You are The Darkness at the Brink of Ohio

Microcelebrity is horrifying, especially in Akron

You are The Darkness at the Brink of Ohio
Credit: Michael Croteau

ENNIE award-winning game designer Banana Chan’s new game The Darkness at the Brink of Ohio, is a multimedia solo TTRPG experience about watching your favorite blorbo turn into an eldritch horror from beyond the abyss. 

The prolific designer is known for crafting games with experimental storytelling experiences that tackle themes all-too-familiar to creators in the tabletop industry. While her previous game Forgery explored the social and creative pressures of being an artist in a highly insular space, Brink of Ohio contends with the horrors of being hypervisible to a small, engaged audience and the parasocial complications that scrutiny can entail.

For DJ Mike and his audience, it’s a parasitic relationship on both sides; The listeners need the validation from DJ Mike and DJ Mike needs the attention from his listeners.

The player acts as one of three characters (the Clinical Lab Tech, the Gas Station Attendant, or the Security Guard) working the graveyard shift in the Akron, Ohio suburbs. You pass the time by listening to your favorite local microcelebrity: late-night radio host, DJ Mike on 106.6 The Brink. In the journaling portion of the game, players respond to prompts as they witness the supernatural descent of DJ Mike.

Similar to Cassi Mothwin’s Sticker Game, the solo TTRPG element of Brink of Ohio is paired with a curated soundtrack and corresponding full cast radio drama. As stated in the project’s initial announcement on Rascal, both the soundtrack and radio drama features a cast of familiar voices from across the tabletop and actual play industry. 

Rascal sat down with Chan over email to discuss her inspirations for the game, their process for incorporating the multimedia elements, and why the reality of microcelebrity and parasociality lends itself to a horror game. 

This interview was edited for clarity and flow.

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