Well, in a not so democratic system, I appointed myself. Why? Well, someone had to. Beyond that, the entirety of my professional life has been spent online in one capacity or another. Sadly, as most millennials, so has much of my person life- though I’ll get into that later.
I started on the internet with free hours from AOL and a 14.4 kbps modem. I collected those damn junk mail CD’s and had a dozen user names in my teens. I eventually convinced my parents that an internet connection and blazing 28.8k dial-up speeds were vital for my success as a high school student. I graduated with honors, so maybe I was right? Or maybe the school system I attended was that bad.
When I joined the professional world in the early 2000s, I knew that the internet was the future. However, management was at least 10 or 15 years older than me, if not 40 years older than me, and didn’t embrace the fad. They hadn’t grown up with it. They didn’t use for anything of value. Some maybe saw the potential, but they didn’t understand how or why it worked.
Sense8, the original series on Netflix written by The Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski, achieved something significant. It proved to Hollywood that we don’t need affirmative action in media, but rather compelling roles that accurately reflect the world.
From the studios’ producing the small-screen science fiction drama (which I don’t know if science fiction is the proper genre- paranormal, perhaps?), to the web-based medium in which you watch the series, to the globalization of the cast and cinematography, and finally to a story that uses a full brush to paint with all the colors—Sense8 makes a subconscious effort to show us the future of characterization in storytelling. It’s an important series on the footnote of culture because it finally leaves stereotypes behind. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, from all creeds and cultures, from all genders and orientations, and this series showcases that without feeling like college recruiting brochure spotlighting diversity.
I must be completely out of touch. Everyone raved about Rapture. For a small game it had solid hype leading to its release and scored fantastic reviews afterward, even being mentioned as Game Of The Year or at least making the short list. However, to me, I was so underwhelmed that I searched the internet to have it explained to me, thinking that I had missed some godly revelation along the way. No, I completely understood the proposed beauty of sinking depression. It just didn’t affect me.
Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture is a quirky art-school game where you play as an un-identified first-person discovering an English countryside village where all of its inhabitants have mysteriously vanished. You’re completely alone throughout the entire game to wander and be chilled by the vacant landscape, besides being guided by glowing orb of light. The light ball keeps you on course throughout and is a catalyst that triggers various glowing human-shaped memories of the townspeople. These visions performed by the ball of light are to aid you in piecing together the tragedy of the rapture. The whole story is Tarantino’ed and as you come across new information you’re left to figure out how all these out-of-sequence bits are pieced together.
The combination of Girl Talk and Freeway is unlike anything you’ll hear in Top 40 radio—mostly because the music industry is way behind modern art. Record labels can’t, or won’t, touch Girl Talk because of copyright laws, but I challenge you to argue that Broken Ankles isn’t original work. When does a sample no longer become a sample? You can’t copyright a drum beat or a guitar note, so it must be the arrangement of the music that holds value. What happens when you deconstruct the original arrangement of a song, then combine it with 5 or 6 other deconstructed songs, and create something entirely new? Well, awesome is what happens, but just as the music industry fought the internet, they’re also trying to silence this new emerging genre.
The graphics were mind-meltingly realistic—the facial expressions of a twinge in the cheek or flutter in an eye captured a humanistic element that had never before been accurately conveyed digitally. The story seemed mysterious and heartfelt, while at the same time packed with action. And that was all nothing compared to the truly monumental element that set Beyond apart from everything else; the creators enlisted real-life A-list actors, Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe, and turned their dramatic performances into realistic game characters that could actually be controlled and played.
Beyond premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2013, and rightfully so. This game was a movie, or rather, this movie was a game. David Cage, writer and director, compiled over 2,000 pages of story in his masterful 10 hour choose-your-own-adventure opus with the entire game being constructed around real-life motion capture technology. Every car door slamming, body flying across the screen, or heartfelt tearjerking moment was physically acted out by a human, with his casting being just as critical as it is in a Hollywood blockbuster.