Normally when I review a game or experience in Virtual Reality, I try to add humor and make it really fun. Virtual Reality can take us from the land of the living to the land of the dead, it can take us to another time and it can even take us to another planet. But when I tried Ctrl from Breaking Fourth, it was not what I was expecting. It took me to a time in my life that I tried to forget…that I had to forget to be able to make it. It brought back some emotions, tears, and memories that I had to bury to be able to survive and it made me realize that I had to write this review.
Ctrl is a 20-minute film and it’s not your normal film. The film focuses on the main character named Liam. Liam is in the finals of a chess-like game but with a new spin. It’s the kind of game that kind of reminds you of a Team Death Match and you’re the last one on your team, but with different levels and scenes all while playing from home while others watch. The object is to have the quickest time and if Liam wins, he will get a large winning.
You see Liam even though nervous as he seems has a purpose as you continue to watch. Liam is then interviewed by the hosts of what he plans on doing with the winnings and all Liam wants to do is get a house for him and his mom. You can tell there is a sense of urgency but yet you don’t know quite why yet. Liam doesn’t want to quite say yet as he is afraid he might get caught.
You soon learn that his mom is more hiding the pain then she wants to let on and worry Liam. Then you soon find out why Liam is nervous as his step-father is coming home. (I normally will not spoil an experience, game or film, but in this case, it’s too important not to let more detail be known, so please forgive me.) Liam’s step-father is an abusive mix. He likes to control the situation with abuse, either by emotional and/or violence.
As Liam is playing and trying to get the best time, the story is unfolding as you can hear the conversations through Liam’s stream. It is really powerful and what Breaking Fourth has done to bring this to life is very special, very powerful and needs to be experienced. Ctrl provides emotion and a sensitive subject matter. As someone who came from abuse (keep in mind abuse can be emotional as well) from my parents, I can relate to this subject matter that Ctrl and Breaking Fourth provide. I want to really thank Breaking Fourth for making the ability to heal even after all these years and providing an experience that will allow others to find a way to maybe not being the victim any longer and hopefully opens the eyes to the ones that could really use it.
Virtual Reality gives us that escape from reality, but sometimes it can bring us into a reality that we may not know we were part of either by being the victim or by being the abuser. Sometimes it takes a light like Ctrl to show the skellingtons in one’s closets.
If you or someone you may know that may need some help, please visit the site. Who knows, you could possibly be saving some lives that didn’t know needed saving and giving them one more light. I want to thank Breaking Fourth for making an eye-opener and possibly a place to start a path of healing and forgiveness for some.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I hope we can all learn a little something about ourselves and each other.