Venice, Persia and VIRTUA BLINDS

VIRTUA BLINDS is a vaporware by Daffodil that you can play on itch.io.

We call our blinds ‘Venetian’ for no particularly good reason. We’re pretty sure they were invented in Iran, which is a place we’ve often called ‘Persia’ due to an Ancient Greek mistranslation of its actual name. Playing this game makes me wonder about the history of these two powers. When Leonidas stood at Thermopylae and declared that “Tonight we dine in Hades!” did he foresee he’d be fighting to steal credit from his opponents for the invention of horizontally-slatted windowshades? If we’d shown him the suburbia his wars helped create—thirty million identical houses, all glimpsed lawn to lawn through cracks in Venetian blinds—would he even still have fought?

In Daffodil’s words VIRTUA BLINDS represents “the future of gaming”, which is a conclusion I’m prepared to accept. This is an industry in which our chief signifiers of quality include A) actually-flushing toilets and B) ‘god rays’ scattered everywhere EXCEPT for the inside of our actually-flushing toilets. We are not ‘immersed’—the situation is not ‘realistic’ enough—unless we can flush a toilet in which we didn’t actually pee and view brightly-illuminated dust particles in settings they would not actually illuminate. Why haven’t we been bothered by the absence of actually-slatted blinds, which go up and down and furl and unfurl and are ‘Venetian’? This is what the blinds in VIRTUA BLINDS do, and it is glorious. It sets a new gold standard for immersion and realism. It demands a response from gamers, from developers, from publishers and streamers. Here, it declares, is the future for which Leonidas died. Here, everywhere and always, is the future.

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