Tag Archives: Super Mario Bros

Replaying Video Games

Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HDCurrently I am playing Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD which is just a fancy way of saying it is the re-release of three parts of the Kingdom Hearts franchise. I love these games because they combine Disney and Final Fantasy, which are some of my favorite things. Playing through the re-release got me thinking about what makes a game replay-able.

There are some video games that I really could care less about going through the story again and others that make me excited to go through again. There are some elements that make going through the story again interesting, including time and decision power. Sometimes if the game is released again they will add elements to make the story interesting or challenging again, such as new monsters and offsetting the experience in some way. At the same time most of the game tends to be the same. So what opens up the possibility for replay with a game? Continue reading

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Musical Score Memory

Near my work there is an historical organ that every Friday at lunch they have someone come in and play. It fills the sound of the building as the music plays on. One of the neatest songs that they will play is the song from the end of Star Wars Episode IV. Whenever I hear that song it just brings a smile to my face. I think about the great moment at the end of the movie where Han, Luke, and Chewbacca are all getting their awards. The triumphant feeling of having just blown up the Death Star. The music from the score just fills me with all the emotions from that moment in the movie, which is exactly what a good score is supposed to do.

A good score creates music that implants itself into your brain to help you recall the emotions of that moment. The great thing about these scores is also that you do not need to hear much usually to have your brain trigger the memory. It is amazing how a sequence of notes can bring such a flood of emotion. Continue reading

The Hero’s Progress

The damsel in distress – part 2

Now I get to oversimplify some plots a little bit, and provide a broad stroke for you of what I am calling The Hero’s Progress. I am naming this after the famous Eighteenth Century works, The Pilgrim’s Progress, the Harlot’s Progress, and the Rake’s Progress. I lack the artistic skills to make images for you to match them, however. Maybe one of you can do so.

  1. Something precious is taken (our Damsel, perhaps)
  2. Show up to save it, and find out you are outclassed by the Villain or situation
  3. Find a teacher or Master to train and lead you
  4. Journey around and train up against increasingly difficult situations
  5. The Master is lost or dies
  6. The Hero surpasses the master, kicks butt, and saves the day

So that’s my take on parts that we seem to see a lot in the Hero’s progression, in leveling up, in game story telling, in super hero stories, in a lot of things. It’s certainly the sort of overall story we see with a Damsel in Distress.

Holly argued yesterday about how the Damsel in Distress is problematic because it seems to always be a weak woman and strong man having to save her. From a feminist standpoint, this is absolutely the case. You have a female character who, in the story outline I have here in the Hero’s Progress, shows up basically towards the beginning and then right towards the end.

I am going to take a storytelling approach to the problems here, however. In terms of motivation, we have several problematic aspects to this Hero’s Progress, and ways that they do not match reality – meaning that this story progression ends up making us feel like this is how things should be, without them actually being this way. Like Holly said, if a woman sits around waiting to be rescued, or a man feels he is worthless if he is not the one making more money, we have a problem. And it doesn’t match the reality in front of you then.

So, I am going to mainly deal with the first two aspects of the Hero’s Progress, because that is where there is overlap the most with Holly’s argument – and, as you see from my points, it makes the later stuff kind of moot. Continue reading

Damsels in Distress

So, recently I watched the first of a series of videos from Anita Sarkeesian talking about tropes in video games. The first one is actually part 1 of a two-part series discussing the trope of the “Damsel in Distress”. Part 1 is simply looking at early games, and part 2 will look at some more recent examples. As Anita has become a divisive and controversial figure, many response videos have come out as a reply to her video. Some of them I think miss the point, but others I think make legitimate claims against how she is presenting the information.

For one, by not allowing rating or commenting she is closing down the ability for people to discuss the issue. Which does turn in to her kind of preaching at people instead of having an open and honest discussion with other people that might make them think about their view of the world. Yes, trolls gonna troll, but you do not have to engage with them. In some ways by not allowing commenting you are feeding into their opinions of you.

Second, I do agree that I think she does not delve quite deeply enough into the issue. She points out examples and explains in fairly simple terms why it is problematic, but media criticism is not and should not be simple. There are many contributing factors to look at which each individual story to talk about why it is problematic. You also need to understand the whole story that is being told to talk about each iteration.

There are other things, but those are the big two in my opinion and David and I have been discussing them at length lately. So we decided it was time to do our own post or posts more specifically. We each brought a different perspective to the table about the problems with the damsel in distress. The way I have chosen to deal with it is bringing up some of the questions that came to mind after watching Anita’s original video as well as watching some subsequent follow up videos arguing against her premise. David will get his post up tomorrow. So follow me as we journey down the rabbit hole. Continue reading

Nostalgia Video Games

So yesterday Wreck it Ralph came out on DVD and of course David and I were eager to own it. Not only is it a great story, but it is full of great video game nostalgia. Which of course started David and I thinking about what was the first video game we ever played. I realized that I do not actually remember what the very first video game I ever played was, but I do remember the video games I played when I was young.

So in honor of the nostalgia and wonderfulness that is Wreck it Ralph, here is a list of my nostalgia games in no particular order. Continue reading