8 March 2011

Great Depth: the Particulars of an Inception Game - by Joannes Truyens

Inception. A great movie by a great many standards. It gleans elements from a wide variety of genres and skillfully combines them into something that carries enough weight to become more than the sum of its parts. Its far-reaching appeal has naturally led to an enormous outpouring of articles and discussion, not in the least geared towards theories about what it all means. A subset of such articles focuses on the relation between Inception and videogames. It should therefore come as no surprise that Christopher Nolan himself has announced an intention to craft a game based on/in the Inception universe, and this article looks at the way in which it lends itself exceptionally well as a blueprint for a (certain type of) adaptation. 

While a more obvious and seemingly opportunistic take on the relation between Inception and videogames, one needs only to examine the following piece of dialogue to understand why it warrants this kind of scrutiny.

ARTHUR
You’re going to have to master a few tricks if you’re going to build three complete dream levels.

ARIADNE
What kind of tricks?

ARTHUR
In a dream, you can cheat architecture into impossible shapes. That lets you create closed loops, like the Penrose Steps. The infinite staircase. A paradox. A closed loop like that will help you disguise the boundaries of the dream you’ve created.

ARIADNE
How big do these levels have to be?

ARTHUR
Well, it can be anything from the floor of a building to an entire city.

If one were to go through the Inception script and replace every instance of the word “dream” with the word “game”, it couldn’t get spelled out more clearly than that. “

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