Visual language creates connections in Michel Gondry’s The Science of Sleep


The Science of Sleep is the 2006 film written and directed by Frenchman Michel Gondry, who was best known for the 2004 Academy Award-winning film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Gael Garcia Bernal, a Mexican actor best known for his roles in the Academy nominated films Amores Perros by Alejandro González Iñárritu (2000) and Y tu mama también by Alfonso Cuarón (2001), stars in the films main role of Stephane Miroux, a Mexican-French artist who relocated to France from Mexico after his father’s death.

In The Science of Sleep Gondry explores the cause of community isolation by juxtaposing it with the concept of solipsism then examines these concepts with the use of language— both verbal and visual. The verbal language causes disconnect and isolation while the visual language causes communication and an indirect understanding of one another through emotions.

Per the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, solipsism is the idea that all that exists is everything the “I” experiences; meaning, a solipsist attaches no meaning to the idea that there could be thoughts, experiences, and emotions other than their own. Per Scientific American writer Ester Hsieh, a recent study published in Personality and Individual Differences supports the perception that American society has steadily become more egocentric; meaning, individuals choose not to/or are unable to see a connection between others outside of themselves.

In the film, Miroux’s unhappiness with his job causes him to miss work which causes frustration for his coworker friend Guy— portrayed by French actor Alain Chabat—who also hates his job. Miroux’s disregard of Guy ultimately lets Guy create an anxiety within Miroux which causes him to believe his love interest, Stephanie— portrayed by British-French actress Charlotte Gainsbourg—is playing with his heart. In reality, she tries to reassure Miroux that she loves him but he can’t seem to believe that out of fear of rejection.
When all you think about is yourself, you won’t get to understand the true intentions of others and/or your decisions become based on subjectivity instead of objective reality. This form of thinking causes isolation because you do not know how to understand others besides yourself.

The film is recorded from the point of view of Stephan Miroux’s imaginative mind. The audience is privy to Miourx’s thoughts and thought process. As Miroux becomes more distressed about Stephanie, his dreams start to seep and bend into his reality. The visual blending of his worlds helps the audience be empathetic to Miroux’s awkward interactions with Stephanie.

Per linguistic scholar Elizabeth Rowley-Jolivet, “visualization and language…are both culturally embedded, both constitute a code of communication, and both are used to make claims”. The film uses three verbal languages: Spanish, English, and French (though English becomes the films primary language). By interweaving these languages, either in Miroux’s dream state or in his reality it creates an immediate sense of separation between Miroux and all those around him.

This separation is also felt in the fact that Miroux does not look like those around him even though the film viewers know Miroux is half French. This recalls the interview with Cuban writer Achy Obejas in which she stated that when it came to her personal experience with living for a long period in Cuba, that it feels like you belong but deep down you know you don’t belong.

Still, by having the whimsical Miroux be half Mexican and half French but having the actor portraying him be Mexican, it creates a visual connection that challenges viewers to see others and/or themselves differently; a disconnected connection in reality.


When Miroux first meets his next-door neighbor Stephanie he does not feel an initial connection with her even though they are able to verbally communicate and their names are each other’s counterparts.  However, after choosing to spend time together Stephan and Stephanie build a connection through their vivid imaginations.


Though the film’s reality ends with Stephan falling asleep in Stephanie’s bed hours before he goes back to Mexico due to his heartbreak with Stephanie, the dream world shows Stephan and Stephanie happily together, hugging and smiling.

Visuals create an indirect understanding of one another through emotions. Having Garcia Bernal be the star of the film gives viewers the opportunity to see, possibly for the first time ever, a Mexican—accent and all—lead a non-Latino foreign film, which helps break the subjective idea of what or who a Mexican is, and who or what an actor of color is capable of portraying.





Works Cited
1. Gondry, Michel. The Science of Sleep.2006
3. Hsieh, Esther. Kids These Days Really Are More Egocentric. Scientific American Mind. 1
November 2014. days-really-
are-more- egocentric/
4. Rowley-Jovlivet, Elizabeth. Image as Text, Aspects of the shared visual language of
scientific conference participants. ASP 27-20. 2000. days-really- are-more-
5. Obejas, Achy. Interview on April 11, 2018. Columbia College Chicago. US Latinx Literature, Spring 2018.


