Tales from the Minus Lab

There are wonders to discover right under your nose

Embark on a journey through the worlds hidden within a single room in Tales from the Minus Lab. Shrink down to the size of an ant and grow back to human size freely as you chart a course through the hazardous waters of a baking soda volcano and scale the windy heights of an air conditioning duct. 

Manipulate

At larger sizes, interact with the world around you.  Pick up objects, open cupboards, move chairs, operate a microscope, or pour jars of chemicals to create a chemical reaction!

Adventure

At smaller sizes, adventure through the fantastical worlds you discover. Beware the gale winds of the air conditioning ducts or scale the dangerous cliffs inside the walls. At your smallest sizes even the surface tension of chemicals is no match for you- walk on water!

For example, if you were standing next to this cork board trying to get to a high shelf…

Align the tacks…

Then shrink down and jump across your path!

Weight and Strength

As you change size, your weight and the weight of objects you can carry are affected. To use a double pan balance as an elevator, grow large enough to place items onto the other side and shrink down to be carried to your destination.

Narrative Premise

You are the pragmatic teacher’s aide, Kiara, in the exuberant chaos that is Ms. G’s middle school science class, faced with a tornado of a mess to clean up before the science fair starts tomorrow. Little do you know that Ms. G. has made a monumental discovery of tiny proportions and is now at risk of shrinking into oblivion! Put that scientific method to work by manipulating the world around you at larger sizes and adventuring through it at smaller sizes, absorbing some of Ms. G’s playful sense of scientific discovery along the way. 

|Transport the player to far away worlds without ever leaving the room

|Provide meaningful differences in sights, sounds and gameplay when the player changes size

|Place importance on all sizes

|Engage the player with strong characters and narrative stakes

History and Future

Tales from the Minus Lab is a first person game that began its life as a student project at USC in 2011. The academic prototype was released for free online for PC, where it received an honorable mention in the IGF Student Showcase in 2012. This reimagining takes the core concept and learnings from the academic prototype and mixes in some new ideas, creating a brand new full game to be released commercially for PC/Console and potentially VR platforms. It is being developed in Unreal 5.

Reception
Academic Prototype, 2012


“I love how the game brings the elements of exploration and puzzle…. I particularly loved the exploration aspect, seeing what little worlds existed” -Gamingmodreviews
“Quirky and ingenious, Tales from the Minus Lab displays the kind of fun and ambition you rarely see in even professionally made games”- G4TV
“Moooooore!!!!!! I need more of this deliciously mind bending gameplay!!!!!!” -YouTube user Ted Wilkes
“Please make this into a bigger, more complete game! It has the same feel of promise that Outer wilds [sic] has!”- YouTube user Radocruz
“Anyone else just fall in love with this game for some reason?”- YouTube user FATDINOSAUR1997

Concept Art by Shalan Ertis

Diagrams by Sarah Scialli