Being a teen during the rise of the internet was weird in too many ways to describe. While you were experiencing all manner of hormonal and bodily changes, the rest of the world was experiencing its own kind of tumultuous transformation. As you matured into young adulthood, attempting to navigate the social structure that came along with it, the rest of society evolved and tried to navigate this new network of online people. While you discovered your sexuality for the first time, the word “cyber sex” sent ripples across many different cultures, introducing the world to a type of intimacy it had never known before. We were all of us fumbling around with these new feelings and tools, not knowing that the things we did with them now would affect us so much in the future.
Nina Freeman’s upcoming autobiographical game Cibele explores the life of one teen girl caught in this whirlwind of discovery. Following the real events that took place over eight years ago, Cibele revolves around her experience of eventually meeting her Final Fantasy Online boyfriend in the real world. While rooting around for digital records from that time to include in the game, Nina found a video she sent to one of her online boyfriends back in the day. It captured the premise of the game, in all its awkward teen glory, so perfectly that she decided to release it as a prologue of sorts prior to the game’s imminent release.
Like so much of Nina’s work, the video is terrifyingly intimate. She whispers every word to the viewer, the inherent vouyerism of watching a teen girl with a camera giving off an uneasy but excited vibe. “I was trying to be quiet so i wouldn’t wake up my mom,” Nina (a previous Kill Screen intern and writer) tells me over Facebook chat. “I was being secretive.”
On her social media, she shared the trailer with this disclaimer: “I know, weird young me, braces, long hair… it’s embarrassing, but this entire game project has been a huge exercise in humility so it’s fitting, haha.”