Let’s play a game

So from my previous trope post, I talked about Horror. This lead me to wonder why do we prefer watching other people play games? I like Silent Hill series but I’ve never played any games myself completely. I only watched someone else play. This might not be a trope but let me extrapolate on this. We think its weird but it become so normal that youtube is over-saturated with this trend of gameplays.

Now, I have not played some games but watched someone else play. Why? For me, it’s because of two reasons:

1) When I was younger, I was to scared to play them or found them boring. (I’m glad that my tastes in games have broadened)

2) I don’t have the means to buy or play those games now. Time wise and money wise.

But nowadays, we see lots of people watching others play games not only horror games. Why is that? I looked around online and people watch others play video games because of many different reasons. They range from learning new skills and ways to play to not being able to play certain games because of personal preference, fear, or lack of money(let’s be honest some games are too expensive). All in all, it’s a thing! Some people even compared it to watching sports! I didn’t think about it but that makes sense! I don’t watch sports but I watch gameplays. Some people watch sports but don’t watch gameplays. You can have a great array of people that watch or don’t watch something based on preference. That’s it, it’s preference. It is something that some like doing while others don’t.

If we go back to watching people play games, there are mainly two types of commentary that you can get. (There are more but it’s on the lesser side, I guess). The really obnoxious ones that do not let you appreciate the game because of their commentary(especially in cut scenes) and the other ones that just play and no commentary is added. I don’t watch any of those. I prefer having commentary so there’s some extra input in what I’m watching but also having the person playing stop commentating when there are cut scenes and important events in the game. Obviously, that is what I like when watching someone else play.

I also feel like watching someone else play feels like you have company. Sometimes playing games by yourself seem to be mundane and I think watching someone enjoy a game is fun sometimes. Also, they allow you to multitask while getting to know the game and work on other stuff. Truly the saviors when you got a ton of assignments or work but want to get to know the story of a game.

Okay those are some reasons of why people watch games being played by others, but is there a difference in playing a game yourself and watching someone else play? I do think there is but it doesn’t bother me that much. So, I’m giving you the choice. You can play this Youtube game of escape that I made using videos and clickable labels endcards(youtube you failed me) to choose or you can watch me go through the thing without commentary.

The point of this game(if you can call it game lol) is to escape or more like leave the building without dying and in less clicks.

The beginning of the game.

(Side note: I didn’t know Youtube removed annotations/labels so I had to make do with end cards :/ They give away information about choices but can’t do much about it)

Also, it takes around 7mins (the fastest way) to finish it. It can take longer. I’m letting you know just in case.

My playthrough (this is basically the answer to get the fastest route, well I made this lol)

What do you think? Do you prefer playing or watching?

Links/References:

https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-appeal-of-watching-video-games-being-played-rather-than-actually-playing-them

Why do so many people watch others play video games? from gaming

https://www.wired.com/2016/08/why-i-watch-lets-plays/

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/why-watch-someone-play-video-game-when-you-could-play

You sound different?

After having a much more intensive thought about what sound is and how it works around us, I decided to take my lazy 24 hr video and crop it to 30s. Furthermore, I changed the sounds!! It has a different vibe to be honest and I think it’s good! What a surprise!! But hear me out!

You know sound is everywhere in our lives, right? (Well, not for everyone but most of us) Now, if you think about it most of the stuff that we watch now is highly focused in visuals but what about the sounds? You might watch a movie and be like “woah, that actor/actress is so pretty” or “those scenes looked awesome!” but you don’t know that the sound behind them, the sound that is happening at that moment is what makes it impactful to you. You might think that it isn’t true but have you tried watching a movie without sounds? Have you? Probably not, why? Because it is boring. This makes sound pretty important but we take it for granted because we are used to it. If you want to hear a bit more about how sound makes you feel emotions, you can read a bit about horror sounds in my previous post!

Sound creates an atmosphere and that is what takes us in. I went to the Drama Library at our school and lo and behold I saw the sound effects CDs and the names of each ones is simple. You want Leisure sounds, you got it. You want sounds from a different country, they got you. For some reason, you need office sounds, they have it. Here have a look!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you look closely, you can see all the tracks named and all of them are named exactly what they are supposed to sound. Not that it would work if they didn’t name the tracks what they are supposed to sound like. I found some of the names funny because I don’t know what some of them are and some of them have really detailed names! “Jogging – gravel – runner’s perspective” is really specific but sounds about right if you play it. It was a pretty fun activity going through each sound and wondering if I knew what they were without reading the names. Some, I knew, some were rather ambiguous but if you gave me an image with those sounds I would believe it.

