What is the Goncharov Game Jam? How a fake Martin Scorsese film became a real video game

Video game adaptations of the films do not have a good reputation. While there are some that manage to live up to their source material, they mostly fall short of expectations. Goncharov is different.

Martin Scorsese’s 1973 cult classic has also been adapted, allowing players to put themselves in “the greatest mafia movie of all time”. There’s only one problem – Goncharov is not a real movie. Not that such a small detail would stop ongoing operations Goncharov Game Jam on itch.io.

Beginner’s Guide to Goncharov (1973)

You may have never heard of it Goncharov, the forgotten magnum opus of acclaimed director Martin Scorsese. Despite having a cast filled with Scorsese’s usual collaborators like Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Gene Hackman, he was snubbed at the 1974 46th Academy Awards and has fallen into oblivion.

At least that’s the story of Goncharov in a universe. In another, Goncharov is a fake movie that took Tumblr by storm after the release of a fake poster. This is our universe.

The history of Goncharov starts 2020 with a Tumblr post of a pair of fake boots with the movie name misprinted Goncharov thereon. Recently, artist and Tumblr user beelzeebub posted a movie poster inspired by this fake movie.

Tumblr took Goncharov and turned it into an ongoing experiment where people post quotes, scenes, fan art, and critical analysis of the film to quickly build the story of the film and its production. Centralized resources like a fake Wikipedia page or the Goncharov Gospel are great places to start your dive down this ever widening rabbit hole.

The latest edition of the myth of Goncharov is a game jam on the indie platform itch.io. Organized by interactive fiction writer Autumn Chen, the jam will feature interactive adaptation of scenes from Goncharov (1973), Works that analyze Goncharov (1973), Games on the metahistory surrounding the making of Goncharov (1973) or anything else that goes with it Goncharov somehow.

That Goncharov Game Jam includes adaptations, meta-comments and critical essays on the fake film.Sophiaden

Highest interactive fiction

That Goncharov Game Jam runs through December 5th and already has five submissions ranging from interactive essays to film-inspired fangames.

Even though Goncharov started on Tumblr, it has already spread to other corners of the web. Archive of Our Own, a fanfiction site whose user base is heavily connected to Tumblr, has over 450 works under the Goncharov Sign. Even the New York Times, which largely ignores the coverage of the internet and fandom culture, has written about the phenomenon. The Game Jam on itch is just the latest platform Goncharov has jumped onto.

That Goncharov Game Jam will be another building block building the world of Goncharov.

but Goncharov itself is already the perfect example of interactive fiction. It’s a game. The goal is to build out the details of this fake Scorsese film, which is accomplished through the mechanics of individuals posting their own additions and participating in a collaborative fandom building. It is a distillation of the experience of fandom and internet culture. But to continue with the metaphor of a game, there is no such thing as a fail state.

No addition is false because there is no objective truth. While there are many things that are generally agreed upon, including specific scenes or thematic interpretations. None of these are facts. It draws on the improvisational nature of Tumblr culture, where you roll with a joke and build it to its absurd end.

Goncharov is many things: a game jam, a forgotten movie, an internet injoke and maybe the best interactive media piece of 2022.

Vice versa has reached out to Autumn Chen for comment but has not received a response at the time of publication.


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