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Video Game / Virtual Nightclub

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This is a game about time. Transcend time and escape. When sixteen S-Warps scattered through five time zones. Bring them back to the Time Machine.
Timezone Gal

Virtual Nightclub: A Game About Time is a point-and-click PC/Mac video game from 1997. It was originally developed by Prospect Project and published by Philips Interactive Media and Thumb Candy, largely the same team behind Burn:Cycle.

The game is set in the titular Virtual Night Club in Cyberspace, where one of the attending performers has been murdered on stage, and the player must figure out what went wrong while collecting 16 S-warps that scattered across five time zones, all in the span of six real-time hours. Along the way, the player must solve puzzles to collect the S-warps, meeting many colorful dancers and performers in Full Motion Video, including a variety of real-life musicians and artists.

Virtual Nightclub contains examples of:

  • Alien Geometries:
    • From the outside, the nightclub seems to map to a cylindrical tower made of interlocking segments, contrasting the elaborate architecture inside.
    • The Verve Bar has a one-way exit. How does one enter it? By playing a vinyl record in a nearby dressing room.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The scanner at the entrance to the Def Jam club checks for Metal, Words and Music, and you have to leave any metallic items at the door to pass through.
  • Artificial Limbs: Cyberon the cyborg has a bionic left arm.
  • Award-Bait Song: Torch's song, "Playing With Light" only appears in small snippets throughout the game. At the end, when the player acquires a vinyl record with the full song on it, the lyrics reveal everything about Torch's story and the murder mystery, complete with a music video that puts every cutscene in context.
  • Book Ends: The game opens with the player having to click three sides of a spinning cube, which then splits into the 16 S-warps you must collect. When the cube is re-assembled at the end, the player must click the cube three times more to leave the nightclub.
  • Border Patrol: At random, Time Cops will jump in front of you, ask, "You have permission for this zone?" then immediately warp you back to Time Zone 1 if you don't click them first.
  • Bouncer: Cyberon acts as this for the Gallery and won't let you pass without an invitation. Another bouncer guards the metal detector to the Def Jam club, but this one at least gives you the code to the outer door.
  • Coolest Club Ever: One of the few titles to take place entirely in one.
  • Cyberpunk Is Techno: Most of the soundtrack is this.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: Being designed by Olaf Wendt who provided the visuals for Burn Cycle, the entirety of the nightclub is stylized in an abstract 90s geometric style, down to the items you find.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: Three fragments of an invitation must be assembled to enter the Gallery.
  • Faking the Dead: With the use of a hologram, Torch faked her own death to slip out of the club. Her lover Bobby then framed Max for the deed by planting his cane next to the murder weapon.
  • Fantastic Drug: Meme-Active, small metal cubes that some characters can trade for things.
  • Featureless Protagonist: Your character isn't given any distinctive features, and any face can be used in updating their Pass. The only hint is when the Timezone Girl calls you "Android" when you receive your first S-warp.
  • Flying Face: One of the characters is this, named Electric Head. He mainly pops up to steal things from your inventory if not clicked on in time.
  • Give Me Your Inventory Item: Common, but a notable instance of this occurs when the player must give something to a group of Cyberpunks to proceed down a ramp.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: Plays when the General deactivates the Time Machine, making the club darker and more sinister.
  • The Hedonist: Max, the implied owner of the club.
  • Hint System: Timezone Gal can give you hints at the push of a button next to the inventory bar.
  • Hologram: Elevator Girl's profession is this, and Torch commissioned her to build a projection of herself.
  • Hologram Projection Imperfection: Unlike most of the characters, Zip's body jitters when on-screen, complete with a fitting drum beat. It doesn't seem to bother him much.
  • Hyperactive Sprite: Various FMV clips of dancing patrons pop up around the club, with different varieties between time zones.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Silvery form-fitting jumpsuits, marching band vests and elaborate headwear adorn half the people in the nightclub.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: When an hour of the six-hour time limit passes, a Salvador DalĂ­-esque clock appears to show how much time remains.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: For some characters, the player can enter their "Headspace" and hear audio interviews from various artists or musicians, such as a member of Redman and Neal Stephenson. Moving from one headspace to another also acts as shortcuts around the club.
  • Level-Map Display: Miss Timewarp hands you a tracker that shows where you've been in the nightclub, including the various time zones.
  • Minigame Game: Most of the puzzles you encounter are little more than matching games or pattern puzzles, many of them timed as well.
  • Our Time Machine Is Different: The Time Machine doesn't lead anywhere, but acts as a repository for the S-warps. If it's turned off, however, time stops.
  • Playful Hacker:
    • Zip, an occasional patron who trades hardware in exchange for Meme-Active. He may or may not also be the same character from Burn:Cycle.
    • Some of the Cyberpunks are also willing to help upgrade your Tracker on occasion.
  • Plot Coupon: The S-warps you must collect.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: The game's story largely begins when the player tunes into the club's radio station, where a news flash reports the death of the singer Torch. Traveling to one of the Time Zones allows the player to see this, and the rest of the game revolves on finding out who killed Torch.
  • Reaching Through the Fourth Wall: Some characters will randomly hand you items that start as real-life props and end up as sprites in your inventory. Some of them don't look much like what they're meant to represent.
  • Replay Mode: The "Recap" button in the main menu plays the most recent cutscene you saw.
  • Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: The regular clubgoers are all decently clothed, while most of the Cyberpunks have their torsos heavily exposed, with nasty-looking attachments.
  • Sexbot: Cartha, built for pleasure.
  • Shoot the Television: In the Def Jam club, for rappers Cru, Redman and Suga to perform, the player must destroy a group of monitors with a gun that shoots words.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Nearly everyone you meet does this, down to the Navigator who hands you your Pass and first Warp just as the game's started. Some simply fade in and out of existence.
  • Stylish Protection Gear: Cyberon, the Navigator and the General all wear bulky goggles for purely aesthetic reasons. Cyberon actually takes his off and smiles if you give him a certain item.
  • Surreal Music Video: The player can view live performances from real musicians in-game, mostly as rewards for solving puzzles.
  • Video Phone: the various terminals around the club act as this, with the dialing function labeled "Vone".
  • Villainous Harlequin: The Cyberpunks, a gang of rowdy individuals who wear huge masks in this manner.
  • The Voice: Timezone Girl, whose face only appears in a tiny FMV square on the Tracker and in the top-right of the screen. Her general role amounts to announcing whichever time zone you warp to, and the rules of the puzzles you solve.
  • Warp Whistle: Single-use "Warps" can be used to jump to another time zone, and the Tracker can be upgraded to do this as well. Another upgrade later on even lets you teleport to certain areas at will.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In one scene, Max heavily implies this when he confronts Torch in a hallway.