Digital and Analog Storytelling

The entire history of human expression, slightly abridged

Video Three: “One minute book review: ‘All Your Base Are Belong to Us’ by Harold Goldberg”

EXTRA LIVES by Tom Bissell next to ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US by Harold Goldberg

EXTRA LIVES by Tom Bissell next to ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US by Harold Goldberg

AGAIN, with the books.

So I actually made this video BEFORE I made “Typeface and Identity,” but it took me longer to finish. The tons of different footage that I’m using in the video means that exporting it takes ten million years, so “Typeface” got finished first.

If you want to know how I made this movie, you’ll probably want to watch this one first.

I made this video of my winter walking diary (I walk all the time in Miller Park, a 20+ acre nature area near my neighborhood) for a day in late january, and that was when I figured out originally how to create picture-in-picture effects with Premiere. It’s not  a difficult process–it mostly includes double clicking clips and then manually dragging and resizing them–but it’s time consuming enough that I knew, if I went back and did another picture-in-picture this semester, that I wanted it to have a really purpose.

But when I finished reading All Your Base Are Belong to Us, I immediately started thinking about it again, specifically because the form allowed me to juxtapose two different sequences right next to each other. On top is a sequence of video games that I played, that have specific significance to my own history of video games (which explains why Sega Genesis games are represented by three different entries, and all post-Genesis games by only three more entries, because the Genesis came out when I was in my early teens).

A screenshot from the beginning of SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2, a popular Sega Genesis game

A screenshot from the beginning of SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2, a popular Sega Genesis game

The bottom sequence, though, is a series of advertisements for different gaming platforms: Magnavox Odyssey, Colecovision, NES, Sega Genesis, Sony Playstation, and a short clip at the end of a man showing his baby how to play Angry Birds. The history of video games, according to All Your Base Are Belong to Us, isn’t just a history of specific games and designers but a history of platforms and licensing. Seventh Guest couldn’t have been as popular without the widespread availability–new, at the time–of the computer CD-rom drive, and Crash Bandicoot is mostly important as a touchstone because its popularity coincides with Sony gulping down market share from Nintendo.

And, when I imagined trying to render those dueling histories visually, I immediately went back to my picture-in-picture winter walking diary. This time, though, I could use the form rhetorically, instead of just for novelty’s sake.

There is still a little weirdness in the format ratios, but I sort of like the jumpy, imperfect framing, I have to say. The pictures jump and shrink slightly throughout, which reflects the way in which the gaming industry worked. It wasn’t a simple, formulaic progression, but was much more haphazard, filled with failed and successful opportunists.

And I really don’t get why you would cover Bejeweled instead of Angry Birds (except for the fact that Goldberg was working at Sony when the former game was developed).

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This entry was posted on February 16, 2013 by in umdst, video and tagged , , , .
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