The Matrix: A commentary on video games or reality?

The Matrix was a movie that was the epitome of what made the 90s awesome. It had cool characters like Neo, Mr. Smith and Morpheus, cooler action sequences and did futuristic technology so well that it made us hope for the future…while praying that the technology doesn’t gain sentience and enslave us as it did in the movies(spoilers, but if you haven’t seen the movie at least once by now then that’s on you). Speaking of the technology, something that caught my eye about it was how intricate it was, having the characters strap on to a machine where their minds are somehow transported the virtual world as avatars that looked like those characters. What made it even more interesting to me as a kid was that the characters, alongside an operator(someone who was outside the machine making sure everything was going well) could alter the reality in this world to do some crazy stuff like stop bullets, run on walls and materialize weapons. It reminded me of a video game…wait a minute. Maybe the movie was also a commentary on video games!

Think about it. What literally described the characters and the virtual world sounds a lot like an MMORPG. The characters literally go around completing objectives, gaining new abilities and fighting enemies that become stronger and stronger. On top of that, the operator acts like a player of these games giving the characters directions, updating their objectives and manipulating the game to make the characters more powerful. On top of that, the technology they use to go into the virtual world looks a lot like an advanced but clunky VR simulation. It’s advanced because it overtakes all of the character’s senses but clunky because of the size of the machine used. This theory could have even inspired the game that came out for the movie. But we don’t talk about that game. Look it had maybe one or two things it did okayishly well but evertything else was so poorly done that the game made the things that made the movie so great just suck horribly. 

But it could also be a commentary on reality itself. Morpheus’s famous line, suggest that might also be the case: “You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”  Literally, the characters and Mr. Smithcan shift reality around in ways that benefited them, like how Mr. Smith created copies of himself to hunt Neo down. In the movie, the evil technology created the virtual world the characters are inside of in order to enslave humanity. Perhaps the movie is saying that the reality we live in is the game world and something higher than us that we cannot see nor completely understand is controlling us giving us objectives, and directing us towards their goals. Maybe we live in a world where we subconsciously take the blue pill through our overconsumption of food and resources and our obsession with social status and material things.  Maybe we need a red pill. Oh crap…I think I need to lay down. 

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