So yeah! Sounds are neat! Give credit to them because they create the atmosphere that we enjoy. Although, silence is a good sound if that makes sense lol

 

P.S. I recently watched this one movie, Liz and the Blue Bird (or in Japanese Liz to Aoi Tori) that highly relies on sounds and if you like anime or pretty visuals and awesome sound, you should check it out!

A bit of suspense aka Horror

Nothing beats having a bit of anxiety other than some horror.

Horror has become so over-saturated with jumpscares that most media aren’t even scary anymore besides that one second scare. If you want to read what is horror you can read it here. I don’t have to explain this anyway, hopefully.

Now, you should have seen the video above that I made. My theme was horror but I tried not going with the usual jumpscare because those are boring. My approach, or at least what I tried to do, is the psychological horror. It might not be a great attempt but something is something, right?

I think that psychological horror is the best one out of all other ways to scare people. Some of my inspiration comes from games especially Silent Hill(any game from the main series). The games deal with a lot of this psychological horror which is not explaining stuff directly(symbolism) but only showing the audience pieces to assemble. The pieces are made so any interpretation can be made. It has much more depth than a short scare. The symbolism let’s you ponder for a long time and even causes uncertainty that makes you aware of your surroundings. That lingering sensation that something is bothering you but you don’t know what it is is in my opinion the best way to scare someone. Silent Hill does this. Its use of sound and visuals make the games give you anxiety and induces suspense as the player doesn’t know what is happening. Here are some pictures of Silent Hill 2.

Silent Hill 2 uses fog and gruesome imagery to create fear.
Ambience has a strong impact in causing fear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll avoid spoiling the game so if you’re interested go check it out! Whether you play the game or watch a playthrough, it is worth the time.

Now in this video, I tried making full use of the time of the day and sound to create a sense of uneasiness and maybe create some fear. While making it, I noticed that making something scary is harder than it appears. Sound and visuals are really important but I think sound has the biggest impact overall. When editing, it shows that anything that is scary can be useless if sound is not present so props to sound designers and people that have to think what fits best in a scene!

If you want another site for more info about horror in films, you can go here. There they go over what the horror genre is and give some early examples with old films to modern ones(it’s not up to date). There is an extensive list of horror films in there but also, a list of great horror films.Funnily, horror films get rated a lot that you’ll always find top horror films or worst horror films. This shows how much the horror genre has been used that people need to compile which ones are the best and which ones are the worst. Nevertheless, horror is fun! It’s scary but fun in some way. Want more? Here you can see a disambiguation of the horror genre that gives the reason as to why it is hard to create a convincing scary, fear and anxiety inducing media.

 

Links and references:

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Horror

https://www.filmsite.org/horrorfilms.html

6 Common Horror Film Tropes

Secrets of the Horror Genre

 

How Not To Be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File by Hito Steyerl

After watching the video(see title), I got to think about what we determine as to be seen and what is not. Hito describes it as ways to engage with the camera to hide our identity. In another video, she explains that the video comes from a homage to another video called “How Not To Be Seen”. The video talks about how been seen is dangerous as they “kill” each person that appears. Obviously, this is for comedic purposes but makes you think how dangerous it can be if you are seen when you shouldn’t be. That’s where Hito mentions that her video is talking about how to disappear from security cameras which are dangerous in certain situations, especially when trying to hide.

Hito’s attempt in showing people how to not been seeing demonstrates some actual plausible ways to hide oneself but there are others that do not work. She knows that but still wanted to talk about how disappearing and hiding are hard with how technology advances. I found the video rather interesting but it also showed some imminent fear of how every time someone is not seen is regarded as eliminated or deleted. I kind of related that to get killed for knowing too much or to keep someone silent. This turned out to be more darker than expected if we see it in that light, but at the same time, it teaches us how much technology has evolved to the point where we can make ourselves disappear even if only through post production or some simple techniques.

Nevertheless, hiding and not been seeing seems like an appropriate way to keep yourself safe but also, make yourself gone from anywhere. Whether we are there or not will mainly depend whether we want to be seen or not.

Now, lets put this into another context that is green screen and how someone can choose what to show or not. Just like Hito Steyerl! Green screen is method that allows people to remove something unwanted from a film and replace it with something else. It can be anything, seriously anything! The problem is what looks good and what doesn’t look good when using green screen. If you look at today’s films, most of them are actors in front of green screens. This makes production “cheaper” and allows more freedom with visual effects. Not all films look good though. Some are terrible at handling green screens but the more technology advances the better the effects.

