Memories of Alhambra: When the Reality is no longer Virtual

Coming from the writers of Time: Nine times Time Travel, I am not surprised at Alhambra’s rather convoluted plot that not only jumps back and forth in no chronological order, but now crosses between the real and the not-so-real. While it is easier to follow the narrative when we KNOW for sure that the setting is in a fantastical one, it makes it hard when we throw in technology into the picture.

The AR depicted in Alhambra may soon be a real possibility in the gaming world — it’s a kind of a higher breed of the current Pokemon craze (where players, glued to their phones, congregate in physical spaces to “catch” cute monsters) and a bit of the RPG 1st-person player we are familiar with in games such as Counterstrike. Except in Alhambra‘s AR game, everything blurs the line between virtual and not-virtual. 

And this line is really going into a scary space. In the end of ep2, we see Jin-woo battling a bunch of terrorist-looking thugs, and getting pelted with bullets. Preceding this scene was the weird thunderstorm that came out of nowhere, and I think there were scenes of the same train passing by in sunny weather. If. you pay close attention, you’d realise the passengers on Jin-woo’s train are too chill when faced with a bunch of gun toting gangsters. The ominous rain also appeared in ep3, just before Jin-woo steps into Alcambra cafe. Of cos, at that moment, the innocent Jin-woo (who still believes he is playing a game), is awed by the spontaneity in the game, and probably assumed they were designed by Se-joo.

Which may, or may not be. My niggling suspicion that the “Game” has taken over Real Life has become stronger as the narrative progresses. First, Hyung-seok dies under strange circumstances — a heart attack? or a virtual bleeding to death? — then is resurrected. Then Se-joo, who probably is the first guy (being the Game’s creator) who suspects things have gone strange, is also “kidnapped” by the Game. We think he was shot. But if Hyung-seok was any indication, there might be a chance Se-joo is being resurrected SOMEWHERE.

Or maybe, the Game has captured his resurrected self, and is holding him hostage. 


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