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firebottle

Did the creator of Mr. Robot, Sam Esmail, play Alternate Reality?

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Don't know why it took me this long to make the connection, but one of the main characters is named "Phillip Price", the author of the game.

 

According to wikipedia, he was born in 1977, so... maybe.

Edited by firebottle

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18 minutes ago, Albert said:

That's....interesting.  Maybe you could ask him?  :)

 

 ..Al

Wish I had that kind of access...

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Just now, Sugarland said:

Seems possible. The Matrix series have connections to the same game, AR.

In what ways?

 

 ..Al

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On 11/6/2019 at 9:16 PM, Albert said:

In what ways?

 

 ..Al

In the way that the writers of the Matrix stole Philip Price's idea, of humans being held in capsules unconscious to the real world and living in a virtual world. The only difference being Aliens are doing it in AR and people are in a fantasy world and in the Matrix it's machines and the virtual world is based on our real life world. 

Edited by Gunstar

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1 minute ago, Gunstar said:

In the way that the writers of the Matrix stole Philip Price's idea, of humans being held in capsules unconscious to the real world and living in a virtual world. The only difference being Aliens are doing it in AR and people are in a fantasy world and in the Matrix it's machines and the virtual world is based on our real life world. 

Sure, it's a similar theme, but I was curious if there were more specific references. 

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21 minutes ago, Albert said:

Sure, it's a similar theme, but I was curious if there were more specific references. 

Well, as mentioned, it's in the AR faq.

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Just now, Gunstar said:

Well, as mentioned, it's in the AR faq.

I looked in one AR FAQ, but missed any mention of the Matrix.  If there's nothing specific, I will just assume a casual connection based on the themes of the movie and game.

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1 minute ago, Albert said:

I looked in one AR FAQ, but missed any mention of the Matrix.  If there's nothing specific, I will just assume a casual connection based on the themes of the movie and game.

There is a story Philip price recounts in one of the faqs and it's too long for me to want to repeat it here, which I'd probably not get right anyway, unless I went and found the faq and copied it. And i don't feel like it.

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2 minutes ago, Gunstar said:

There is a story Philip price recounts in one of the faqs and it's too long for me to want to repeat it here, which I'd probably not get right anyway, unless I went and found the faq and copied it. And i don't feel like it.

Yeah, I'll go take a look again, thanks. :)

 

 ..Al

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1 minute ago, Albert said:

Yeah, I'll go take a look again, thanks. :)

 

 ..Al

He also spoke of it, in part or entirety in that long, old thread of AR here on AA.

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Well,

 

since I cannot find Mark Wieczorek's webpage anymore, I am so evil to post his original text here. NOTE: It's a long text to read, so all "TLDR" fans carry on, nothing to see here... ;-)

 

(I copied/downloaded the text from his webpage, translated it into german language and published it in Abbuc magazine with his permission several years ago. But errm, I did not ask for his permission to post the text here and hope he does not mind... if someone finds his webpage again, post a link, please...)

 

-----

 

"Alternate Reality" and "The Matrix"...

 

Part 1: Alternate Reality: The Video Game
In 1983 a video game was released that would change gaming forever.
In 1999, a movie was released that changed movies forever. Was it a
coincidence, or are they somehow related?

 

Nobody can be Told what Alternate Reality Is. You're kidnapped. Sucked
out of your apartment as you're getting ready to leave for the day by
some sort of alien beam. You remember waiting endless hours, maybe
days on a strange ship as it hurtles through space. You pass out. The
next thing you remember is waking up in front of a giant archway with
numbers scrolling across the top like a giant slot machine. When you
walk through, those numbers freeze in place. You wander the streets of
The City for days, trying to survive. Some things are the same as back
at home - you can walk into a bar and make friends, put your money in
the bank, and haggle with the store owners. The sunsets are stunning,
and there's a waterfall in the distance that intrigues you. But some
things are different. You're aware that the colors here aren't like they
are back home, and in the back of your mind you're still aware of those
numbers. Magic works here! You can get flaming magical swords and even
learn to cast spells. Then you discover a secret - a smooth plastic
access card that doesn't belong in this world and gives you access to
the fourth level of the Dungeon via a secret elevator. Robots and Aliens
wander these metallic corridors, and you find a control room with
surveillance equipment.

