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Why this Chernobyl game's graphics baffle players

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Why this Chernobyl game's graphics baffle players

Why this Chernobyl game's graphics baffle players

A Ukrainian computer game that brings to life a town abandoned after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster may not sound like everyone's idea of fun but has attracted 60,000 people globally since its launch in October..

Francesca Lynagh reports.


Why this Chernobyl game's graphics baffle players

Isotopium: Chernobyl's graphics are about as realistic as video games come….

That's because these aren't graphics at all.

(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) CO-FOUNDER OF 'ISOTOPIUM: CHERNOBYL', SERGEY BESKRESTNOV, SAYING: "Many players, who play our game - some for the first five minutes, some for 10 minutes - don't understand that it is not fictional.

They message us saying: 'You have cool textures, you have good graphics, your designer is good, well-done.

You have a cool game operating system.'

We reply to them: 'It is not an operating system, it is real', and the player can't believe it.'' What players see on their screen is a real-life, 180 square-meter model of the ghost town of Prypyat near Chernobyl - the scene of that catastrophic nuclear accident 33 years ago.

With the help of Google Maps and hundreds of pictures from the area, the two co-founders recreated the main landmarks... ... and placed real robots, equipped with cameras and computers, on the city's abandoned streets - to be remotely controlled by players around the world, becoming their avatars.

It's all very creepy.

(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) CO-FOUNDER OF 'ISOTOPIUM: CHERNOBYL', SERGEY BESKRESTNOV, SAYING: "Sometimes, players ask: 'Let your huge, giant Chernobyl monster come out'.

Then our administrator puts on the costume, puts on gas mask, goggles, gloves and walks out.

And all players cheer: 'Here he is.

He came!'

.... And it is such a hilarious scene." It costs $9 to immerse in the atmosphere of this post-apocalyptic town for an hour but only 20 people at a time can play simultaneously.

Since its launch in October 2018, the game has attracted 60,000 people globally.

The robots cost about $500 a pop.

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