Portfolios and Video Games

For anyone who has been consistently reading my blog posts, you know that at this point, I’d say, “I’ve totally mastered this new thing!” Well, dear reader, I’m won’t lie to you—video editing was harder than I thought it would be. Good thing I did it a day in advance, ‘cause that took up waaay more time than expected. Hey, look at me, not procrastinating. Aren’t you proud?

I once went on a date with a film student who told me that even the shortest clips—commercials, trailers, etc.—can take days or weeks to edit; well, after working on 2 minutes of footage for almost 3 hours, I totally believe that. Cutting out bits where mistakes were made, adjusting the audio, positioning the captions—it was quite the tedious process. In the end, I’m relatively satisfied with my work, and now I’m apprehensively sending my digital child down the river, hoping the basket doesn’t sink in a plethora of hate comments. For those of you wondering, I used Kekai Kotaki and Nicole Green’s portfolios and Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 9, No. 2 for my video.

Now let’s talk about video games; of course it’s possible for them to have meaning. Phff, do I really have to explain the religious symbolism in Super Mario? Seriously though, video games are very effective ways of conveying messages, because they’re fun to play, attention-grabbing, and—when made using certain dialogue, music, and visuals—can deliver a powerful emotional punch. One game I think of in particular is That Dragon, Cancer, a video game made by parents Ryan and Amy Green, whose son, Joel, was dying of cancer. In it, the player experiences the torment of doing everything possible to save someone, only to lose him/her in the end, playing through Joel’s four short years of life. The helplessness felt by the player conveys how parents in this situation feel—the struggle to keep playing, to see the situation through, even though you know that the odds of getting a happy ending are slim to none. For the Greens, making this game was a way of coping with their grief and immortalizing their beloved child. For us, it’s a visceral, surreal, and in-depth look at the hearts of two sorrow-filled parents.