Immortality: A Game of Clips and B-Roll

I never thought that scrubbing through “old” video clips and b-roll footage can be a game, but Sam Barlow has once again showed that there are so many ways to present gaming experiences.

In Immortality, you discover short clips from a previously budding actress: Marissa Marcel. She recently disappeared and now you’ve got an opportunity to investigate into 3 of her unreleased films and a lot of b-roll from each of those movies. The story itself is already intriguing. Why did someone as determined and charming as Marissa never successfully release a single movie? What led to her disappearance from Hollywood entirely?

The 3 films you’ll explore take place in different years. Ambrosio is the first movie and it is filmed in 1969. Minsky is Marissa’s second film and it comes immediately the year after in 1970. After a gap in her acting attempts, Marissa returns to the spotlight in Two of Everything in 1999. But ultimately, none of these films make it into public release.

While there is a chronological order to her films, the way in which you’ll uncover clips or b-roll from them are anything but. One of the key mechanics in the game is that you can zoom into things within a scene and it’ll take you to another clip that has a similar object that you now can “discover”. You’ll soon find yourself with a lot of clips that slowly piece together what happened in the movies and also behind the scenes.

A second mechanic that the game employs is scrubbing. Much like how you’d rewind back a tape, you can reverse a clip to rewatch it—or… discover something else. To avoid spoilers, the rewind mechanic comes in very handily and might also give you a jump scare or two. I’m a scaredy cat, but you don’t have to worry too much about these jump scares. The first time it happens, it’ll catch you very off guard. But you’ll get the hang of it soon enough.

I loved playing Her Story, and this game is also by Sam Barlow. I think Sam manages to stretch using games as an interactive and visual storytelling medium in innovative ways. The aesthetics of Marissa, as well as the three films are very fun to digest. I think Marissa has such old-school charm and I was pretty captivated upon finding some in-game clips of her speaking on a late night talk show. Her mystique also helped encourage me to keep digging at her story.

I will say that I found Her Story easier to piece together than Immortality. Even after finishing the game, seeing the credits roll, and then still going back to try to unearth extra clips, it was a more convoluted story than I thought. What helped was visiting the r/ImmortalityGame subreddit and reading through some of other people’s interpretation of the story. It also helped when you see people asking or talking about certain scenes that you may not have been able to find in your journey.

It’s super hard to write vague enough that I’m not spoiling this amazing experience for anyone else. So all I can say is that if you’ve got a time to kinda watch 3 movies while also discovering a bigger plot in motion, please try out Immortality! It’s available for free for Netflix subscribers on your phone, or on consoles and PC. I played on my phone and I’ve heard it’s actually easier to play on other platforms since the zoom in mechanic works a little different. There’s a bit more guesswork with the phone!


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