Tv Show  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Tv Show  RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Black Mirror Episode "Playtest" Is a Reference-Packed Look into the Future of Horror and VR Gaming Mon, 24 Oct 2016 06:10:41 -0400 Pablo Seara

[Warning: This article contains light spoilers of Netflix's Black Mirror episode, "Playtest"]

British cult TV show Black Mirror is all about technology and the dangers that come with it. Its third season premiered last week with six new episodes, all of which are full of twists and shocking moments. But all you gamers out there might be particularly interested in the second episode, "Playtest". This episode is a thrilling, horrific tale about video games, psychological horror, cutting-edge VR, and our worst enemies -- ourselves. 

Bonus: It's packed with video game references to boot. 

Imagining The Next Level of Virtual Reality

The main character in "Playtest" is Cooper Redfield (notice the Resident Evil reference), an American that leaves his home to travel the world and find himself. After visiting many countries, he ends up in London -- where he meets games journalist Sonja through a Tinder-like app. After a hot one-night stand, Cooper's credit card gets cloned and he is left without money. 

In order to get out of the country and make it back home to the US, he uses an Odd Jobs app to land a beta gig at a well-known game company, SaitoGemu. He's supposed to playtest a revolutionary technology -- an augmented reality chip that gets implanted in your neck, probes your mind for your worst fears, and brings those nightmares to life in an unprecedented psychological horror experience. What follows next is a steady, mind-bending descend into Cooper's psyche and his deepest fears.

References. References, Everywhere.

This is the first time Black Mirror has dedicated an episode to video games -- a surprising fact taking into account that its creator, Charlie Brooker, is a former games journalist (he worked for the British magazine PC Zone) and an avid gamer.

He started playing arcade games when he was just a child, and his favorite game is Doom. You can find tweets about video games in his Twitter account, and both his wife and son love playing with him.

Brooker isn't the only gamer in the making of "Playtest". Dan Trachtenberg, director of the episode (who also directed 10 Cloverfield Lane), is the former co-host of the video games web series The Totally Rad Show and maker of the short-film Portal: No Escape

Both of them are responsible for "Playtest" geekiness, filling the episode with video games references -- starting with the name of the protagonist, who is interpreted by Wyat Russel (son of Kurt Russel and Goldie Hawn).

Beside the direct mention of games like Street Fighter, there are tons of easter eggs thoughout the episode, some subtler than others. The device implanted in Cooper is called The Mushroom and it takes heavy inspiration from the Microsoft Hololens. The character of Shou (the genius behind SaitoGamu) has an uncanny resemblance to Hideo Kojima. And the phrase "Would you kindly open the door?" is a direct quote from BioShock.

We can see Cooper blowing on his debit card as if it was an NES cartridge. Even the atmosphere and themes of the episode are reminiscent of psychological games like Amnesia or Silent Hill.

In a time where video games are starting to get better movie translations, it's really nice to see a show go beyond simple story adaptations and propose inteligent premises about the not-so-distant future of video games. 

Who knows if this is not exacty where we will end up when the likes of Sony or Microsoft continue to develop VR devices? There's no limit to our potential, even if our drive to innovate ends harming us in the process.

Black Mirror season three is currently available for streaming on Netflix.

George Costanza to play a game developer in new comedy Sun, 05 Jun 2016 07:15:27 -0400 Austin Katz

"Just remember: It's not an article if no one reads it." 

The Canandian news outlet, La Presse just announcedSeinfeld's Jason Alexander, AKA George Costanza, will be playing a video game developer in the new video gamed themed comedy, Pinball Wizards.

Alexander's character right off the bat is accused of being "sexist, violent and misogynistic," after the global launch of his video game turns flops. 

The series depicts the world of video game development and is described as being similar to HBO's Silicon Valley, with "a good dose of dark humor."

The article states, Pinball Wizards is being produced by former Ubisoft senior designers, Alexandre Amancio and Mathieu Larivière, with Amancio directing the 30 minute pilot. 

Alexander will be joined by Ryan Belleville, Shaun Majumder, and Giles Panton, whose roles are currently unknown. 

Pinball Wizards was originally shot in Montreal, while under the codename "1UP" and is intended to released Netflix.

The launch date is currently unknown.  


*The article is in French so I apologize for any misquotes. 

(Header image courtesy of

GTA Television Drama on BBC Two Tue, 17 Mar 2015 18:08:55 -0400 Charly Mottet

Grand Theft Auto is one of the most popular video game franchises, and after finding its place in the Guinness Book of World Records (GTA V broke seven Guinness World Records), the series has now made its way to the small screen, but not the way anyone would have imagined!

"[GTA is] one of the most extraordinary, creative and controversial success stories of our time."

BBC Two announced through their Make it Digital campaign that they were planning on making a show about the making of Grand Theft Auto, and not a live-action feature about the game like some would have expected. To them, GTA is "one of the most extraordinary, creative and controversial success stories of our time." All the more reason to make a show about its creation! 

The show will talk about how the development of the Grand Theft Auto franchise worked out at DMA Design, today known as Rockstar North. It will also take a look at the controversial aspect the saga took on. Guy Cocker, co-developer of this soon-to-be show, added in a tweet that:

"[...] it's a 90-minute feature-length drama focussing on the people behind its creation." 

Make it Digital

Make it Digital campaign by BBC

Make it Digital is a UK-wide initiative made for inspiring the creativeness of the new generation. It focuses on coding, programming and digital technology. The new Grand Theft Auto based television drama, being part of this campaign, will be for British viewers.

BBC has not announced anything yet about expanding this to the US for the moment.