For gamers of a certain age, nothing will ever compare to the emotional impact of the death of Aeris Gainsborough at the hands of Sephiroth in 1997 RPG masterpiece Final Fantasy VII. The rawness of the moment was captured by the game’s protagonist Cloud Strife in what must be some of the finest existential angst since Hamlet:
The cycle of nature and your stupid plan don't mean a thing. Aeris is gone. Aeris will no longer talk, no longer laugh, cry… or get angry… What about us… what are WE supposed to do? What is this pain? My fingers are tingling. My mouth is dry. My eyes are burning!
And in terms of sheer shock, there can be nothing to match the revelation in 1998’s Metal Gear Solid that Solid Snake’s mentor, Master Miller, is in fact none other than his evil identical twin brother Liquid Snake!
But I have to concede that the crazy computing power of consoles today means they offer an entirely different emotional experience, especially in moments of heightened tension, and that’s what is captured terrifically in this new film from Adam & Eve/DDB that really gets across the experience of becoming one with the game.
Its grim revelation of a room full of beating human hearts wired up to PlayStation consoles will be highly disturbing to many viewers. But take a moment to remind yourself this is essentially aimed at people who enjoy driving around a fictionalised version of New York, murdering prostitutes.
Brand Sony PlayStation
Agency Adam & Eve/DDB
Creatives Darren Beresford, Richard Gayton
Director Romain Gavras
Production company Iconoclast