Apocalypse Begrudge Tempestuous: A Solium Infernum Diary


Solium Infernum! An all-time classic game of treachery, backstabbing and deceit, where up to six archfiends battle for control of the empty throne of Hell. The original 2009 version was designed and coded by a solo dev called Vic Davis and burned brightly in certain corners of the internet before fading away shortly afterwards; however, it clearly made an impression on somebody because this year has seen the release of one of the most inexplicable remakes in videogame history: an all-new version of Solium Infernum, with 3D visuals, overhauled game mechanics and a dedicated server for handling asynchronous multiplayer games.

(I say it’s inexplicable because a remake of a 14 year-old indie game which had a pretty niche playerbase even in 2009 doesn’t really have much of a chance of making its money back. I would love to have sat in on the greenlight meeting for that one.)

I wasn’t originally intending to buy the remake. I played Scrofula in the RPS game, so I have extensive prior experience of just how much brainspace Solium Infernum can take up as you plan and scheme and collude with and against the other players while trying to clamber to the top of a pile of skulls. I didn’t think I had that kind of time any more. But then my friends all decided to hurl themselves headfirst into the abyss, and I was curious about the remake, and so five of us ended up spending a three week period in March tearing strips out of one another. And the more I played it, the more I got into it, until I eventually decided to record the latter half of the game for posterity in another diary.


This diary will unfortunately suffer from the remake being limited in some crucial ways compared to the original: I didn’t start keeping detailed notes (or screenshots) until turn 25 (out of 50), and unlike the original game there’s no way of replaying a game — or even an individual turn — once it’s done, so I can’t go back and make them retrospectively. This means that the first half of the game recorded in Part 1 of the diary is a bit light on detail, which can’t be helped; however, it also means that everything past that point is a contemporaneous record of my thought process as I played through each turn, which becomes increasingly paranoid and unhinged as the game progresses.

I’ve split the diary into five parts, mostly because the full thing is over 17,000 words and it’s a bit much to expect people to read all of it in one go.

Oh, and about the diary name: the remake gives each multiplayer game a quick identification code made up of three random words picked from an appropriately ominous-sounding dictionary. Ours was called “Apocalypse Begrudge Tempestuous”, which ended up feeling extremely apt.

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