Future Shock is an ambitious and intriguing new Second Life Machinima series produced by Pryda Parx, the first episode of which was released on You Tube on September 16th, 2016.
“Future Shock is set in a dark future world where technology is designed to keep everyone safe and secure. At least that’s the way it is meant to be,” Pryda told me as we discussed the concept and the evolving series. “A place where technology dominates and where real life and virtual worlds intertwine.”
Unfolding over nine episodes, the story is told in something of a non-linear manner. Individual segments run to around 4 minutes each, unfolding part of the story, but as Pryda notes, “to get the most out of the audience will need to pause, rewind and revisit previous episodes; there are a lot of subtle connections between episodes which will not be apparent when first seen.”
This is the case with the first segment, IP Credit, in which we are given a view of what appears to be both the real and the virtual as they intertwine. We know nothing of the character(s) we see or anything about the environment or what is going on. There is clue to the immediate events we see in the episode’s tag-line, but how the scene fits with the rest of the story arc is something we’re going to have to return to and consider later.
“I wanted to make something for the interactive YouTube generation,” Pryda says of the series. “Something to entertain, but also to provoke debate on technological and social trends and to explore what the future might actually hold.”
A further striking element of the series is its presentation. Outside of the virtual realm, the world is predominantly monochrome: dark skies, dark pavements and floors, grey walls, grey people. Where colour is used, it tends to emphasise the presence of technology which, as we see as the scene unfolds, perhaps isn’t entirely benign. Dialogue is also minimal (and non-existent in the first segment, although the language can be strong when it does occur in later segments), a technique which further draws the audience into the unfolding story.
The first series has taken Pryda around a year to put together; work which unsurprisingly has required her involvement with a lot of tools – Blender for modelling, GIMP, Audacity for the distinctive audio, etc. The remaining segments will be released on YouTube at two-weekly intervals, with the last release occurring just before Christmas. There is also an introductory teaser, which can be seen here.
Nor does it end there. “There is a lot of background content and a coherent framework for world in which the story is set, ” Pryda told me. “Much of this background will play out over the two series following the first.”
So, if you’re on the look-out for a new and quite stylish sci-fi, which intertwines a number of themes in a unique style and approach, why not give Future Shock a go? The first segment is embedded below, and the series can be found on Pryda’s YouTube channel.