It's not every year that a movie comes along that captures the pop culture zeitgeist so powerfully and so quickly as The Matrix
did. I recall lugging a few college friends along to see this in 1999 -- having heard only a few sparse details about it beforehand -- and coming out of the theater feeling as if we we'd been electrified. The bold mix of science fiction, martial arts, philosophy, action, and leather ensembles became the smash hit of the year, and a franchise was born.
And while we had great hopes that this would be this generation's Star Wars, The Matrix ultimately proved to be a lightning-in-a-bottle phenomenon, impossible to recapture once unleashed. Sequels, animated shorts, video games, comic books -- none rose to the height of the original film, and eventually the franchise petered out.
During this period, an odd duck of an MMO was born: The Matrix Online
. When you think about it, an online virtual world where people log in and fight against programs was a really short hop from the movie series. MxO
, as it was abbreviated, was an audacious game with unique features, story-centric gameplay and a sci-fi bent in a field of fantasy competitors, and while it only lasted four years, it was enough to make a huge impression for its community.
So by popular demand, this month we're going to revisit the 1s and 0s of The Matrix Online
to see just how deep the rabbit hole (and well-worn cliche) goes -- and what made this game stand out!