I've been following Outerlands for the past year (or however long it's been since their Kickstarter campaign started then ended) because the series wants to explore the people and culture of video games in a way that hasn't been done before. The folks behind the Outerlands, Area 5, have been my favorite group of video game-centric filmmakers for almost a decade.
Other than being gamers with a lot of heart, they're skilled filmmakers. They're people, honestly, I want to be like at one point in my life. I haven't had many heroes or anyone I looked up to throughout my life but this team as a whole taken that place for me. My love for both film and video games are immense and they mixed the two in the best possible way.
The series trailer above gives me a very specific kind of goosebumps. Let me try to explain it. Have you ever had a moment in your life, where you finally felt like you have someone you relate to. Like, you spent your whole life feeling disenfranchised, or misunderstood, but not so much that you felt sadness. Just enough where you thought, "man, I wish there was someone out there that just gets it like I get it". It's not a too-serious feeling but it isn't a too-lighthearted feeling either.
Then finally, someone reaches out, taps you on the shoulder and says, "I'm right here". That's how it felt when I saw the latest Outerlands trailer. I couldn't have felt more excited. And there's a huge reason for that excitement.
I spent a large portion of my academic career writing about video games. I wasn't giving out X out of 10 ratings or writing about breaking news. I was applying everything I learned about film criticism to video games. Almost every paper I wrote was about video games in one way or another. I wrote about interactive storytelling, the ways games can be seen as art, and -- my 25-30 page thesis paper -- was about queer representation in video games.
While I was at school, I was alone in this endeavor. And even now, I'm a little ashamed at telling people what I focused on in school. I can't tell you how many times I've condescendingly heard "oh wow, that's great" or just something that was overtly dismissive. People hear the words "video games" come out of my mouth and I can tell they get bored. Either they think I wasted my time in school or the cultural and societal stigma behind video games makes them say something like, "I just don't like video games. I don't see the point."
So even though Area 5 hasn't released an official release date for the series, I'm still excited for it. I think it'll be another step in the right direction. In the direction towards people taking video games seriously. A direction that'll take me to a place where I don't feel so ashamed about my college career.