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Mirror's Edge

Entry updated 2 April 2015. Tagged: Game.

Videogame (2008). Digital Illusions CE. Designed by Thomas Andersson. Platforms: PS3, XB360 (2008); Win (2009).

Mirror's Edge is a platform game (see Videogames) which is displayed using three-dimensional graphics. Unusually for a Videogame which depends on the "platform" mechanics of jumping and climbing, events are seen from the protagonist's perspective rather than from an external view. The setting is a totalitarian Utopia, a nameless future City whose people have given up their freedom in exchange for security. This is not a grim Dystopia; this is a happy city, depicted in bright primary colours, but it is still a place where dissent will not be tolerated. The player character, Faith, is a runner, a courier who works for clients who do not want their messages to be monitored by the servants of the state. Faith and her terminally hip fellow runners are all skilled in an art resembling parkour, a French sport whose adepts treat urban structures as an obstacle course to be jumped over, scrambled across and rolled under. This allows the runners to use the city's rooftops to make deliveries, evading the security forces. The game's story, scripted by Rhianna Pratchett – daughter of Terry Pratchett – is a simple, human one with an entirely linear structure (see Interactive Narrative). When it ends not much has changed, suggesting that a sequel may eventually appear.

Throughout the game, players must aim for a fluid state of constant motion; many experience an exhilarating sense of flow. While combat is sometimes unavoidable, the gameplay is more about flight than fight. Nevertheless, it seems ironic that a game so concerned with freedom should have such a restrictive structure, in which the player must follow the pattern of the plot through a pre-planned sequence of environments, always choosing one of the few routes which can be successfully run in that particular place.

Related works: Mirror's Edge 2D (2009 Borne Games, Web) designed by Brad Borne is a two-dimensional platform game, loosely based on the original work. Another variant, Mirror's Edge (2010 IronMonkey Studios, iOS) designed by Jarrad Trudgen, is similar. Mirror's Edge (2008-2009) is a six-issue Comic series which acts as a prequel to the original game, written by Rhianna Pratchett. [NT]


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