Pokémon Powerhouse


Image courtesy Pokémon Videogame Championships

Have you ever collected lightning bugs on warm summer nights or collected stamps, rocks, even dirt from places you’ve been? If you don’t know the wonders of collecting, think twice about not only the kind of joy it brings to people but how that very concept helped launch the biggest game franchise in history.

There are many things people can collect in this world but, in the virtual Pokémon World created by Japanese video game designer Satoshi Tajiri, you can compete to collect all 801 Pokémon or at the very least, become the best Pokémon Trainer/Gym Leader of them all. Though 801 is a daunting number, Pokémon did not start with that many. It didn’t even start with the name Pokémon.

When Satoshi Tajiri was a high school student, he was a prime gamer. He didn’t achieve high honors in his classes but his fanzine Gamefreak, first published in 1981, became a top seller in the dōjinshi (doh-o-jeen-shee (1))-self-published magazines- shop of his hometown Machida. His fanzine, handwritten and edited by him, gave other gamers tips and tricks on how to collect highest points in popular video arcade games he played, like game creator Tomohiro Nishikado’s 1978 game Space Invaders and Japanese developer Namco’s 1982 game Dig Dug, who’s namesake was the cover of Tajiri first fanzine (2). 

Ken Sugimori, a fan of the zine, contacted Tajiri about collaborating and so, he became the illustrator of Gamefreak.  In 1986, Tajiri and Sugimori, decided to use their gaming skills to create a video game of their own. Thus, Gamefreak turned from fanzine to video game developing company (3).

The word Pokémon is the hybridization of the English words pocket monster spelled in katana -the Japanese alphabet used to spell foreign words. Poketto monsutā was then shortened to Pokémon (4). Tajiri got the idea for Pokémon from his childhood adventures of collecting bugs. He believed others could experience his joy of exploring and collecting. He worked on the main programming while Sugimori illustrated all 150 Pokémon. They pitched their game idea to game publisher Nintendo and were granted money to start creating the game for Nintendo Gameboy. After many delays due to programming bugs, Gamefreak, in collaboration with the art studio Creatures, finished the first generation of Pokémon within six long years.

Pokémon Red and Pokémon Green were published in 1996 for the Gameboy system. A last-minute Pokémon was added to the game which turned the total of created Pokémon to 151-  but it was never meant to be released and it was never mentioned to the public when Nintendo published the first generation games.  However, some sold games contained a programming bug that ended up releasing the added Pokémon named Mewtwo (5). This unintentional move is was turned the Pokémon franchise into a cultural phenomenon. It created a myth about mysterious Pokémon and sparked a continual interest in playing every game in order to catch the rarePokémon (6). Every generation after Pokémon Red and Pokémon Green now includes one unique Pokémon only obtainable by trading with other Pokémon players who are playing the opposite “color” of their game. 

Each Pokémon game with the same Pokémon (apart from the different rare Pokémon) are one generation. Any game with new Pokémon creations becomes the start of a new generation. The Pokémon franchise is now in its seventh generation with its 2016 release of Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon for Nintendo 3DS handheld system (7). However, the generations are not the only things creating the franchise $1.5 billion annual earnings (8). It also consists of the Pokémon spin-off games, like Pokémon Pin-Ball (Gameboy Color) and Pokémon Snap (Nintendo 64), and the animated show Pokémon (released in 1997 and still airing new generation episodes today (9)). The animated show follows 10-year-old Ash Ketchum from Pallet Town, in his pursuit of becoming an elite Pokémon Trainer. Due to the popularity of Ash and his electric mouse Pokémon Pikachu, the special edition game Pokémon Yellow (Gameboy Color) was created.

Pikachu is to the Pokémon franchise what Mickey Mouse is to Disney (10). Not only is Pikachu an adorable rare Pokémon but his personality on the show also makes him unique. He is a stubborn and loyal friend of Ash. He and Ash have a unique relationship where even the show’s supporting characters point out its weirdness: Pikachu does not live in his poké ball, the item used by Pokémon trainers to catch and store their Pokémon. He instead walks freely next to Ash and Ash respects his decision to do so.

