Based in Santa Cruz, CA

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Metareal is an abstract first person open world puzzler. It is closely reinterpreted from an Apple II game of a similar name. As you move through the many rooms of a harshly barren, mechanistic, minimalistic, mysterious, logical, patterned space unfettered by gravity or orientation, you manipulate objects. You can touch them and move them and perhaps there will be an observable effect. The logic is lateral, sometimes indirect... and yet somehow knowable. How does it work? What is this space? What's behind the next door? Is there something you missed before? ...What are you?...



Before the Big Bang, before time, space, or matter, it was necessary for Number to be possible.

1984: Ankh

In 1984 the author created "Ankh or 64 Rooms: An Adventure In The Metareal World". The publisher folded shortly after, and the game's primary means of distribution was among batches of pirated games shared via modem or 5.25" disks. Those who discovered it often felt they had stumbled upon something very, very secret and special.

2016: Metareal

In late 2014 the author began re-exploring the gaming landscape, and was inspired to bring Metareal up into the present. Throughout 2015 he experimented with various graphical forms and design interpretations to promote the original Metareal World from Flatland into Spaceland. At the same time, with the benefit of hindsight, collected external impressions, and acquired wisdom, he finally understood what the original game was actually about.



First Trailer for Metareal YouTube



There are far more images available for Metareal, but these are the ones we felt would be most useful to you. If you have specific requests, please do contact us!


Awards & Recognition

  • "Selected for Indie Megabooth's Showcase at GDC 2016" - GDC, March 14-18 2016, San Francisco

Selected Articles

  • "Ankh is something special. It isn't shallow like most games. Perhaps it came with printed directions, but 15-year-olds (like me) sharing disks over modems wouldn't know. To me, this thing started up with no instructions. It looked like a game of some kind, but the goal was unclear. One quickly learned to do things and go to new rooms, so progress was being made, but was one doing the right things? Continuing to make progress became increasingly difficult, but it was never to the point of being frustrating. My friend and I soon realized that Ankh consisted of many independent automatons. Playing Ankh was similar to programming: by piecing together simple independent things, one could create a chain of events that would lead to a desired result. The next time one played, one might think up a more efficient way to achieve the same result. It was a wonderful puzzle world, richly layered, eloquently executed."
    - Fan Mail in 2001,
  • "I do not know how many others were affected by the game I remembered which turns out to have been Ankh, an early apple II and commodore 64 game which, nonetheless, still remains in my mind one of the most forward looking games i have ever played. of course, the mind was young and supple then… in effect, MetaReal was the Portal pre-cursor, but done in exceptional taste with nothing but blocky multicolor graphix. Im embarrassed to say I think it may have been copied, as in, not an officially purchased boxed set from Datamost, the apparent publishers of Ankh in 1984, because i have never seen the box until now, (pic above). The creator turns out to be David Van Brink a hardware hacker amongst other things. only props go out. They dont make em like they used to."
    - science fiction author A. K. Otterness in 2008, Author's blog, currently down, via Internet Archive

Metareal Greenlight Campaign on Steam steamcommunity.com.

Development blog metareal.net.

Info and download of the old Apple II game dvb.omino.com.

Team & Repeating Collaborator

David Van Brink
Game Author



Monitor the Metareal World on Twitter

presskit() by Rami Ismail (Vlambeer) - also thanks to these fine folks