Jasper Patterson has a deep knowledge and love of fictional universes and future worlds. He’s spent countless hours indulging that passion by immersing himself in the literature, films, RPGs, and comic books that explore these alternate realities. Patterson has used those influences to great effect, making otherwordly electronic music as his musical alter ego, Groundislava. The Los Angeles producer’s third album, Frozen Throne, came out last month, and is filled with the kind of expansive, emotional, and far-out tracks that could soundtrack a forgotten world. We asked Patterson to reveal the ten most incredible universes he’s traveled to, so here they are.
If you aren’t familiar, Warhammer 40k is complex tabletop strategy game played with highly detailed miniatures that you build and paint yourself. The game is almost 30 years old and has a huge cult following. There are several different races you can play as, each one having their own unique lore, books, characters, etc. There’s way too much stuff to even begin explaining the universe here. Google it.
Demon’s Souls/Dark Souls
A unique series of action role-playing video games with an incredibly immersive fantasy/medieval universe. Unlike something like Lord of the Rings, the fantasy universe in this game is ultra dark and surreal. Very little is explained directly and you’re never forced to play the various areas of the open world in a fully linear order, so all of the lore and context of the game is discovered through exploration and observation.
The fact that almost every superhero you can think of somehow exists in the same universe… I think that’s pretty special. There isn’t really much to say here!
Even though the dozens of storylines within this longstanding video game series have (for the most part) almost nothing to do with each other, they somehow manage to loosely exist in a vague all-encompassing Final Fantasy universe. On top of that, the different storylines range from classic medieval-style fantasy, to futuristic cyberpunk-esque sci-fi, to over-the-top political conflict from the perspective of a pop-idol girl. When you play through the various games though, you will notice consistencies between the various titles, ranging from the creatures and magic you encounter to the general aesthetic that permeates the series.
Dragon Ball/Z/GT series
One of the most classic manga/animated series, no matter what part of the world you grew up in.
Mass Effect is an important video game series that raised the bar in terms of storytelling and immersion in video games. Across the three Mass Effect games, you play through an open-ended sci-fi epic on the scale of a big-budget film as a character that you create down to the finest facial detail. You come across probably a dozen different alien races, all with deep interconnecting backstories. As you play through the series, you develop unique (potentially romantic) relationships with the different characters. It’s sort of like Star Wars meets Star Trek meets Firefly, but experienced from the “driver’s seat”.
Hayao Miyazaki films
In terms of story, I’m pretty sure there isn’t any actual connection between the various Miyazaki films; however, in every Studio Ghibli film I’ve seen, the viewer is transported from reality in a way that is totally unique to these films.
One of the first games I remember playing. Myst puts you in the role of a guy transported to a mysterious island through the pages of a book. You are completely alone, faced with enigmatic puzzles spread throughout the island to progress through the surreal story. Myst definitely raised the bar in terms of complete immersion in a fictional world.
Minecraft is another milestone in terms of immersion into a fictional universe; however, it is a universe that is essentially devoid of any context (to its benefit), and this is what makes it so unique. Everything in this game relies on the player’s creative input (it’s literally a game based around building shit). You completely create your own adventure and your own world when you play Minecraft.
Cyberpunk (Neuromancer, Blade Runner)
In my opinion, this is the ultimate fictional universe. It takes the classic future setting of advanced-technology but tones it down slightly by placing us in the somewhat near future, where we’re dealing with issues that we’re just starting to predict in current day (overpopulation, climate change, robotics, etc.). What really makes the cyberpunk universe so special, though, is how it focuses on “punks”, the people getting through this harsh futuristic society on their own terms (hackers, drug dealers, gangsters). The genre is often summarized with the phrase “high tech, low life”.