Also published in Movie Time Guru
Some people say we’re all connected, all part of a bigger picture; some harmonious flow, endless and meaningful. Maybe that’s how it looks from a distance; but up close, with eyes open, I see no evidence of some spiritual choreographer at work. No, I see nothing but random fractals of a selfish, queenless hive.
Exert of the opening narration suggesting that the player is an omniscient, “spiritual choreographer”
WARNING I try to keep it to a minimum, but there are still spoilers.
For the last two weeks, I have been playing a game called late Shift. Late Shift is the first CtrlMovie, which is a sort of choose your own adventure game. It originally came out in April of 2016. About a year after that, it was released on steam; the game looked interesting, so I bought it. I found multiple parts of the game, and its platform interesting, and I wanted to share them.
First time playing
All of everything that everyone has told me to always do if I was ever in a situation like the main character was in did not work. I felt as if the game was forcing me to fail.
The night after I completed my first time through, I thought about what I chose for what the main character to do. I decided that next time, I would be the bad guy; give into the game, and make the wrong decisions.
Second Time Playing
In the opening scene, the main character is confronted by a man who is asking about a train. The game gives you the ability to either help the man, or try to get to your train. If you help the man, you get on your train just in time. If you do not help the man, you miss your train.
I concluded that, because I had seen both options by my second time, that the game was trying to trick you into making the decisions that you are taught to make. My idea of making bad decisions was enforced even more.
I played through a second time, making all of the wrong decisions. I ended up in the same place: helpless, and abandoned.
Yet still, I was determined to find a good ending; I wanted, above all else, to live happily ever after.
Third Time Playing
I decided to not be good nor bad, but to use my experience to try and get the best possible outcome for me and me only. I used my knowlage of the outcome of certain choices to try and get a preferable outcome.
That did not work either, I found myself, yet again, helpless and abandoned. Actually, I ended up dead; which is worse.
I did not think about the game for a few days after that, I was too frustrated to do so. I then realized: I was not supposed to play that game multiple times.
I had a difficult time coming by this concept; it seemed so weird for there to exist a game that was not meant to provide unlimited entertainment. The game was in its own application, it was very confusing to have an object so temporary to be in the same position as other, always permanent objects.
I looked up the names of the companies in the startup sequence, and one returned a very interesting result: CtrlMovie. CtrlMovie is a… thing… that aims to make interactive movies that can be played with audiences, and with only one person. I think that interactive movies are an excellent and a perfect way for video games to be realistic until graphics cards are good, and cheap, enough to support lifelike graphics; it is also easier on the developer, because there is less room for bugs.
I have high hopes for the future of CtrlMovie. Their website seems to imply that there are more interactive, choose your own adventure movies to come. They have an application (that I could not find anywhere) and they will also help you film.
If there are more movies to come, there definitely needs to be an application that is one centralized area for all of the control movies, and not an application for each individual movie.
Specific Problems With Late Shift
I noticed that as I played the game, some of the actions that the main character took were not the actions that I would have taken. For a game that wants the player to control everything, it seemed to be doing the opposite. The game seemed to assume that I had fallen in love with Mei-Ling, which I had not.
In general, there was not enough variability in the choices you could make. The only differences were what clips were played; you could get to any outcome no matter what choice you made for the first 75% of the movie.
I played through the game multiple times, and each time, I inevitably ended up, later in the movie, in the same spot as all of the other times I played through. I found that I was again, not controlling everything; There was no red pill-blue pill choice that decided my outcome; I was not choosing my own adventure, but I was left thinking if me playing this game was any different from seeing it in a cinema, or on Netflix or whatever.
In order to make the movie more changeable, there needs to be more footage; but recording movie-quality footage is expensive; however, the extra cost is worth it, I will pay more for a game that I can play twice, and have a different experiences in, than a game that I can only have one experience in.
The low graphics requirement also allows for almost anyone to play the game; not those with fancy several-thousand dollar computers.
Late Shift is a game, by itself, I would not recommend because it is no different from seeing an actual movie; but the choose your own adventure movie is an amazing concept, which needs to be invested in and developed.