Home > Uncategorized > I’m Still Alive, I Cannot Apologise

I’m Still Alive, I Cannot Apologise

So, there was a laser show in London last night to celebrate the opening of The Shard, a great, hulking new building that towers over everything like Sauron’s Tower does over Mordor. The top of the building even resembles said tower.

By all accounts, the laser show was terrible, and watching it on Youtube, it looks underwhelming. It was basically any given lightshow from an 80s themed night club crossed with Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, only without a giant spaceship.

Now, a lot has been said about The Shard, ranging from how it’s a perfect metaphor for London – ugly, oppressive and owned by foreign investors. I could extend that message even further, directly comparing it the oppressive unnamed city from the video game Mirror’s Edge.

You see, Mirror’s Edge has a central structure where the totalitarian government operate from, a place filled with electronic equipment designed to monitor all communications, and where ultimately the lead character, Faith, has to rescue her sister from at the end of the game. Its name? The Shard.

Now, let’s look at some more information regarding Mirror’s Edge. The game is dystopian fiction, set in a very clean and bright city, but this comes at a cost of individual freedoms. It’s a city designed by a committee of graphic artists, a city that underwent a series of massive redevelopments that forced the poor and the “unclean” to the edges, a city that saw massive riots as a result of government dictatorship, and a city littered with surveillance equipment, designed to monitor everybody all the time.

Now, let’s look at London. It’s generally a very clean and bright city, just as long as anyone or anything that ruins this image is pushed to the fringe. Much of London has recently seen redevelopment, with new buildings and structures designed by arty graphic designers. The Olympics arriving later this month have forced the building of a new stadium, but people on benefits have apparently been forced to move out of their homes due to increased house prices in the area and severely reduced housing benefit. Last year’s riots were a devastating, but quite frankly, inevitable result of forcing people onto the fringes. But London has also been the site of numerous protests over the past few months, most notably the Occupy group camping outside St Paul’s. And the Coalition Government is currently trying to give police more powers to read people’s emails without warrants.

Spookily similar, right? I am officially of the belief that the unnamed city in Mirror’s Edge is London, that the game is almost a prophetic warning to Londoners that if they don’t like the way things are, they’d better get their parkour on and run like hell.

Don’t believe me? Background information on the game informs me that the in-game Shard was constructed in 2012. It is currently 2012, and the real Shard is being constructed. The in-game Shard is a large, expensive building occupied exclusively by those who can afford it, much like the real Shard. What’s more, the in-game Shard can be seen in every single level of the game, at any point in the city, much like the real Shard can be seen almost anywhere in London.

Of course, there is an argument that the accents of the characters give away a North American location for the city, and that the appearance is more like Hong Kong or Vancouver than London, but conceptually, it’s officially London.

Time to get running, Londoners. And try and avoid the November Riots if you can. The game says they’ll be messy.

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