If you want to know about a good and bad green screen movie, check out The Day After Tomorrow (2004). This movie is mostly green screen. You can freaking see how bad it looks because the background doesn’t match the foreground at some points. This makes the movie a terrible film using green screen. BUT WAIT. Let’s think about it for a minute. The movie came in 2004. This is long ago so if we are comparing this movie to new ones from 2019, it doesn’t seem fair at all. So, lets talk about the movie in the context on when it was released. At that time, managing green screen must still be rough. I made a quick search for movies at the time and I guess The Day After Tomorrow really does have really bad green screen. But lets give it some credit as what they did with the movie is what most companies do nowadays, mostly film in green screen. This shows that green screen was in development and it is still in development. Its applications must have been harder to use in 2004 but there was an attempt. That should be a reason as to why it is a good green screen movie for the time that it was released.

The green screen method was a great discovery and it still is. People get to have more freedom as to what they want to make and at the same time show or hide whatever they feel like. Green screen changed the film industry and with it people’s creativity. What can’t be filmed nowadays then?

Annlee

From a product to an entity by itself, Annlee became a source of creations that anyone could use to make something. It’s rather interesting and at the same time sad that Annlee was merely a simple character that was to be used commercially if the circumstances allowed. Its design was the biggest “flaw” that it had, too simple and nothing noteworthy to become a hero or a popular character. I understand that characters have to have one characteristic that makes them pop out but that doesn’t mean that you can not improve them with time. That’s why as much as Annlee’s flaw was its design I also think that it actually helped other artists expand its story and characterization.

Annlee started as a 2D character but after being purchased by Pierre Huyghe, Annlee developed into an entity that could take any story or portray any characters as designed by the artist using it. What caught my attention besides the liberty for people to use Annlee was the choice that Pierre made to give all copyrights to Annlee and thus, ending the liberty of creation using this character and with it its “death”. Why was this needed? Annlee could have become an online star! Many characters created by Japan are mainly based on anime/manga designs because there is a great demand of them. That seems to also be the main reason why it more expensive to get a more appealing character than a plain one. But funnily enough, if you buy a character, you can add more characteristics to it but guess that didn’t happen with Annlee. Rather Annlee was remodeled into 3D to be easier to use and distribute. By reading further, it seems that this was just making Annlee become a product again and Pierre didn’t want to own Annlee as an object so that’s why he decided on giving the copyright to Annlee itself.

A character that was created for the purpose of advertising and probably with a low chance of surviving. Annlee was cheap but that didn’t stop artists from making it a symbol. Whether it be of liberty or to show how capitalism works, Annlee managed to give people a way to express what identity is and how it can change one’s mind.

The video of the image below can be seen in here.

Anywhere Out of the World, 2000, Beta digital, 4 minutes, PHILIPPE PARRENO

Links:

http://scienceandfilm.org/articles/2782/no-ghost-just-a-shell-interview-with-pierre-huyghe

http://minusplato.com/2017/01/no-post-just-a-shell

https://www.artspace.com/magazine/art_101/book_report/no-ghost-just-a-shell-phaidon-53070

http://www.airdeparis.com/artists/annlee/annleepp.html

http://www.mmparis.com/noghost.html

LETS ENHANCE

So, I’m a fan of sci-fi and cyberpunk and every time I see that they use some kind of high-tech that allows them to zoom-in or enhance a picture, to the point of being so clear that it’s absurd, I wonder what if you could have it in real life?

Well, let’s delve into it!

I made a small video explaining how the enhance trope works and how long it has been going on. Also, I created two small clips showing how it would work if I had the enhance ability in my computer. It sounds fun, right?

Now that the trope is explained, you might be wondering if there are actual ways to have the ability to enhance picture nowadays. The answer is yes and no. If you are looking for a way to upscale or “enhance” pictures so they look clear and crisp when made bigger, then yes there are ways. There is this website waifu2x that allows users to choose a picture, anime-style only(you could try a real photo but it probably won’t work), and upscale the picture while trying to keep the clean resolution as it can. You can try it if you want.

If you want to make enhance photos to make them clearer there is an article by Robin A. Smith that talks about a developing algorithm that can make photos crisp and of higher quality. Obviously, this only works with photos that are not for recognizing human faces. Making an algorithm that can do what the TV shows do is still far away. I don’t think it might come any time soon because of the difficulty of achieving a clean and crisp face shot of a bunch of pixels.

