Virginia (2016), an interactive 1st person movie

Virginia is not a game. I hesitate to even call it a walking simulator (then again some hesitate to call those games). The most apt term I can think of to describe Virginia is an interactive movie. By that I don't mean something Telltale does, as they do to me feel more like games where as Virginia, while it lets you control some things in it, works more like a an animated movie with cuts which go from scene to an another. Don't get me wrong, as for what it is, Virginia isn't bad of an experience, but if you are buying it, expecting a game, not a silent movie that lasts around 90 minutes, you might be very disappointed.

The story begins with a woman staring herself from a mirror. That's you, Anne Tarver, and your most immediate emergency is to put on some lipstick. After that's done you walk through a hallway, only to end up in a line, which slowly moves as a woman shows a sign to a next person in lne. Then  it's your turn and the woman gives your cue to walk on a stage, where you are congratulated and presented with an FBI badge. Congratulations, agent Tarver. The scenes begin to jump: you go to FBI director and get a file, then it jumps to an another hallway, you walk it and end up in an office of an another agent Halperin, whose file you got from the director. She's your partner in a case of a missing kid. And this is how the narrative goes: a short scene in a car, an another segment in the house of the missing kid, at some local caves and so on. All this is done in silence as no one talks. There's music and sound effects, but no speaking at all.

The story itself isn't what it seems. The missing kid case is just surface and never really gets resolved as it's not a story about agents looking for a missing kid at all. There's no detective stuff, at least much. It's a story about ambition and choices. See Halperin is your case, but you don't really investigate her either more than you investigate yourself, Anne Tarver and how she feels about choices she makes and you see very little of. Virginia offers glimpses, not a coherent story. It takes from Twin Peaks, Mulholland Drive, Ereaserhead and other Lynch stories. It's abstract and even a bit surreal and in the end you most likely go "what the hell did I just see?"

Virginia is laced with atmosphere, which is made with stylized graphics, animation and a cinematic sound track. It is an interactive movie experience, fully portrayed from 1st person view. Again, I want to underline it, it's not a game nor is it even a walking simulator despite you do walk quite a bit in it. It has very little actual freedom, as you go where the director points you to go. You can look around at places, but that gives very little, it's all about sticking to the narrative for what ever end.

If you can get Virginia on a good deal, I think it's a worth a look. It's not long, clocking around 90 minutes, but if you think of it as an interactive movie, paying 5 bucks or so of it isn't that bad of a deal. Considering if you like it or not, it even has some longevity if you want to dig the story a bit deeper.

Virginia is available through GOG and Steam. And I do believe it's for consoles as well.