 

Months later you forget about the aliens and the control room, you've
gained status by fighting in the Arena, and even own land now in
The City. You've even been invited to The Palace, but The Wilderness
still calls you. You want to see that Waterfall. Hidden in the depths of
a cave behind the immense waterfall that can be seen even from the city
is a metallic door requiring a pass card to enter. Once open it reveals
corridors gleaming with technology far beyond our own. Further
investigation reveals a room that has immense windows/portals and a
view, a view into space. Searching further this immense ship you discover
a chamber filled with metal cocoons. Using wit and knowledge gained
through other locations you decipher the controls and the display. You
learn that these cocoons hold bodies, the bodies of all of those captured.
The machines keep the bodies physically alive and fit, but imprisoned.
The minds of those entrapped are tapped and fed with images. The ships
computer can even permit the images to interact with solid/material
components of the ship. You are an image. What is reality? Your body
lies in a cocoon. Your mind sees what the image sees. What is a soul?
What is experience? You experience, you feel what this image you have
been controlling since you kidnapping feels.

 

This isn't the plot for the next Matrix installment where you explore
an earlier fantasy version of The Matrix, it's the plot for a video game
that first came out in 1984. Alternate Reality was conceived, designed,
and programmed by master-programmer and game designer Philip Price.

 

"The idea behind AR was a place to entertain but also to enlighten/educate
oneself. I desired to have as realistic of a world possible, but still
a world that was filled with the unknown. I knew I couldn't do it in
one product so I plan to develop it through a series. Your characters
had free will, and by the end of the game, you had many choices you
could make. In the end you are left with many choices, continue to live
in your image body, a nearly immortal life, but knowing that these
aliens have done this to you and can watch, feel, experience whatever
you do whenever they want. You are their entertainment. They have become
jaded by luxury, power and knowledge and use lesser beings to regain
some of the passions of life. You can cut off this channel, though they
may also destroy the ship, or earth. You can escape in a smaller ship
than the entertainment world and go back to earth (hoping to evade the
future capture ships these beings send to gain more 'entertainment'. You
could destroy the planet [and hope that they are not a multi planet race]
You can take the entertainment world (that was orbiting the alien's
planet) and bring it back to earth to let the scientist learn from it
[and hope the aliens don't trace it]. You could blackmail the aliens.
You could sell out humanity. You could try to bluff them. There are many
choices, life isn't easy and some of the most important decision are the
hardest to find a best answer in..."

 

The Matrix similarities continue. In The Dungeon you get advice from an
Oracle (though in Alternate Reality the Oracle is a flaming eye). You
meet someone they call a Wizard, but who is actually someone who's
hacked into the computer. Since he wasn't run from the computer, he was
not traceable. (Morpheus?) The Special Agents eventually capture him,
however and lock him in a prison. He gives you this access card, which
has been hacked to avoid their security sensors. You rescue another
wizard named Ozob from a prison, and he teaches you how to slow time
so you can attack faster and defend yourself better. (Bullet Time?)
You cross the river Stonz into the land of the undead and defeat seven
warriors. Each, undefeated for hundreds of years, calls out "Are you the
One?" upon being defeated. Once through, you meet an undead king, a
previous lord of Alternate Reality (shades of the Merovingian?)

You are vaguely aware of being inside a computer. The numbers at the top
of the screen are a constant reminder of this as you are conscious of
them. If you figured out the Architect's speech at the end of Reloaded
you know that everyone in The Matrix is also vaguely aware of being in it.


In The Matrix, the world of the Matrix is sickly green, and the real
world a warm yellow. If you haven't caught it, the Machine World is
blue. In Alternate Reality the colors are also different, and are also a
reminder as to the true nature of reality. Nighttime is actually black
and white, and this isn't because of the limitations of the game (if you
saw the graphics, you would believe me), and is featured in the lyrics
of one of songs "the nighttime comes, they take the colors of away."
If you try to copy or otherwise tamper with the game, you're confronted
by FBI Agents in suits who you can't escape from and are impossibly
strong. In other words, if you try to change the master program, Agents
come after you and won't let you continue to exist inside the program.

 

Part 2: The Matrix Online: How Deep Does the Rabbit Hole Go?
Okay, so a game from the 1980's had premise that was similar to The
Matrix and a few similar characters, big deal. Well, the developer of the
game claims that he had a conversation with "two brothers in Los Angeles"
about this game in the mid to early 90's. By the late 90's there was a
strong interest in this game, and he started working on the sequel:
Alternate Reality Online. Just as Alternate Reality took CRPG's to the
next level, ARO was going to take online gaming to the next level, and
it would continue the saga of people trapped in a computer world, just
beginning to realize this, and what they would do about it.

 

He started shopping around, and a gaming company called Monolith picked
up the idea and started collaborating with him on it. They even created
a web site, aro.com , which is no longer up, but is still owned by
Monolith (you can tell because the name servers point to Lith.com).
Several months later, they dropped the idea, and sent him packing. He
says he didn't give them all of his ideas, but they did get quite a few.
Now The Matrix Online is coming out, and guess who's developing it.
That's right, Monolith. At some point, I think, even if you're skeptical,
you'll have to admit this is an awful lot of coincidences...

