Interactive Fiction

redemption beta version

Redemption 1.0

Redemption was my first attempt at an interactive fiction game. My goals were to make it more of a narrative based game than a cause/effect game, however it became slightly challenging to create multiple scenarios that could have the same outcome while keeping up a rich narrative. I attempted to add certain “conditions” along the way to allow players to evaluate how they are doing in the game, without necessarily telling them which choices to make. Overall this game was mostly about the challenges of adolescence, and taking players through a virtual simulation of just how off the rails some experiences with adolescence can be. Hopefully the game does not just confuse players, although I can see how that would be the outcome. Although this game is not necessarily based on my experiences in adolescence, and it does make some outlandish connections for the sake of comedy, everything in this game is something very real that can happen to children growing up and facing challenges. Obviously, many people get through their teenage life just fine– maybe they have some problems, a few bumps along the road, but mostly there’s not question that they remain overall well adjusted and happy throughout. This game is not about those people, although they are certaintly welcome to play it.

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The Saga of Baba Fats edited by Brooklyn Birzin

In this digital story I wanted to convey how people tend to ignore the things that really matter in life in order to go after what feels good in the moment. I also wanted the rhythm on the photo sequence to collaborate with the vocal cadences, which seems to have been achieved nicely. Instead of choosing only photos that matched up with Shel Silverstein’s original “The Perfect High,” I decided to depict multiple kinds of self-destructive behavior. Aside from drug use, these included disordered eating, impulsivity, and allusions to suicidal ideation. This is because all of these things can lead to a person losing sight of who they are and what is actually going on around them, which I find is more pertinent to the original poem’s deeper message. I made some minor political allusions (a picture of Obama crying, a pro-Trump security detail, and a photograph of Syrian refugee children playing in their camp) as well, which I hope did not take over my piece, but instead served as symbols of the real world, values associated with human nature, and what is truly worth pursuing in this world.

Response to Complex “Play” by the Daedalus Gateway

This Daedalus Gateway article about MMORPGs brings up an interesting dynamic between the practicality of video games and the destructive, violent aspect of video games. This is highlighted in the beginning, with this introduction:

“Popular media caricatures video games as relentless and senseless violence, so it becomes easy for non-gamers and even academics to dismiss video games as not only pointless but perhaps even dangerous to society. MMORPGs, on the other hand, are surprisingly non-violent and offer many examples of complex play that involve social interaction, collaboration and long-term goals.”

This is a valid point about MMORPGs. The way that these games are structured promotes strategizing, planning, and working together with other players. These skills are invaluable. However, the rest of the article goes on to talk mostly about the nefarious projects players get into in some MMORPGs. Aside from the mention of virtual weddings, MMORPGs seem almost sinister at points in this article. Although video games can definitely be an educational tool, and it seems as though the overall goal of this Daedalus Gateway is to promote that idea, this post suggests that MMORPGs teach players that the economy is run by illegal activity, and that establishing a pharmaceutical brand should be the focus of a player’s gaming. Which, depending on the game, may or may not be true.

Response to Pixar Touch article

“Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.” The Pixar Touch’s article about the Pixar story rules brings a few different aspects of story and literature into light, but this one sticks out. What is it about a certain story that makes it worth writing? Why do we choose to go with some of our ideas and discard others, even good ones? What gives our stories meaning, strength and power? I feel as if a lot of the rules presented in the Pixar Touch article and the article linked above definitely help to add those qualities to a story. At the same time, the field and scope of a store is really vague. According to dictionary.com, a story is “a narrative, either true or fictitious, in prose or verse, designed tointerest, amuse, or instruct the hearer or reader; tale.” By that criteria, a story can really be anything. So does it inherently have that sentience that the Pixar Touch article suggests?

Audio Interview with Katie Higgins and Ian Villacres

Check out my interview here!

Author’s Statement

One of the biggest struggles with my interview’s sound composition was that my interviewees kept shifting and slightly tapping on my audio recorder. One of my interviewees also insisted on eating and cursing while doing the interview, and at times I struggled to try to redirect her and keep her on track. The overall goal of my piece was to provide some insight into the creative mind and interdisciplinary artists. The song playing in the background it’s called “The Girl Who Stole My Tamagotchi,” by Hot Sugar, and I chose it because I felt that the ambiance of the song matched the tone of my interview, which I ended up treating more like a podcast than an official interview.

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Response to “The Video Essay” by Matt Zoller Seitz

“… The idea that one would have to seek someone’s permission before criticizing or commenting upon their work is not just anathema to reason, it’s faintly fascistic, and as such, cannot be sustained.” Matt Zoller Seitz brings up an interesting perspective on sharing art in his article that has not necessarily been widely thought about in terms of video copyright yet. Every succesful artist has probably had to deal with the consequences of sharing their art with the world at some point. When we create art, we invite others to project meaning onto it. Our art stops belonging to just us. Artists are constantly taking risks, and it makes their art better. One question this leaves me with is, how does one effectively balance risk taking and self-care, and still produce quality art? This blog post about creative risk taking and self-esteem expands slightly on the benefits of taking that risk and following it through, but where are all of the accounts of artists who’s lives were crushed after their art wasn’t received correctly? What happens when that unsustainable idea of seeking someone’s permission before criticizing or commenting upon their work means the difference between a nurtured creative soul and a bitter, lonely person? As a copyright issue, I understand why artistic work needs to be catalogued. However, I dont think that everything or everyone is automatically required to be open to criticism.

Photo Essay

Photos

Author’s Statement

In this photo essay, I set out to reveal the process of adolescent self-destruction and suicide and the many facets of its social media presence. In particular, I aim to target the jarring Facebook feature that enables your account to be “memorialized” post-mortem. This feature is supposed to make your Facebook wall a tribute to remembering your life, but in the event of a tragic death, does this do more harm than good? In my photo essay, I include screenshots of a Facebook profile that publicly pleads for help, posts cryptic status updates asking why it would matter if this person were to shoot himself. These updates received very few comments or reactions until after this person followed through with his suicide, and yet these are the posts that remain at the top of his memorialized account, reminding his family and loved ones that he had been screaming for help with no answer. This is just one of many depressed, addicted, or otherwise troubled young people who’s deteriorating lives and sanity can be tracked on their social media accounts, all the way up to their deaths.