Finally sitting down to binge HBO’s Westworld. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a piece on non-video game media that had such a firm understanding of both the mechanics of interactive storytelling and the mentality of serious players (Mamoru Oshii’s Avalon comes in a close second). Ed Harris’ amoral character stands out in particular: he’s not in it for the narrative experience, but to crack the system wide open and find out what makes it tick—much like my brother, who will gleefully sequence break at every opportunity (though even I derive some satisfaction from discovering the overpowered strategies that turn games like The Witcher 3 and Dragon’s Dogma into cakewalks).
Of course, all this has more to do with the world-building than the actual plot or themes, but that added bit of authenticity is greatly appreciated.
[Originally written December 28, 2017.]