In real life, Downton Abbey is a salad-fork-on-the-outside dressing room drama from Britain, whose most dramatic moments involve snobbery (deflected, deferred or delayed).
But in Bill Kiley’s world, Downton Abbey is a video game — for Super Nintendo.
Kiley recently released his vision of the Abbey-as-sidescroller on YouTube. In it, you assume the role of a new footman at the manor, completing quests in the form of running minor errands or sussing out small scandals.
The best part of Kiley’s video is his detail: He’s taken the many-roomed wealth of the show’s estate and flattened it to Castlevania-lite, tossed in slow-scrolling text and scored the whole thing with a chip tune theme song (which is available for download).
But Kiley’s Downton is a loving skewer, we think. Why else would you fluff pillows for the privilege of reading about Bates — and who would ever believe that the Dowager Countess would misplace 35 of her jewels? It’s madness in 8-bit.
UPDATE: Bill Kiley said the video came out of his realization that it was the “best combo” between two things that have lately on his brain: “It just seems like everyone my age is really into Super Nintendo and Downton Abbey right now.”
It started with the theme song, with Kiley giving John Lunn’s theme the chip tune treatment, and then grew from there, taking only a few really late nights to finish. Most of the animation and graphics are pulled from only a few sources, including “Clock Tower” (where a mansion is a main setting) and “Home Alone 2,” which contributed both the player’s footman character and the pillow-fluffing maid.
Although Kiley said he is a fan of Downton (a loving skewer-er after all), he isn’t sure that taking the project any further — as some fans have already suggested — is such a good idea: “I don’t know if that’s what anyone really wants. I don’t know if you would really want to play it.”