Augmented reality can blur the lines between reality and fictional worlds. But, our fascination with combining both has us continuing to push the limits of what we can produce with augmented reality. So if a new game was created that allowed you to create the perfect pet or dream life, would you want to play it? Well, in Strange Beasts the main character not only created this game but also created his ideal specimen.
Written and directed by Magali Barbe, Strange Beasts serves as an advertisement for a new augmented reality game called “Strange Beasts.” Victor Weber who is the founder of the game tells the audience about it and how it works. He also introduces them to Walter, one of the virtual pets he created, and explains how beneficial having a pet can be for your mental health. But, the advertisement takes a startling turn and the audience soon realizes the game has become Weber’s reality.
In the beginning, Weber appears to be a normal entrepreneur who is eager to share his work. He is dedicated to his creation and has put a lot of thought and effort into creating the best user-friendly interface. It’s vital to him that his future customers have the best interactive experience. To show how interactive the game is, he takes a moment to introduce his audience to Walter. The audience watches Weber play with Walter and change his outer appearance. Watching Weber play “Strange Beasts” feels extremely realistic and makes the audience eager to create pets of their own. He is extremely convincing and able to put the audience at ease when he reveals you can only play the game after getting a special piece of technology put into your eye. Like all good salesmen, he knows exactly what to say to sell his product and to earn his customers’ trust. After he talks about the Nano retina technology needed to play the game, things take a weird turn. This is when the audience notices Weber may no longer be able to tell the difference between reality and the game world.
It’s easy to see how this has happened. Some of the virtual pets you can create resemble animals we could never own as pets like octopi. While others look like creatures we might have dreamt up as children. There’s a bit of fantasy and wonder attached to these pets and the audience can understand how someone can be consumed by this game as they explore the depths of their imagination. This game allows its users to step away from their lives and focus all their energy on creating the perfect pet. The users control every aspect of their pet down to the specific shade of blue the skin should be. Combined with the special eye technology, the game feels so real that reality becomes a blur. It wasn’t until the camera panned away from Weber that the audience remembered Walter wasn’t really there. This type of technology is already in our future. But, how long will it be before our realities become completely warped?
Strange Beasts is an imaginative and thought-provoking film that will make you question how far we are willing to go to create our ideal worlds.