In the famous episode, Electric Shock Showdown (11), Ash and his friends, Brock and Misty, travel to Vermillion City to battle against Gym Leader Serge for a Thunder badge. Pikachu is beaten by Raichu, the evolved version of a Pikachu. While in the Pokémon hospital recovering, Pokémon nurse Joy gives Ash a gem that helps Pokémon evolve. However, Ash chooses to leave the decision of evolving to Pikachu, which is a rare move. It is common and often sought by Pokémon trainers who want to be top Pokémon Gym Leaders, to evolve their young Pokémon into a stronger stage of its life. By Ash letting Pikachu decide, it solidified him as not only a caring Pokémon trainer but a true friend to his Pokémon. Pikachu, by choosing not to evolve, became the icon of the strength one has even if you are at a young stage in life (in the episode, Gym Leader Serge continuously calls Ash and Pikachu “baby”).

Months before the release of the 2016 Sun and Moon generation, the Pokémon franchise went to a different level of playing by adapting itself to the world of ARG (alternate reality game). In collaboration with Niantic- an American software development company- they created the downloadable phone application, Pokémon Go. By using the real world as its playing field, players can now search and compete with Pokémon in their own backyards. The current daily active players of Pokémon Go globally is 5 million people (12). 

With the Nintendo’s newly release system, Nintendo Switch, there is much anticipation on what is to come from the Pokémon World franchise.





Works Cited

  1. AnimeNewsNetwork.
  2. 2004 interview with Satoshi Tajiri, part 1: the beginning of Game Freak.
  3. Pokémon: The Story of Satoshi Tajiri.
  4. Steinmetz, Katy. July 19, 2016. The Surprising History Behind the Word Pokémon.
  5. Cartoonami. February 29, 2016. An Oral History of Pokémon.
  6. Cartoonami. January 12, 2016. Fixing the 20 Years of Pokemon Timeline.
  8. Lamoreux, Ben. July 13, 2014. The Pokémon Company Generates $1.5 Billion Annually.
  9. Thomas, Lucas M. February 10, 2011. The Pokemon TV Retrospective: After 14 years, Ash Ketchum’s cartoon quest is still going strong.
  10. Minotti, Mike. February 29, 2016. How Pikachu went from rare rodent to media icon.
  11. Pokémon Tv.Pokémon Episode – 14 “Electric Shock Showdown” (2/2).
  12. Smith, Craig. April 19, 2017. 80 Incredible Pokemon Go Statistics and Facts (April 2017).

Leszek Jankowski’s music is the soul of The Brothers Quay’s Street of Crocodiles


In the stop-motion film, Street of Crocodiles, the Quay brothers- Stephen and Timothy Quay- bring to life the Jewish Polish writer Bruno Schulz’s 1933 story, Ulica Krokodyli (Street of Crocodiles). The film’s lack of dialogue, though very much noticed at first, is not at all missed with all the goings-on on the screen; dolls, mannequins, rolling screws. The music composed by Leszek Jankowski, however, is what gives the films eerie, battered, child-like characters breath.

The film starts with the tick-tock of time accompanied by a human whistling that turns into birds whistling. All of that gets drowned out by harps and cellos conveying what is to come. A man in a back room of a lecture hall spits

A man in a back room of a lecture hall spits onto a spool in a box which greases the spool which in turn, lifts a screen door within the box. The man in the lecture hall back room then inserts scissors into the low end of the box and snips the string of the film’s protagonist: well-dressed puppet with wild hair.

The puppet moves around the box world with caution.


The music is a screeching violin, the kind of sound you hear at a child recital. This violin is accompanied by the repeating rhythm of a cello, like an instructor trying to guide its pupil. The music then turns into a bwaang-bwaang sound, like a child playing a rubber band guitar and then silence. The puppet looks at all the still mannequins behind clear frames. We, like him, are merely observing the images and sounds some of these things make. The silence of the music gives the room to do so and amplifies the bareness of the objects seen.

The puppet looks at all the still mannequins behind clear frames. We, like him, are merely observing the images and sounds some of these things make. The silence gives the room to do so and amplifies the bareness of the objects seen.

Far away from where the puppet stands, alarm bells with birds trills sound off. The puppet moves toward a squeaky pulley and softly touches the string. This action turns off the sounds of alarms. However, the action brings about murmurs.

