Consumer Recreation Services (CRS)
In the movie “The Game” (1997), Consumer Recreation Services (CRS) is a mysterious and secretive company that offers personalized, immersive “games” to its wealthy clients. The activities of CRS revolve around subjecting the protagonist, Nicholas Van Orton, to a series of increasingly intense and mind-bending experiences, blurring the lines between reality and fiction. Jim Feingold, Nicholas’s contact at CRS, explains to him, “It’s a game . . . specifically tailored for each participant. Think of it as a great vacation, except you don’t come to it, it comes to you.”
CRS designs highly personalized and elaborate “games” tailored to each individual client. These games are meant to challenge the participants emotionally, psychologically, and physically, promising to provide a transformative experience.
CRS employs an extensive network of actors and sets up elaborate scenarios in the real world to manipulate the protagonist’s perceptions and emotions. They use advanced surveillance technology and psychological profiling to anticipate his reactions and tailor the game accordingly.
The game orchestrated by CRS is designed to exploit Nicholas’s deepest fears and insecurities, plunging him into a state of paranoia as he struggles to discern what is real and what is part of the game. The ultimate goal of the game is to lead Nicholas to a moment of profound self-discovery and realization. The experiences he goes through force him to confront his past, reevaluate his priorities, and ultimately transform as a person.
The activities of CRS push the boundaries of ethical considerations, as they subject Nicholas to increasingly dangerous and life-threatening situations, intentionally blurring the line between reality and the game, leaving him unsure of whom to trust.
CRS’s activities highlight the theme of obsession and control, as the protagonist becomes increasingly consumed by the game, losing control over his life, and becoming entangled in a web of elaborate manipulation. Immediately before the game ends, Nicholas, believing he has accidentally killed Conrad, attempts to commit suicide by plunging off the CRS building, only to survive the fall, thanks to CRS’s careful placement of safety glass and air cushions.
Throughout the movie, CRS remains enigmatic, and its true intentions and motivations are shrouded in mystery until the climax, where the ultimate purpose of the game is revealed.