Review of Redshift and Portalmetal

Redshift and Portalmetal (2014) by Micha Cárdenas is about Roja, a transwoman of color, having to grapple with the fact that her planet is dying. In order to survive, she has to migrate to different places and settle in conditions that are drastically different from her own. She has the option to travel to the Ice Planet, Ocean Moon, or The Planet with No Rain. As the story progresses, you learn more about her status as a migrant trans woman and her experiences with border patrol. This work serves as an intimate view into the mind of a transwoman as she embarks on a journey to find stability in her new home as she abandons her dying planet.

This work is a part of the “choose your own adventure” genre where the reader has control of the direction of the story. I think the basic story can be reproduced in a print form where the reader can flip to certain pages in a book. However, there are some atmospheric elements that create an immersive experience for the reader where these elements would not be able to be reproduced in a traditional medium. Ultimately, I think the digital medium provides more of an immersive experience for the reader and is the best way for this work to be produced and viewed.

Cárdenas uses a variety of tools and techniques in this work to create an immersive experience. The work uses links in order for the reader to control the direction of the story and choose where Roja goes and how she responds in certain situations. The use of background videos and ambient audio allows for the reader to get a sense of how these places look and sound to immerse the reader into these fictional places. With the use of HTML5 video, CSS, Javascript, this work is a beautiful, immersive experience with bright colors in the scenery, atmospheric sounds, along with descriptive poetry, dialogue, and branches that make it entertaining for the reader that the temptation of wanting to exhaust all the options and replay it again and again.

Play here.