Haphead: Sci-fi series set in Ontario features butt-kicking video game heroine

A science fiction show set in a gritty, noir version of southern Ontario is being released episode-by-episode online and producers are hoping to build enough buzz to merit a second season.

It's called Haphead and the heroine, Maxine, is a young woman who plays video games so well she will literally kick the asses of her enemies: in 2025, a video game company has invented a game system so immersive and physical that gamers feel every punch and develop real muscles and martial arts skills.

2025 is just far enough into the future Maxine can be both really into video games and a young woman — and it’s completely normal, said Haphead’s creator, Toronto author and filmmaker Jim Munroe.

Munroe is also founder of a Toronto non-profit video game organization, the Hand Eye Society.

“Video games, to a certain extent have been a boys’ club,” Munroe said, in an interview with Metro. “I was interested in seeing what it would be like 10 years from now, and exploring that. A woman or a girl being interested in games doesn’t even incite any comment.”

2025 is also just far enough away that a guy who sports a face tattoo has grown into a responsible dad: that’s Maxine’s father, who is worried about his daughter’s economic future working in a factory that makes the not-yet-released game system in Hamilton.

Hamilton has become a “special economic zone” where companies like the one Maxine works for can violate minimum wage and environmental laws.

When things go wrong for Maxine, she turns to the skills she learned in the game system.

Maxine is played by Elysia White. “I really like that my character is this no-nonsense strong, independent woman, despite being an 18-year-old who just graduated from high school,” said White.

White said she’s hoping Haphead takes off with teenage girls.

“I want them to get rid of the Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus stuff for a second and see a female roughly their age in a role of power.”

Haphead has apparently raised the ire of some anonymous commenters on the Internet.

“There are all of these trolls, Internet warriors that are looking to find something wrong with it,” said White. “There are people who will message me and tell me how terrible an actor I am, but I am quite confident there are a lot more people who enjoy my performance, than the nameless usernames that didn’t.”

How to watch

The web series is available at Haphead.com.

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