And as you read there is no way to enhance pictures/photos like they do on films and series because they are almost impossible with the technology that we have right now. Let be honest, there is no way you can get a hint from someone’s eye. That’s far-fetched! But if you wanna see it, here is the clip of that. There is also a compilation of different shows that display this trope.

Really?! That’s not gonna happen and sounds absurd too. But as you can see, it’s a pretty popular idea that keeps on being used. If you watch anime, then you can see that in an episode of Detective Conan evidence is found from a picture that has a mirror in a magazine. If you wanna check it out, it’s episode 106 (find your way to watch it). I’ll just show some screenshots from it.

Enhancement of a picture to find evidence

It is pretty hard to even see the mirror but here you go! They manage to zoom into the mirror that is at the left of the guy jumping from the window. Impressive! But sadly this is also impossible.

Lastly, if you wanna try a game that uses voice commands based on this trope you can check Nicole He‏’s (@nicolehe on Twitter) game.

References:

One Day Video

Here is my one day video!

I was planning on visiting a park that I’ve never been too because what better excuse to go somewhere that I haven’t gone to than for an assignment πŸ˜€

Well, that didn’t happen. Instead, my friend wanted a new pair of shoes and we both had time so we headed Downtown for those shoes.

YouTube for Kids

YouTube is a trend whether you like it or not it is part of people’s life. But that is not the discussion for this post but rather the “for kids” videos that are posted on the site. This article by James Bridle talks about the weird creepy unending youtube videos for kids. If you told me about them, I would probably know some of them or at least seen some images floating around the internet because of memes and whatnot. But to be honest, I would not go and willingly look for such videos. The amount of youtube videos targeted for “kids” is insane and at the same time they are not truly for kids. Content sharing and producing for this target audience is slowly brainwashing kids.

We are gonna start of with how easy it is to find these weird videos. Just doing a quick search on youtube of “kids videos” shows an insane amount of videos that I’m impressed if kids do actually watch these. Most of the videos are basically the same thing but with a different background or song. It’s the same content everywhere. Not sure if letting a kid go around youtube is a good idea, but seems like the content that they might watch is brainwashing them. The brainwashing is not the main problem but rather the availability of the videos. Any kid and I mean any kid that has access to the internet and, therefore, youtube can watch them. Obviously, it’s not their fault because they are doing what they are allow to do. I think this mostly happens because parents don’t have time to take care of their kids so they just give them a tablet/phone and let them watch videos. This is their entertainment. This is what they watch instead of television. If you are older, you might think that this is garbage. You can take an look and probably won’t last 10 seconds from any of the videos below. There is no point to them.

Simple YouTube search “kids videos”

I tried going through some videos to see where it would take me. All I could find was the same thing over and over again. Songs, rhymes, animated 3D/2D doing whatever, unwrapping chocolate eggs, unboxing toys, the list goes on. It’s just that they are still the same thing. It goes to a point where one video has more than 20 ads(it is an hour long but even a gameplay or movie on youtube doesn’t have that many ads let’s be honest). Not sure if this is just channels exploiting kids for views and therefore revenue but it’s insane. Not even television does that. See below and look it yourself how many ads are in one video.

As James Bridle explains, videos on youtube don’t seem to be any educational for kids at all. They only follow the same algorithm as the others making an absurd conglomeration of weird videos. I tried looking for some of the more disturbing videos that appeared on the article without looking it up on youtube and couldn’t find them. Some that were of course removed as told in the article. Although, you can find reuploads in youtube. I’m not really sure how kids look for videos but it seems that as long as they don’t actively search for them, they won’t find the inappropriate videos. If you try to look them up, you either have to be more specific when searching to find them. Now, if kids do in fact search for terms like elsa, spiderman, heros, etc. the search starts going to the weird side. Probably kids should not be allowed to search videos on their own as youtube has a bad censoring system.

Regardless of what kids do, there are too many videos of children rhymes with popular cartoons characters and unboxing/unwrapping videos. The amount reaches a point where it seems that youtube is saturated with them that kids think that watching them is normal. This is their daily routine, if it’s an actual thing. There is also the other side about parents allowing their kids to practically watch anything without any control whatsoever which leads to cursing and swearing plus violence. There is a lot of content in youtube that is not for kids. If parents don’t do anything about it, it might become a problem when their kids grow up.

