Are we fans of David Lynch's 90s murder mystery Twin Peaks? Well, let's see. Beutler Ink loves data, quirky tv shows, and symbols so much that we meet up for bi-weekly video chats to play charades, Scoot & Doodle and Sporcle. We like patterns, clues and trends, big time. What was Twin Peaks if not a love letter to data visualization?
Clever, I know.
When we sat down to determine what we wanted to make in honor of Twin Peaks' 25th anniversary, Claire, our project lead, looked at us like this:
Triangles? Seriously guys, that's all you have to so far? You have watched the show, right?
We were drowning in ideas for content, but we knew we'd have to temporarily shelve the more complicated, demanding, Cooper's-doppelganger-is-loose-in-the-Black-Lodge-what-now level stuff for the release of the new season.
Of course, when news broke that David Lynch wouldn't be involved with Showtime's Twin Peaks material in 2016, we collectively reacted thusly:
Ooh, gif fake-out! You thought I was going to use that one Donna crying gif, but I used a DIFFERENT one. It's Twin Peaks, folks, keeping you on your toes!
In order to celebrate 25 years of waiting to see the late Laura Palmer again, we knew we'd have to come up with something simple. Something beautiful. Like a slice of cherry pie, one might say. Or birdsong. "Ready, guys?" Claire/Cooper asked us, opening up a Google doc and turning to the team.
Visual approximation of the extremely capable, gifted Beutler team included above.
But how do you create web content to celebrate a show that's been masterfully dissected and re-imagined for decades? You can follow in Modern Seinfeld's footsteps and hope that your "Dale Cooper snapchatting Diane" image turns into a meme or whatever, but then you run the risk of being the Annie Blackburn of the Twin Peaks universe, the one we all thought was probably going to arrive, although no one's happy to have her around.
Girl, get outta here, you're about as "strange and wonderful" as a mayonnaise sandwich.
So we set out to illustrate the world we love in Twin Peaks, a world full of small challenges and hidden messages, portals to other worlds and secrets hidden behind locked doors. Merging Twin Peaks with an 8-bit NES landscape felt natural, and it gave us a chance to see our favorite characters visualized in a new, but familiar way.
(Granted, an actual Twin Peaks Atari game does exist, but if David Lynch is cool with multiple versions of things, we are too.)
The Atari game may be Laura Palmer, but our carefully constructed game map is her alluring cousin, Maddy.
In a lot of ways, it just makes sense. Twin Peaks torments us by showing Laura Palmer's body, her Black Lodge double, her brunette cousin, and several iterations of her face, on TV screens and in senior portraits before her killer is revealed. If that's not the TV-drama version of "Thank you Mario, but our princess is in another castle!" well then I don't know what is.
Got it, Laura. I understand now. Thanks very much for your transparency, and for clearing all of that up.
Why not send Dale Cooper back into a digital landscape from the 80s and have him take a warp tube to the Double R Diner while avoiding BOB riding around on a Bowser-style airship? The current era is overrated, anyway!