I never paid much attention to the finer details of window drapes until I played Resident Evil 7.
My mother always kept a tidy house and dad is still rather obsessed with keeping his vehicles clean. I, however, never noticed the specks and spots of dirt and muck like they did. I’ve always taken care of my things but I’m a rather unobservant person—as long my stuff isn’t noticeably damaged I’m perfectly content with a little dust sprinkled here and there.
The environment was crafted with obvious affection by the team at Capcom. No matter where I ended up in the mansion, I knew where I was. The designers could have decided to reuse assets from other areas to fill in the gaps. Instead, they took care to fill their world with unique and gruesome details that made every room a new experience.
Because of this, I felt incarnated in the world that was far different from my own. Surrounded by horrors both imagined and real, stranded in the bayous of Louisiana that, coupled with the foreboding sense of fear that filled the atmosphere, I was the main character—the Bakers were coming after me.
Although I was unable to play in VR, those who have reported that the expanse separating game from reality is even narrower. This is fascinating, since historically the goal of gaming is to take you out of real life and place you into a fantasy world. You’re supposed to forget who you are and take up the mantle of someone or something living a completely different life. Now, games like Resident Evil and the new VR headsets are placing us directly into the game, allowing us to see what it is like to live the life of our characters.
The story of the Baker family, their house surely designed by a madman, with plenty of tense encounters with gruesome creatures, kept me moving forward—I had to know why things were falling apart in Louisiana. But what I won’t forget are those drapes still hanging in the first floor of the Main Hall. While surely a minor item from my adventures, it signals how videogames are able to help us to actually see things. Any reminder that the simple details are worth noticing, even if it comes from a piece of moldy cloth, shouldn’t be cast aside, especially when our world champions busyness as a virtue. And if you decide to play RE7, learn to slow down. Breathe. And be sure to admire the moldy drapes when you pass them.