Spread of Art

We know what art is or at least we think we know. If someone asks you what is art, you probably would, most likely, say that is anything that has a visual value and has a deeper meaning. Yes, that is a valid answer but at the same time is a bit lacking because lots of things can be art and they either are not visual or don’t have a meaning at all. Then you might wonder what is art? To tell the truth it is subjective. You might have your own values that determine what is art and what isn’t. A drawing, a poem, a photo, or even an object that you have can be art. It all falls down to what you think is important enough that you want others to see.

On this post I’m gonna talk about two readings, one is Hito Steyerl’s In Defense of the Poor Image and the other is Seth Price’s Dispersion. Remember my question about art? Well, that’s what I’m gonna talk about. You know an any day you find something that you like and you want to keep something as a reminder of that thing so you take a picture. You will get your phone and within some seconds you’ll have one, ten, or maybe even more photos from that something, am I right? That for you is in a sense art. Why? Because it has a meaning to you and when you show it to someone else it illustrates what you were doing. They can guess the meaning but they are also appreciating the photo that you took. Think about it. Nowadays, any photo that you take can be uploaded into social media and therefore you are sharing it to the world. Anyone can see it and anyone can give you an opinion about it. Isn’t that just like going to a museum and hearing people talk about that one piece that caught your eye and now you are also looking at. Then your photos are art too. The problem with the internet is the once it is there, there is no way out. What is the problem with it? That one picture will forever be on the internet and as long as it is there it can go anywhere. Others can download it, they can share it, and it keeps on spreading. Steyerl talks about how images get shared around and lose their value by losing their quality and/or already being really poorly taken in the first place.

Let me give you an example. See the two photos below?

You can tell that it’s a rubik’s cube. The left one is not as clear as the right one but you can still tell what it is. So what’s the point? If photos are taken without focus and you still can “see” what it is, then there really is no point as in why we can’t just share that and say it’s art. The reason you can’t do it is not because you are not able to do it it’s more of you shouldn’t do it. Why you shouldn’t do it? Because society will not accept it. That’s it. Steyerl explains that people did happen to take photos but they weren’t always the sharpest ones. You’ll get blurry ones that still make it to be shared and that’s fine but the main reason of the picture is gone. You can’t tell truly what it is as it can’t be shown exactly. If someone that didn’t know what a rubik’s cube looks like and saw that the left photo above, they could just say it’s boxes stacked or some buttons and they could be right. There is nothing that proves it is not a bunch of boxes or buttons. But if you show them the right photo, now there is less room for guesses. It is a cube a rubik’s cube. You can’t deny it. That’s why Steyerl talks about focus on photos, they let the viewers confirm what they are looking at.

Continuing with the talk about social media and photos, all the photos that you upload get compressed. There is no way out of it(well, unless you are uploading them into some kind of archive site but that’s not social media anymore). Compression will always happen because images are huge and take a lot of space an time to load so to make it faster and easier to access they have to be compressed, in other words, made smaller. Steyerl talks about the awfulness of compression because the image loses it’s sharpness and it’s value per se but Price also talks about the availability that it provides. You wanna share something with others? You can upload it on the internet and anyone can download it. It’s that easy! The problem? To share it means it has to be small enough so it’s quick and easy therefore you lose quality and information about the image. If you want something , you have to give up something in return basically. That is why Price explains that art can get dispersed through the internet but there is a cost. Besides that most of the time, we humans prefer to get things for “free” rather than paying e.i. games, art, videos, music, etc. The harder to get the more you want it. The same applies to art. The pricier or harder to see, because of fees and tickets, the more value art has. That’s why most people think that art has to generate money in some way or another or else it is not art.

Price does explain more about the idea of how people see art as like things that need a high price in order to fit into the category of art but there are people that don’t think that art is that. Therefore, we get underground artists that make and share their creations through other means that do not require a high price to see. There is the mention of Jorge Pardo’s whole floor from the Dia being regarded as art because of how it is set up. This is an exhibition and yes, there is an admission fee. Many will think this is not art and find it crazy but to me it feels like the artist is trying to tell people that as long as you see it as art, it can be art. Pretty crazy but it’s not hard to understand. Art is subjective but most of the time there is a set objective idea for it. What I think is that giving a meaning to something seems to have more impact as art than only showcasing skill by itself.

Sharing art is hard whether you want to give it for free or not depends on the circumstances but surely enough there is a lot of people that don’t care. That is why illegal downloads and sharing happens. Maybe it’s a good or maybe it’s bad. I think it is hard to say but it depends on what you believe in.

tl;dr: Basically, art is subjective and doesn’t depend on the price. Blurry/out of focus photos are not accepted on today’s society for good pictures. Also, piracy and illegal distribution is not as black and white choices as you think.