Forky Asks A Question

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We recently had the chance to watch Toy Story 4. Afterwards, I asked Wyatt what part of the movie he liked the best. He answered, none of it. Made me laugh. I couldn’t have agreed with him more. While a touching end to Woody’s story, I’m not sure why Pixar decided to make another Toy Story movie.

On the flip side, Disney+ has been releasing Forky Asks A Question shorts every week. If you haven’t had a chance to watch these, I can’t recommend them enough. Wyatt especially likes the ‘What is a Friend’ short.

“What? No!”

If you have Disney+, make an effort to check out Forky Asks A Question.

Take a Flying Leap, Robot

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Will Robinson found a robot. He saves the robot’s life. Will and the robot are now friends.

Netflix’s Lost in Space reboot later reveals that Will’s robot is a killer and the reason the Robinson’s are now stranded. Despite this dramatic revelation, Will loves the robot for who it is now. He fights for the robot to be accepted by his family and fellow survivors.

The story seems to communicate that the robot, a highly advanced artificial intelligence, is learning to be good. But after an incident where the robot tries to protect itself from an attacker, flinging Will’s dad across the room in the process, Will makes a drastic decision.

A Boy and His Dog

I keep seeing articles and comments that Will and the robot’s story are similar to a boy and his dog story. Stories that make me think of:

  • Old Yeller
  • Sounder
  • Where the Red Fern Grows
  • Even Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur

The problem with saying that Will’s relationship with the robot is like a boy and his dog story is that the robot is an advanced AI. An AI capable of thinking and perhaps even feeling on some level. When Will commands the robot to walk off a cliff, therefore killing the robot, Lost in Space takes a big poop in the story pool. Flushing half a season’s worth of “the best part of the story” (as Wyatt puts it) down the toilet.

Having a young boy suddenly see no hope for his robot friend and ordering said friend off a cliff is dark. Even darker, having the robot looking at Will, knowing what Will is ordering it to do, and doing it anyway. I have no doubt that the writer’s are trying to set up an “evil robot” storyline down the road… but really, suicide as the only answer in a family show? This is dark and gross, Netflix.

“Danger, Will Robinson!”

Indeed.

Florence

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Out of Melbourne, Australia, developer Mountains has crafted an interactive story about love and life titled Florence. Florence features an exquisite mixture of stylized graphics, music, and creative gameplay mechanics. The end result is what I’d best call a Pixar Short Film experience in video game form.

My most favorite part of Florence were the way emotions were conveyed through gameplay. When Florence first meets her boyfriend, her conversations with him are presented as puzzles. A complete the puzzle to continue the conversation sort of thing. In the beginning of her relationship, the puzzles have more pieces/are more complex. As the relationship matures, there are not as many puzzle pieces to put together as communication has become easier.

I enjoyed my time with Florence. Even though I’d say that the story is slightly predictable, the execution is flawless. Check this out if you get a chance. Florence is short (30 minutes) and sweet.

5/5 – Florence is one of those video game experiences you need not miss.

Title: Florence
Developer: Mountains
Platforms: iOS and Android
Reviews on: iOS/iPad
MSRP: $2.99

Mazurka – A Ghost in Italy

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I first experienced the power of Twine during the opening of Campo Santo’s Firewatch. The stirring combination of text and sound reduced me to tears in moments. Who knew a videogame could capture the weaponized emotional power of Pixar’s UP?

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Across the Internet, there exists a man I only know as Nelson. I first came across him while he was mixing videogames and the Bible. Now, he creates games in Twine.

Nelson’s latest game is titled Mazurka – A Ghost in Italy. This interactive work of fiction is an invitation into the surreal. A late night experience in a place both foreign and familiar.

Mazurka – A Ghost in Italy demonstrates the power of the Twine platform. Allowing the player/reader to transcend the text and share a brief moment with a friend. I was surprised at how personal the game is; how quickly I was sucked in.

I want to invite you to take the journey too. You can do so here.

Wave Splinter* Mazurka – A Ghost in Italy was reviewed using a code provided by Nelson.