This short film is one of the best science fiction works about virtual reality gaming I’ve ever seen!
The film, titled Uncanny Valley, uses online gameplay as a way to explore the theme of addiction. In its breif 9 minute runtime it manages to effectively cover some of the causes and effects of addiction, and how addicts can be used and manipulated. It also throws in some entertaining CGI action for good measure.
In this near-future scenario, gamers enter the online world via a small device that attaches to the nose. The device itself is probably an analogy for the inhalation of certain addictive drugs. Some gamers spend so much time online that they completely neglect their real lives, rarely going outside, and only leaving the virtual reality construct to eat and sleep. For some, escaping reality is what’s so appealing about the lifestyle; one VR addict tells us:
“I don’t feel comfortable around people, I don’t really know what I should say or do. Game play is just simpler. There’s no people. Just targets.”
This is both an apt analogy for some of the problems we face in today’s society and a frightening vision of the future. If you haven’t already watched it, I suggest strongly recommend you do so now.
OK, so the twist is nothing we haven’t seen before, and neither is this kind of tech. Other sci-fi works have explored the potential uses and societal impact of such technology to greater depth (Caprica and eXistenZ are two that spring immediately to mind). But as a short piece dealing with the dangers of addiction, Uncanny Valley gets everything right.
The film was written and directed by Argentine film-maker Federico Heller for 3dar studios. It is already slated to be developed into a feature length movie.