A little cleverness can go a long way. There’s a whole slew of animation out there aping 8- and 16-bit art styles, throwing in an unhealthy dose of nostalgia and leaving it at that. Emily Carmichael’s RPG OKC looks at first like it might be going that route, but over its 10 minutes, it reveals itself as a surprisingly touching love story, filtering a classic Romeo & Juliet plot through old-school RPGs and online dating.
The animation in RPG OKC is nothing to brag about—it’s more concerned with staying faithful to its SNES-era Final Fantasy inspirations—but the thoughtful characterizations and clever subversions of console RPG storytelling make up for the two-frame walk-cycles and repetitive textures. This is geek storytelling pure and simple, but Carmichael has a gift for it. With a debut feature in the works (co-produced by Steven Spielberg), you can expect to be hearing a lot more from her soon.