There are closeups of the puppet’s eyes, the puppets face, quietly contemplating what he may be hearing. Then comes in a tailor with its three apprentices which pull the puppet into their office to prepare him a suite and new head.


A whimsical tick-tock and xylophone keys are played with deep cello strings singing and squeaky violins voicing their short remarks while the apprentices twirl about the sewing room. They change his clothes and give him a hollow head like theirs but stuff it with white fibers. However, the tailor has a change of heart and decides to give the puppet back his original head. Once the scene ends, a melancholy harp tune is played which then becomes accompanied by a mature violin and cello.

The moments of the surprise and joy and curiosity which heightened during the tailor and dancing apprentice scene is now a mere memory, an experience in which the puppet internalizes and appreciates.

The music, though creepy at times, really exemplifies the growth of the puppet; from novice screechy violins to harmonious cellos, xylophones, and strings, to the minimal sound of melody by single harp tones. The puppet learns to not run foolishly with his curiosity but instead cautiously investigate his surroundings and know when to leave things as they are.


“In that city of cheap human material, no instincts can flourish, no dark and unusual passions can be aroused. The street of crocodiles was a concession of our city to modernity and metropolitan corruption. The misfortune of that area is that nothing ever success there, nothing can ever reach a definite conclusion. Obviously, we were unable to afford anything better that a cardboard imitation, a photo-montage cut out from last years mouldering newspapers.” – Bruno Schulz, Ulica Krokodyli , 1933

Bob’s Burgers: An Animated Series essential for the Whole Family

Creator Loren Bouchard (known for Home Movies) and co-creator/executive producer Jim Dauterive (known for his work in King of the Hill) gave birth to the blue-collar, self-employed, Belcher family. Bob’s Burger stars Bob Belcher (H. Jon Benjamin), his wife Linda (John Roberts), and their three kids; thirteen year old Tina (Dan Mintz), eleven year old Gene (Eugene Mirman), and nine year old Louise (Kristen Schaal) and centers on their struggles for keeping their family sane and their restaurant open. The opening credits of the series show how the family struggles three times to open their restaurant: their building catches on fire, their restaurant gets infested with rats, and finally, a car crashes into an electrical pole that falls into their restaurant window. All of this is juxtaposed with its ukulele theme song which pushes the feeling that though things can get bad, the family can persevere.

What’s great about this series is its ability to give each family member their own individuality and showing how the family respects their individualism. In Frond Files (season 4, episode 12) Bob and Linda go to Wagstaff School to see their children’s work in the school’s show, “Why I love Wagstaff”, however, when they can’t find their work projects, they go looking for the school guidance counselor, Phillip Frond (David Herman). After unsuccessfully hiding from them, Mr. Frond decides to bring Bob and Linda to his office to talk about their kids’ projects. All three of them wrote story reports explaining why they love their school. Gene’s is titled “Fart School for the Gifted” which is a musical, Tina’s is titled “A Tale of Horror” which is about a zombie attack stopped by Tina’s flirting abilities, and Louise’s is simply titled “Why I Love Wagstaff” which is about robot Mr. Frond coming to attack to Louise, Terminator-style. Mr. Frond pulls these projects of the school show because they make him look bad in their stories and he is very hurt by that. Instead of Bob and Linda taking Mr. Frond’s side regarding the subjects of their kids’ stories, they actually enjoy the creativity, even when it’s a little comfortable for them (Bob quickly changes the subject from Tina’s semi-erotic fan-fiction to Louise’s sci-fi fiction). When Mr. Frond sees that they do not see eye-to-eye, he breaks down and cries “why don’t they like me!” Their response is he should relax and try to relate to the kids.

