PETER YORK ON ADS No 292: PLAYSTATION

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The Independent Culture
She's weird, she's gorgeous, but is she real? Some years, ago, you may remember, they started saying that they'd make perfect - and perfectly biddable - movie stars in the computer. No more $20 million a picture; no more Winnebago tantrums; the end of the star system as we know it. Then, a few years later we got Lara Croft. Her remarkable breasts are a great focus for 11-year-old Lucozade kids, but that wasn't exactly what I'd been expecting.

The new PlayStation girl, however, is utterly fantastic. She's the ET of girls - wide cheekbones and forehead tapering to a tiny chin. An elegant, slim (13-year- old?) model body in a little black dress. But it's her eyes - incredibly wide and slanted - that really have you thinking they've done it at last; that nobody looks like that, just nobody. Yet she's utterly convincing as a freak of nature, partly because they've played down the production values so cleverly, partly because of the voiceover and partly because her little mantra's really very literate. This creature does a simple piece to camera in a simple setting, a photographer's studio of whitewashed brick behind her, plain shutters, exposed electric conduits. And there's a constant vacuum-cleaner droning behind her. It's shot as amateur video or a Warhol superstars' audition. Fixed camera positions, no tricky stuff. They've got one freakish thing - keep the rest simple.

The voiceover's a knowing Scots sound. Morningside it's not - there's great command of language - but she says "mune" for "moon" and that kind of thing. You'd swear it was the creature's own voice. And then there's her manifesto. It's broadly "No more heroes any heroes/we can be heroes" stuff, but so nicely turned. Thus "let me tell you what bugs me about human endeavour; I've never been the human in question. Have you?" Well, we don't think she's human; she's a pixel pixie. And there's more. "Forget progress by proxy; land on your own mune. It's no longer about what they can achieve out there on your behalf, but what we can experience up here" (and then she actually taps her little Mekon head). "It's called mental wealth". And turns to someone off camera in a very knowing fit of 13- year-old giggles. I'm not remotely interested in PlayStation and its wonders - they're obviously after endorsement from the thinking teen - but little Trixiebelle ET in her black halter-neck is deeply disturbing.

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