While Spike Jonze’s recent film Her imagined many possibilities about the near-future, one of the subtler prophetic aspects of his love story hypothesized the next-frontier of video games, including interactive characters and controller-free consoles.
The movie’s protagonist, Theodore, could possibly even represent the gamer of tomorrow, and his video games of choice are equally futuristic, even if they are technically design fiction and only exist within the movie itself.
The first faux-game in the film was actually created by designer David OReilly. It features a foul-mouthed alien child that guides players through holographic tunnels while hilariously insulting the player. The other video game in Her, designed by Kevin Dart, challenges players to be ruthlessly perfect Moms.
OReilly’s game is physically immersive as well as seamlessly integrated with other tech, including the Samantha OS. As we watch Theodore play, the game feels like a natural extension into an imagined environment. “Perfect Mom” (made at the fake company “Be Perfect”), suggests the gamer profile has expanded to include a much wider and maybe unexpected demographic.
OReilly and Dart are both known to work as directors in the animation world, so it’s no surprise the games have a highly stylized point of view. More than anything, “Alien Child” and “Perfect Mom” together suggest that specialized video games will continue to play an integral role in the future of entertainment.
We emailed OReilly and Dart to find out what it was like to make the faux video games of the future.