Hearing Footsteps Above
Dash, jump, slide, roll, shift, wallrun, turn, vault, swing, coil…
At any given moment, the agile girl in the city of Glass is mid-sequence through a combination of manoeuvres designed to propel her from point A to Z via paths defying architectural intentions. Meanwhile, I continue to demonstrate the physical prowess of the modern gamer with a single, indomitable posture: the mighty slouch.
Suffice it to say, I love the absurdity of my engagement with Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst.
The open-world game offers a metropolitan area to explore, as many do. It is worth noting, however, that only the upper sections of buildings are accessible. After all, Runners like Faith live and work on the rooftops, moving in ways unexpected, through places uninvited. They simply have no business on the street level apart from diving to their deaths.
Players are still able to observe citizens of Glass strolling around on the ground; others occupying interior spaces are often separated from Faith by nothing but a window pane. Even so, no one ever reacts to her peculiar presence, nor shows any concern for her struggles against the oppressive rulers and authorities of the city. Instead, they function like ghosts inhabiting another realm, contained within a pristine, urban grid. Are they wholly ignorant of all the conflict occurring right above their heads?
I am no stranger to noticing activity on my roof, whether it be the pitter-patter of magpies on patrol, or the heavy thumping of work boots worn by tradies looking to do repairs. At times, these audible intrusions remind me — one who spends most of his days at home and in virtual worlds — that there is a reality beyond my little box of existence, and that things happening “up there” may impact my life more than I would care to realise, even as I remain in sedentary sedation.
It isn’t easy, but we ought to break out of our limited purview and become aware that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”1
- Ephesians 6:12 (NIV).