 

"I did talk to two guys while at a restaurant in Westwood [In LA , near
UCLA, it's the core of Hollywood]. I explained to them AR and it
storyline, ideas and the Hollywood movie Dark City similarities to some
of it and it's differences [i.e. things I think they did wrong in that
movie that made it a bomb in the box office]. They listened intently,
and one of them remarked to me (as they smiled to each other) was that
"ideas can't be copyrighted". Matrix came out a few years later, I very
much doubt they were the two brothers who came up with Matrix, but it
made me wonder after Matrix came out. Technically the idea of being
deceived into thinking one's environment is one thing, when it is
actually another has been expressed in Science Fiction for decades
before I used that core concept. Those books by great Science Fiction
authors probably is where I got my kernel of an idea...!

 

Part 3: Digression: Dark City, The Thirteenth Floor, Bound,
Simulacra and Simulation...
Incidentally, James McTeigue, who was the First Assistant Director for
all the Matrix movies was the Second Assistant Directory for Dark City,
and the rooftop scenes at the beginning of The Matrix where Trinity is
running from the cops & Agents is a recycled set from Dark City. So
what's Dark City about? It's a surreal movie where each night, everyone
passes out and the city and their memories are re-arranged. The whole
thing is very strange. Dark City is actually based on Daniel Paul
Schreber's book Memoirs of My Nervous Illness. A strange nightmarish
book where the doctors sort of invade his reality, and he believes he's
been chosen by God to father (mother, actually, God had to change his
gender) a new race. Freud treated Schreber and found his case so
fascinating, he wrote a book about it called The Schreber Case.

 

Another movie that explores this virtual reality theme is The Thirteenth
Floor, which I won't talk too much about because I don't want to ruin it
for you. I highly recommend both movies, along with the Wachowski's
previous work Bound to all Matrix fans. Finally, there's the book Neo
uses to stash his computer programs, which he can be seen sleeping next
to the first time you see him, and the book Keanu Reeves was required
to read before he even read the script, Simulacra and Simulation (The
Body, In Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism), which talks about
how our modern world alters our perception of reality - your perception
becomes reality - what is The Matrix?

 

Part 4: What Made The Game So Good ?
All right, so you know it has a plot like The Matrix. Now add free form
and non-linear play deeper than Grand Theft Auto, and constant character
related challenges like The Sims (you got hungry, thirsty, tired, cold,
etc.). Sprinkle in some RPG elements, innovative use of graphics and
audio (truly mind blowing for the mid 80's), and you come close to
Alternate Reality. We never got to know the full plot, but parts would
reveal itself during game play, a bit like Alice falling down the rabbit
hole. Characters you met would allude to the truth about your situation,
give you access to advanced weaponry, and teach you tricks about your
environment.

 

Walk in to a bar in The City, and buy a round for the house. You might
make a few friends and if you're ever down on your luck, head back to
that tavern and someone just might buy you dinner. Each bar has it's own
music, and regulars. Oh, and you might want to come in from the rain,
and from the dark, that's when the unsavory elements came out and you
may run in to a mugger, or a mind flayer. The sun sets slowly, changing
the sky from bright blue to deeper and deeper shades of purple, and the
sun shimmers in the distance. Eventually the sun goes down and the world
goes black and white. Or it might rain. As you explore The City, you may
stumble on a healer's (better mark that down on the map) or a Guild, who
can teach you tricks to improve your strength, intelligence, or stamina.
Then you can wander in to The Dungeon, home to a generations old war
between the trolls and goblins. Will you befriend one and betray the
other? Or will you betray both to get the magic ring? Or maybe you'll
join a guild. There are over a half dozen, each with their affiliations
and grudges. Be careful, betray someone, and they may send assassins
after you.

 

Of course, assassins aren't the only thing that can kill you in AR. You
can die of starvation, or exhaustion. What happens when you're too hungry
to pick up a sword and fight or too tired to cast a spell? You can be
cursed by someone you kill, or diseased by an infected animal, or by
hitting the jagged edge of a wall. Healing curses and diseases are
expensive. To do so may mean going without rest until you can get some
more money. You walk around first-person shooter style, though you can
only turn at 90 degrees. The walls and buildings gradually got closer or
farther as you walked towards or away from them. The walls weren't static
images, they'd get slowly closer and clearer. From what I hear, the
developers of the 2nd installment, The Dungeon (Dan Pinal and Ken Jordan)
could've made a game that didn't turn at 90 degree angles, but wanted to
keep the flavor of the original. I don't even know how many years this
pre-dates Doom by.

 

Another amazing thing about this game was the sound design. When you were
in town square, it was noisy, if you entered a room off the main square,
the first thing you notice is silence. That's when you really notice just
how noisy this game is. The game creator understood the importance of
sound in a video game well before anyone else - in the same timeframe,
Lucas Arts was being applauded for making a game where a knock on the
door was used instead of a visual clue (Rescue on Fractalus / Behind
Jaggi Lines).