Another great thing about the show is Bob and Linda’s openness and understanding to their children’s individual ticks. 151344_origIn Kids Run Away, Louise runs away from the dentist, Dr. Yap (Ken Jeong), during the families bi-annual dental cleaning. When she finds out she needs a filling, she runs away to her “crazy” aunt Gayle’s (Megan Mullally) studio apartment. Bob supports Linda’s idea of betting Louise that if she cannot handle a weekend with her aunt, she will have to get the filling. Linda sends Tina and Gene to stay with her sister Gayle and has Tina be the spy that will follow Linda’s outside orders via text messages, to try to make the weekend unbearable. This reminds me of all the different measures I’ve taken as a parent to force my kids to do things that need to be done. Louise ends up winning the bet but still refuses to go to the dentist and instead of Bob and Linda just forcing her, Aunt Gayle is the one that helps Louise “turn her fear-believe into make-believe” which creates a beautiful last 5 minutes of the episode showing how the family, including Dr. Yap, works together to get the tooth-filling mission complete. Bob’s Burgers episodes don’t bluntly give out “lessons” but the story lines give important views on how a family can work together.


Harriet Jacobs resistance to Black Female oppression through combination of literary styles

The exchange of stories from enslaved women to their amanuensis embodied “a sentimental ideal in which experience is not individual property”(Nudelman pg. 955) but rather a package of facts easily shared from the writer to the audience. This form of writing unintentionally discriminated against black women by subjecting them to “re-experience the pain of [their] own corruption”(pg. 955)  and harming the overall view of black women in the eyes of their genteel audience.  In 1861, Louisa Picquet’s narrative, Louisa Picquet, The Octoroon: A Tale of Southern Slave Life, and Harriet Jacobs self authored narrative, Incidents in the life of a Slave girl, were published. Both narratives use the sentimental style of writing to share their feelings regarding their history in order to create empathy for enslaved black women. Simultaneously, both Louisa Picquet and Harriet Jacobs recreate self-respect for themselves. However,  Harriet Jacobs’s combined use of sentimental and contrast rhetoric created a new form of literary writing never before seen in a female slave narrative.


Louisa Picquet’s narrative was written by her amanuensis, Rev. H. Mattison, “as taken from her lips by the writer in…May 1860”(Mattison pg. 45). The narrative is laid out in the style of Question/Answer: Mattison asked the questions while Louisa Picquet answered. Louisa Picquet suffered sexual attacks as “a little girl, not fourteen years old”(pg. 49) by Cook. With the help of Mrs. Bachelor, she was able to avoid being alone with Cook and right when she thought she could no longer avoid him, a “sheriff came from Georgia after Cook’s debts…and sold [the enslaved]”(pg. 45). At this last slave auction, she was bought by Williams who forced her to become his concubine. Though  Mattison’s questions controlled the narrative, Louis Picquet’s answers pushed the narrative to places where she could try to have her audience understand that she knew she’d “be committin’ adultery, and there’s no chance for [her], and [she’ll] have to die and be lost”(pg. 59). After William’s death, she redeem herself  by going to church on that first Sunday. Years later, she married a free man who was a “professor of religion”(pg. 64).

Mattison used the sentimental style to pull out information from Louisa Picquet and she fought against questions by giving shameful information of her master like,  “Oh, very often… He had two or three kinds of drunks. Sometimes he would…fight everything he come to. At other times he would be real funny”(pg. 46), when asked if her master ever beat her. Though her story overall created empathy for her, and she had found her self-respect after the death of Williams, she was not able to establish to her readers that the life circumstances of white Northern women are vastly different from the circumstances of black enslaved women and for this reason, enslaved black women should not be judged equally.


Harriet Jacobs decided to author her own story after Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote a letter that “ violated a respectful silence that Jacobs and [Cornelia] Willis (Jacobs employer) had maintained on the subject of Jacob’s past”(Nudelman pg. 955).  Harriet Jacobs believed in “a standard for communication between black and white women which, far from being founded on complete…discloser of feeling, depends on…exercise of reserve”(pg. 956).   Unlike Louisa Picquet, Harriet Jacobs was able to control and strategically build her narrative. When Harriet Jacobs “entered on [her]fifteenth year… [her] master [Flint] began to whisper foul words into [her] ears”(Jacobs pg. 44) and once she was told by Flint that he was building a secluded house for her, she “made a headlong plunge”(pg. 86)  with Sands. Harriet Jacobs does not repeat the foul words said into her ears. She does not describe the reason for the house built by Flint. She does not describe the plunge she took. Still, Harriet Jacobs draws empathy from her audience by stating in different forms through out her narrative “it would have been more pleasant to me to have been silent about my own history”(pg. 5). Harriet Jacobs calculated moves to avoid Flint, her choice to partner with Sands, repeated rejections of Flints help, and her ultimate choice of hiding in her grandmothers attic,  helped “ensure her respect was never violated again”(Rotbert pg. 3). The revealing of the circumstances without revealing any exact details created “the secrecy that is necessary for the slave’s self-liberation”(Nudelman pg. 959).

