.
There are also more subtle nods. In the picture above from Silent Hill 3 the legs of two girls are sticking out of red curtains. The Black Lodge is bordered by similar red curtains, and is know for hosting doubles. There's also an overturned wheelchair with a single spinning wheel in the hospital basement that is reminiscent of a similar shot in the second season of Twin Peaks
Alan Wake Honestly, Alan Wake is probably the closest we'll ever get to a mainstream Twin Peaks video game. It's set in a small Pacific Northwest town called Bright Falls that is over looked by Mirror Peak. Like Dale Copper, Alan eventually confronts his dark doppelganger that plans on replacing him, and both titles speak about a hidden darkness in the woods. Hell, Alan Wake is even more structured as a television show than a video game.
It's the little hints that are dropped that really sell it. The Oh Deer Diner in Bright Falls has the exact same layout at Twin Peak's Double R Diner, and the waitress uniforms are similar as well except for the color. Collecting 25 coffee thermoses unlocks the achievement "Damn Fine Cup of Coffee". There's even a counterpart to the show's famous Log Lady, Margaret Lanterman. In Alan Wake there's the Lamp Lady, Cynthia Weaver fulfilling a similar role.
FBI agent Nightingale is for all intents and purposes Cooper in disguise, right down to his name. "Nightingale" is a Julee Cruise song featured heavily in the show, and Nightingale uses micro-cassette recorders like Cooper does. There's even a reference to the Bookhouse Boys, Twin Peak's secret society that fights the darkness that can be seen by examining the cardboard cut-out of Sheriff Sarah Breaker.
Deadly Premonition As much as Alan Wake dips into the lore of Twin peaks it's still just an homage. There's plenty of the game that's dissimilar enough to set it apart. Then there's Deadly Premonition. It started life as Rainy Woods, and as you can see from the trailer above more than half of the characters and shots are lifted directly from Twin Peaks.
There are dwarves with weird speech patterns, a bumbling deputy that can't stop crying at murder scenes, a diner, another stand-in for the Log Lady, drugs in the motorcycle gas tank, an abandoned train car where a bad event happened, a cross-dressing law enforcement officer, and even the music you here in that trailer sounds like it came off of a crumbled up piece of composition paper from Angelo Badalamenti's trashcan.
After several critics wrote scathingly of how ripped off of Twin Peaks Rainy Woods was, the makers scaled back the references and renamed it to Deadly Premonition. Character models were changed to less overtly resemble Dale Cooper and Michael Ontkean's Sherrif Harry S. Truman.
What eventually came out was a video game that was revolutionary in some of its mechanics. What other title can you think of incorporates the wages of every employee working in a diner as part of their schedule of movements and where the maker's traveled to America to measure railroad ties and weather patterns in order to get them exactly right? To this day it holds a Guinness World Record for the most critically polarizing game of all time, brought about by its avant garde attention to detail, expertly crafted world, and disturbing, violent imagery.
In other words, the kind of game a Twin Peaks fan would make.
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