An undermaller poses next to a picture of Plotzo in the R@z Nest (Benji Geary, Lead Artist) at Meow Wolf Denver’s Convergence Station. Photo by Jess Gallo, Atlas Media.
Times are changing and being changed. Recently, there’s been a noticeable amount of 80s-neon-cyberpunk-themed arcades filled with stylish misfits popping up. Inside the arcades are messages and mini-shrines dedicated to a rodent-headed dude rockin’ a green mohawk. Benji Geary(Meow Wolf’s Senior Art Director and co-founder) explains that in the Undermallers origin story, there was a monumental time split in the early 1980s. In this alternate reality, tensions between nations shifted from bad to worse. Panic and paranoia forced the American population to move into massive arcology super-bunkers that were being built in large metropolitan areas across the US. These super-bunkers were designed to resemble a stereotypical American mall from the 1980s to aid in morale, but instead left the youth feeling disillusioned, frustrated, and confused.
Gene modification and hydroponic technologies were developed expeditiously to supply enough food for the inhabitants inside of these self-sustained mall-arks. G-modding was also being used for experimental style and fashion. Gangs of directionless, rebellious, youth were on the rise. It is in this critical time of chaos that a mysterious figure – Plotzo – appears. He supposedly took g-modding to a whole new level by freaking mutating himself to have the head of a rat. Plotzo was quickly dubbed the “R@ King” by these radically g-modded mutant punks from the “Undermall” who are now referred to as the Undermallers.
The stories of Plotzospread quickly across the Undermalls of America, helping the Undermallersunify and “organize". TheUndermallers began using portal openings to plant mall-arcade clubhouses for recruiting new members from other timelines and collecting coins for Plotzo. This is the beginning of the “R@z Fusion”. So far, remnants of Plotzo and the Undermallers have been found in messages, graffiti, and recruitment tools/games inside the portal openings at Meow Wolf Grapevine’s The Real Unreal, Meow Wolf Denver’s Convergence Station, and Meow Wolf Santa Fe’s House of Eternal Return. Beware!
(Benji Geary, Lead Artist, and Caitlin LeMoine, Creative Director)
The latest portal opening used for the Undermallers’arcade planting is located inside of Mug Shots PlasmaplexofThe Real Unreal. Wait! Plasmaplex? Quick huddle. Here’s the piping hot leaf beverage regarding “plasmaplex” – apparently, the Undermallers made it fashionable to bleed on shoes (probably an initiation or modification-mishap turned trend). They believed this would earn Plotzo’s attention.
There’s been speculation if any of the Undermallers have even met Plotzo (it’s difficult to fact-check members of an interdimensional gang). There are plenty who have claimed they’ve met him and they continue carrying messages on his behalf.
Does Plotzoreally exist? What exactly is existence? If Plotzo only lived in the heads of the Undermallers, would that still count as living? Wouldn’t that hurt somehow? Anyways, that’s the hot goss about plasma. Inside Mug Shots Plasmaplexis an arcade of unusual and visually compelling games speculated to be the Undermallers’recruitment devices and coin offering buckets for Plotzo. Here are some of them to be on the lookout for:
AEON(Eric Trich, Lead Artist) allows the player to weave in and out of different universes with the wave of their hands. Players design a superverse in this game and fuel the cycle to repeat by consuming dynamic moments in time. Please play with caution, as creating these new realities might not be just a game.
Jared's Journey(Subliminal Games, Development Company) lets players manipulate the environment around Jared Fuqua as he travels through The Real Unreal. Is it changing the surroundings outside of the game, or is that just a you thing?
Hands that Steal from "Other" Mouths(Temitope Olujobi, Lead Artist) is a two-player game of hide and seek, offering players the option of being “The Hand” (the taker), or “Mouth” (the guardian of “Moutheria”). Choose wisely because the Undermallersare most likely keeping tabs on which one you selected.
Dreamfather Loves You (Strange Scaffold, Development Company) explores the difficulties of a relationship with the volatile “Dreamfather”. Juggle with glee through his ever-changing mood each spin, only to receive either temporary approval or being ghosted– whoa, breakthrough time. The Undermallersdeserve more recognition than they get for the hard work they’ve put into theR@z Fusion mission. Imagine organizing a small army and traveling interdimensionally to build arcades, all for an absent and paternal figure’s approval they may never receive.
VEND-E(Max Neutra, Lead Experience Designer) is a sassy vending machine made from scraps by the Undermallers.VEND-Edispenses a whole lot of entertaining ‘tude and continues to spew unwarranted advice, like “If ya spilled yer drink on yer shirt, blood will cover it right up!”. VEND-Ecan also rap if you know how to push their buttons. VEND-Ealso claims to have had an idea for a rat battle game and needs to run it by Plotzo.
Wiggy's Plasma Plex was the first Undermaller-planted arcade discovered within this reality. Wiggy himself is an absentee landlord who keeps the gangs of the Undermall in check somehow. Seriously, getting a group of subterranean freaks to bathe is nearly impossible, let alone paying rent on time! However, there is no direct link between Wiggy and Plotzo.
Wiggy’s Plasma Plexoffers a mix of familiar games from this timeline and others. Most of the games here are free but there are a few machines that take coin collections forPlotzoin exchange for a possible keepsake.
There’s a machine featuring Alva (the interdimensional travel agent from Portals Bermuda, located in House of Eternal Return) that dispenses accurate fortunes and a fan dispenser with artwork fromObsidiopolis. Plotzo’s Swap Meatis a claw machine where players can win VHS tapes, studded jewelry, bowling pins, and lots of other bizarre treats! Inside of it is a large plush of Plotzo, taking up most of the machine, too large for the claw to grab. Is something exciting lurking beneath it, hiding in plain sight?
The Undermallersfound portal openings thanks to QDOT (Quantum Department of Transportation) and created a punk-hangout haven inside of an underground sewer chamber in Convergence Station. They call this the R@z Nest but this place is more like a R@z infestation. Be warned: This is a pretty cool joint and will probably entice you to stay and join the Undermallers – especially with these machines:
Undermallers Rat Fight Game(Benji Geary, Lead Artist)is a game that captures an ancient human hobby: fighting. The Undermallers spend much of their time and collected coins battling it out in this game. Ante up and keep it coming because these rats with bats are ready for bashing and smashing – all the time. Sounds like someone heard and stole VEND–E’s idea. Those rascals!
VEND-L(Benji Geary, Lead Artist) is another Undermaller vending machine that talks. Although they might have similarities, there’s real beef between VEND-E and VEND-L about who is the better rapper after last year, whenVEND-L released a catchy rap video. There are various products on display but this dweeb only seems to dispense frustration and steals coins for Plotzo offerings. VEND-L is usually spouting off jokes or trying to roast anyone passing through the R@z Nest but also drops hints about swapping info that might end up turning into a side quest.
If you see an Undermaller, ask if they are thirsty because they might not be hydrating enough. Portal traveling and gang recruitment can be a tiring job with little to no appreciation. They’ve been through a lot in their timeline and we should be more welcoming and thankful for their rad arcades. Remember to remember the Undermallers and please keep Plotzo’s message close to heart, “You wanna come hang with the R@z? Legit Plasma or Bust!”.