The radical move in Harriet Jacobs’s narrative is the use of contrast rhetoric to show “O virtuous reader! You never knew what is is to be a slave…You never exhausted your ingenuity in avoiding the snares…you never shuddered at the sound of footsteps…trembled  within hearing his voice”(Jacobs pg. 86). This contrast establishes a line where the readers can come to understand that they can empathizes with enslaved black women but they do not have the right to judge them. Their life circumstances vastly differ that “only by experience can only one realize how deep and dark…”(pg. 6) slavery really is. By using contrast through out her narrative, Harriet Jacobs is able to tell her audience that though her “story ends with freedom; not in the usual way with marriage”(pg. 302) white Northern women should help free the “two millions of women at the South, still in bondage, suffering what [she] suffered” (pg. 6) and they Northern women should help  her “sisters in bondage” (pg. 8) without any judgement.

In conclusion, both Louisa Picquet and Harriet Jacobs were black females that dared to share their history in the name of freedom for their enslaved sisters. Both were able to leave slavery with a newly created sense of self-respect that showed through the pages of their narratives; Louisa Picquet’s choice of words for her answers to her amanuensis, and Harriet Jacobs choice to author her own story. In the end, it is Harriet Jacobs interchange of writing styles that created a strong narrative that not only gave her personal history in a discreet way but also taught her readers that the enslaved population cannot and should not be judged based on societal standards in which they are denied by the evils of slavery.


Works Cited

  1. Nudelman, Franny. “Harriet Jacobs and the Sentimental Politics of Female Suffering.” ELH, Vol. 59, No. 4 (Winter, 1992). The John Hopkins University Press. <>
  2. Mattison, Rev. H. “Louisa Picquet, The Octoroon: A Tale of Southern Slave Life.”Albany: SUNY P, 2010. Print.
  3. Jacobs, Harriet. “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.” Boston. 1861. Print.
  4. Rotbert, Joshua. “Autobiographies of Freedom: Respect and Deception in Fredrick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs.” 7 October. 2014. <>



The Mysterious Package Company

The MPC, operated by a purposefully unknown group since 2012, delivers well thought out, authenticated stories to or on behalf of its members. Membership to the MPC is needed but it is 100% free and anyone can apply though, membership is not guaranteed; It is up to the discretion of the MPC. If you become accepted, the MPC sends you an anonymous email detailing the next steps you need to take in order to receive or send out a story package. Per Darwin Law on the blog ,The Nerdery Public, there are three levels of packages that range in prices:

•The Bespoke Experience.  It started at $799.00 and involved conversations with The Curator to ensure that your experience was completely unique.  [A] line…in the description was, “As much or as little control as you wish…”

•The next level was three different stories involving various mailings over several months.  All of the stories were about $179.00.

•The last level was their quarterly mailer, “Curios & Conundrums”.  They had the catch up for the previous installments plus a sign up for the next chapter.  Both together, before shipping and handling, $50.00.

On June 8th, 2015, liaison Jason Kapalka, “co-founder of PopCap Games (Bejeweled, Peggle, Plants vs Zombies), [who] got involved with the MPC several years ago, eventually becoming an investor and advisor” (J. Kapalka), started a Canadian Kickstarter campaign to raise 20 thousand Canadian dollars (about $15,369.25 US dollars) for the multi-chapter project, The Beast, “described as Cthulhu meets Viking lore” (Chelsea Stark).

The company reached their goal within 9 hours. On the last day of the campaign (July 8th) 1,291 backers pledged $422,390 (about $339,960.06 US dollars), “making this the second most successful Canadian Art Kickstarter, and the fourteenth most successful in Canada overall” (The Curator).

Per the MPC website,, the following steps are followed by the company:

Step 1: The Pledge


Our stories begin with The Pledge, often an unexpected letter, and often regarding a relative or other previously unknown person. This is the start of the adventure, a puzzling moment of intrigue that draws the recipient into the scheme.

