Sunday, December 27, 2009

hey guys! let's analyze the "Inception" Mind Crime viral game!

It's been just over four months since the first "Inception" teaser attached to "Inglorious Basterds." If anyone didn't already know, the second teaser can be seen now with prints of "Sherlock Holmes" and on Apple beginning tomorrow, December 28.

Since then, I am aware that more and more details about the film have leaked, such as character names and even more about the actual plot, but (and this will come to a surprise to those that know me to be very info-hungry) I have mastered my desires and kept myself from those spoilers. By contrast, anything that can be divined from marketing materials such as trailers and posters are fair game.

So let's begin! So as not to mince details, I'll be as precise as possible.

The first viral game comes from

When you go to the page, you see the image above, taken from a scene from the first teaser. Upon moving your cursor to the first panel, where the top is, the image animates and follows your arrow as it spins. However, for now the only clickable portion, in fact the only place the top will go to, is the first panel.

From this, it's a safe bet that these panels will be unlocked as we trudge closer to the film's summer 2010 release, representing four main stages for the Inception viral game.

Upon clicking the first panel, you are taken to, literally, Stage 1 (, a web game called 'Mind Crime.' As a quick reminder, the film's tagline is "Your mind is the scene of the crime."

Before we even get to the game mechanics, let's look into the starting image of 'Mind Crime.'

We have a sheet of graph paper, of course, but two pieces of set dressing that may be of note are the top on the lower left and the glass of water in the top left that we've seen before in the first teaser.

With these clues, we can eventually figure out whose shoes we are in when we play 'Mind Crime' by identifying whose top and/or glass of water that is in subsequent virals or trailers.

Now to the game itself:

The game mechanic consists of two main phases. The first phase includes drawing a line between two points: A and B.

When you are satisfied, clicking on the Play button causes a variety of lines to burst out of the original one you drew.

Look familiar?

After the line animation completes, the maze of lines becomes a city, with its paths derived from said lines.

We have now reach the second phase of the game, in which you navigate your character through the maze/city you've created to a goal. Remember those two points you drew the line between? Well, Point A becomes your character's start point and Point B becomes that goal.

Naturally, it won't be so easy, as there are Red Men on patrol looking for you. If you let yourself fall in their line of sight (represented by a circle around them), something of a life meter at the bottom of the screen begins to fill up. If it goes all the way up, you lose.

Think of it as Metal Gear Inception.

Anyway, if you reach the goal, you are taken to a safe, which promptly opens. Originally, there was an envelope inside that you could open to reveal the first poster:

Others discovered that by completing a pre-made maze via another link, the safe contained an envelope containing the film's banner poster:

Now, completing the maze only yields the following screen, yet another spinning top cameo:

Now before we depart from 'Mind Crime,' let's really look into what's going on in the game (albeit with a little bit of 'foresight' from the second teaser in theaters):

Drawing the line creates the city. In the trailer, Leo's character says that "an idea can build a city" over footage of Leo and Ellen watching as the city folds over on itself. There is also another line, much hazier in my memory, in which Leo advises (presumably) Ellen to always think of something different because otherwise he will find them.

We can safely infer that the cities originate from these lines or ideas. Better yet, the inception of these cities are the ideas. Hence, if a crime were to happen in one of these mind-cities, your mind would, in effect, be the scene of the crime.

There is also the matter of the Red Men who chase after you. What happens if you die in a mind-city?

From the trailers and virals, there aren't enough to inform a more full-bodied explanation of the rules of Inception's world. Is it like the Matrix where they are transported to mindscapes via a machine? Or are these people somehow physically in these spaces?

That's all I could take from this phase of the viral but feel free to discuss in the comments!

Now to see Avatar 3D in a real IMAX...
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