Play The Game

Here is the assignment “Remixed Game Covers” by Jim Groom: with a DS106 twist!

This assignment was surprisingly a bit more challenging than I had anticipated. The description says to “Take a video game cover and remix it to change up the meaning or play with the general idea of the game. You can see more examples in this post which is in many ways the inspiration for this assignment.”

Of course, I clicked the ‘remix’ button, and this is what I got:

How convenient, right? However, when I got to searching, the game covers were ones I’d never seen. Several had fonts that I knew would be extremely difficult to imitate. I really wanted to do the cover to a Choose Your Own Adventure novel because they feature things about stories on it, but the one I saw that fit the best was a bit too small and seemed to depict Native Americans in a less-tasteful manner. Therefore, I decided to go with the original Dungeons & Dragons handbook cover.

First, I found a website that allows one to export fonts as images: Fontmeme. I’ve used this one before, and it really helps to get a stylized font. Unfortunately, the ones they had for the subtitles wasn’t quite exact, but it was good enough. In Pixlr (where I edited the image), I used the dropper tool to pick the color for my font and then color out the rest of the words with the cover’s red.

As you can see, I inputted a different HEX code than the standard white. Then, I clicked ‘Generate,’ opened the image in a new tab, and then downloaded it. I resized my text using the ‘Free Transform’ tool. Honestly, the most difficult part of this assignment was trying to come up with a good alliteration for the title. “Digital & Storytelling” didn’t quite work, and “DS106 & Dragons” didn’t work either since the font does not have numbers. I tried to put in a space, but then it looked oddly sized. When I put them together, it looks long and clunky. I think I spent over an hour on those two things alone and I had to let it be.

This is certainly something I’d like to toy with later and perhaps complete with an iPhone in the dragon’s hand, a light saber in the warrior’s, etc. Ultimately, I really enjoyed getting to toy with the fonts. It was an interesting challenge to make it into an advertisement of sorts for DS106, which I’m not quite sure I fulfilled aesthetically but there is certainly an idea there. Simplistic and a tad mis-matched, but overall just for fun. I’d like to try this again with a newer game title (Animal Crossing?). Might have to do another remix…

What do you think? Am I my worst critic?

The Human Condition

Hello! This is Sterling with a post for the remix week. This time, I decided to combine 80s music with two abstract theatre concepts: biomechanics and constructivism. Biomechanics was developed by Vsevolod Meyerhold on the 1920s-30s and focused on “forge[ing] the connection between mind and body, to ‘teach the body to think'”. One went through structured physical training to develop this relationship. Constructivism is an art form that revolves around degrading objects to their basic forms, implementing them as modern tools for a modern society. You will see more specific examples in the video below. By employing these themes, I decided to take a more ‘dystopian’ approach and and parallel the negative side of humanity in a way unseen and unheard of.

Like how none of these are supposed to mimic reality, the audio is not perfect either. It is intentionally chaotic, the lack of a matching tempo or key hindering a smooth mashup. The three songs I used are People Are People (1984) by Depeche Mode, Shout (1985) by Tears for Fears, and The War Song (1984) by Culture Club. Even though they are quite different, their lyrics gave me similar thoughts. Why do people do what they do? Why can’t people get along? Why do people fight? By returning to our roots – a more primitive perspective – I think one can divine those answers, as shown by the footage I included.

That is why I chose the title “The Human Condition.” These are all human qualities, people are people, they shout, and they go to war.

All of the footage came from the video below about the Russian Avant-Garde theatre, which featured biomechanics and constructivism. My Theatre History professor actually showed it to us, and ever since then I have been intrigued. I’ve never seen this type of theatre in person before (and for good reason too, it’s rather alarming). When matching it up with the music, I was surprised to find how well the actors’ movements matched up with the irregular beats of the three songs.

Mixing the songs together (on Audacity) remained the hardest part. As mentioned earlier, they didn’t match up in tempo or key. There are some work-arounds that I tried, though I found that I preferred the disjointedness after some time. About 4/5 through the video, I think the music’s cacophony is so chaotic that it actually flows together very well. One effect that I ended up using a lot was Reverb. That, in conjunction with Echo, allowed the melody of a song to play at the same time as another without it being too distracting. The echo-reverb combination dissipated the tempo slightly and made the off-beat a little less noticeable.

An example of my reverb settings.

This assignment did not seem to fall under any certain assignment in the bank, so this was all on my own. Overall, I like the idea of creating some kind of critical analysis by combining an educational material with themed music. Even though it has words in the form of lyrics, it’s fun to try and communicate such feelings without explicit wording. Like many other educational works, it is all up to interpretation. I hope you see it similar to how I do.