 

In Alternate Reality, there were many non visual clues, if you got near a
smith, you would hear the clink clink clink of his hammer hitting the
anvil, and the occasional SHHHH of water hitting a hot sword. His hammer
strokes were steady, but realistically intermittent as well. A small
melody played whenever you met someone to clue you in as to their
alignment. Different kinds of doors made different sounds. Again, this is
in an era where a dwarf attacking a dark elf in one game sounds basically
the same as car crash in another game, or a gun shot in a third game.

Sounds in this game have a unique quality to them because he designed a
sound module that created richer voices than the simple sine, square, and
saw waves that were being used by games at the time. He worked with
composer Gary Gilbertson to add some truly outstanding songs. The
introduction alone is a 5 or so minute music video, starting with an
alien ship coming down and kidnapping people, and continuing with the
ship taking off into space, and a star field (similar to the MS
screensaver that was so popular a few years ago, but with spinning stars
as well) and lyrics. In the bars, taverns, guilds and chapel there were
also songs. I've heard of people whose musical tastes were influenced
by these games. I feel silly admitting it, but after wandering around
The Dungeon for days (probably both in real and game time), I wandered
into the chapel, and the soft melody almost brought a tear to my eye.
I guess it's no wonder I grew up to be a musician.

 

You also never chose your alignment, like in most fantasy RPG's of the
day. Your alignment evolved over time. You became more good or evil
depending on your actions and not some decision you made when you were
creating your character. Am I the kind of person who gives money to the
homeless, or am I the kind of person who kills them to advance myself?
You would even gain a reputation that was unrelated to your alignment.
You could be evil, but have a code of ethics and you would be known for
it. Spend too much time with the unsavory elements in The Dungeon, and
you start to have nightmares.

 

Similar to Grand Theft Auto, you define your own plot and work towards
your own goals. Even when the game was finished, I would still play
because I wanted to save up enough money to get a custom sword, and to
have it enchanted. I would want to kill the great dragon, and carry off
all the money I could carry. Though once I did, the economy in The
Dungeon would collapse and everything would become more expensive.
You can play Alternate Reality today on Emulator. We have permission
of the creator - Philip Price, who is the copyright holder. We also have
permission from the folks who developed the 2nd installment, Ken Jordan
and Dan Pinal to play that. You can learn more by visiting Rob's Original
Alternate Reality Homepage which houses the FAQ. If you're a fan of the
game and want to join an active community, check out the Alternate
Reality Mailing List. My own small fan page is designed to look like
you're playing the game, and I have downloadable files to help you get
going. (Quotes are from Philip Price.)

 

Part 5: The Third Eye, The Terminator and The Matrix
Speculative Fiction writer Sophia Stewart submitted a manuscript to be
turned in to a comic book in the early 80's. This script, called The
Third Eye was about a technological future, where it was prophesied that
a man would be born who would overthrow the machine world. Naturally,
the machines want to prevent his birth, and fight him every step along
the way. Does this sound familiar? It should, becaues it's the basis of
not only The Matrix, but The Terminator as well. Sophia Stewart
successfully sued Joel Silver (the producer of both Terminator and
The Matrix series) and the Wachowski Brothers for copying her story.
According to some sources, the Wachowski Brothers regularly referred to
her manuscript while making the Matrix...

 

Keywords:
Alternate Reality The City,
Alternate Reality The Dungeon,
Atari 800XL, Atari 800,
Commodore 64, Amiga,
Great Wrym
The Original Alternate Reality Homepage (with the FAQ)
The Alternate Reality Mailing List
My fan page
Alternate Reality - Wikipedia
"Mother of the Matrix" Victorious
Sophia Stewart: The Mother of the Matrix

All this contents, Copyright by Mark Wieczorek.
Header photography by Diana Yee.
Page Created on Feb 07, 2004 last updated Jun 08, 2005
Site updated Apr 01, 2006

 

-----

 

 

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Did he play "Mr. Robot and his Robot factory" because it's awfully strange his series has the same name?

 

Or maybe this and the Philip Price reference is just all a coincidence?

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Author Philip K. Dick wrote and spoke about ideas that would eventually lead to The Matrix.

 

Here he is speaking in 1977 about us living in a simulation, a strange visit from a mysterious dark-haired girl, and how deja-vu could be an indication that something was changed in the simulation:

 

Edited by invisible kid
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As regards the ideas used in The Matrix movie - there is the story of a black woman who made the claim that the bros (directors) stole her ideas/story.

Perhaps there is some substance to this claim - in that the sequels doesn't show the brilliance present in the first movie.

 

Harvey

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