We pay careful attention to all aspects of what we send: the date of the stamps, the style of the postmark, the age of the paper… how everything feels in the hand is as important as what is written on the page.

Step 2: The Turn

more2-21029eb4c8536ad392b18812658385dc.pngThe narrative continues over weeks or months, supplying additional information to bring the story into focus. This is The Turn: photographs, old newspaper clippings, diary pages, patient records, and in some cases, coded messages. These all work to compel the recipient to research what is happening to them, and hook them into the storyline.

We take a great deal of care to base the locations, people, and events of our stories in reality as much as possible, so when you search for the sanatorium, or experiments done at a particular Gulag, or the bankruptcy of a particular publisher online, a wealth of additional information appears, filling in blanks and making everything feel more authentic.

Step 3: The Prestige


The climax of our experiences arrive in one of our handmade wooden crates. They are painted and aged to fit in with the narrative, and then nailed shut.

Step 4: The Rouge 


All adventures must eventually come to an end, and our experiences are no different. We cap the story with a suitably mysterious black envelope, containing an elegantly sealed message on parchment.

The note reveals who was behind this wonderful gift, as well as offering immediate membership to the recipient. It furnishes a moment for reflection on the experience as a whole, and provides some necessary closure.

The Mysterious Package company brings to mind an excerpt from Reality Is Broken by Jane McGonigal:

Gamers want to know: Where, in the real world, is that gamer sense of being

fully alive, focused, and engaged in every moment? Where is the gamer feeling

of power, heroic purpose, and community? Where are the bursts of exhilarating

and creative game accomplishment? Where is the heart-expanding thrill

of success and team victory? While gamers may experience these pleasures

occasionally in their real lives, they experience them almost constantly when

they’re playing their favorite games.

The real world just doesn’t offer up as easily the carefully designed pleasures,

the thrilling challenges, and the powerful social bonding afforded by

virtual environments.

The MPC gives you a virtual reality that fits in your real-world mailbox. The mystery behind the pieces of mail and items sent by the MPC stimulates the brain to try to figure out what the story means. That usually means the receiver of the package will most likely start researching the truth behind the items. Seeing the connections between the research and the the items in your hands stimulates the brain to want more pieces of the mystery puzzle which increases the probability of them diving into the MPC preconceived world.

In Raph Koster’s Theory of Fun, he explained how “the human brain is mostly a voracious consumer of patterns…Games are just exceptionally tasty patterns to eat up” (pg. 14).  The pieces sent by the MPC are part of a larger puzzle. Finding the answer to the puzzle is the game being fed to your brain. The MPC’s precise detailing creates a pattern of authenticity that blurs the magic circle.

Just like the assassination game Killer, as described in Pervasive Games, the MPC “breaks the boundaries of games by using environments, people, and information from the everyday world. [It] takes the fun of the game and brings it to the everyday like… it takes the tangibility and realness of everyday life into the game” (Montola, Stenros, and Waern pg. 5) The MPC is also a collaborative game rather than a competition (pg. 38). The wide arrange of items sent to you will push you to interact with others who may know more about a certain aspect of the game piece mailed to you. For example, a letter in a different language will have you ask people you know or online communities for translations.

The overall theme of the game is historical mystery based on non-fiction, fiction. The purpose of the mystery to is to give mystique and thrill  into the receivers life.

Social Constructs: the items created for the mystery are created with attention to detail. If it’s a story from 100 years ago, the paper used, the penmanship, the verbiage, the items delivered, will be exact to that era of time.



1. Law, Darwin. December 14th, 2014. <>

2. Kapalka, Jason. June 8th, 2015. <>

3. Stark, Chelsea. July 2nd, 2015. <>

4. Curator, The. July 8th, 2015. <>

5. <>

6. McGonigal, Jane. Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. The Penguin Press. New York. 2011.

7. Koster, Raph. Theory of Fun for Game Design. Paraglyph Press, Inc. Scottsdale, Arizona. 2005.

8. Montola, Markus. Stenros, Jaakko. Waern, Annika. Pervasive Games: Theory and Design. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers. Burlington, Massachusetts. 2009.