Before I get into the details, make sure you read the actual story first! Check it out here.
Despite all of the late nights wrapping up work for this course, this final project made it all worth it. To be completely honest, this story isn’t really about Eric. It’s about me. Although I definitely embellished and exaggerated many aspects of the story, I was unquestionably addicted to video games when I was in college. Specifically, I was addicted to Halo. This addiction almost cost me everything. I was indeed staying up until all hours of the night playing Halo, and I definitely skipped the majority of my classes. It was so bad that I withdrew from two classes just so I didn’t get an F. Despite this “strategy,” my freshman year GPA was a dismal .96 (Animal House comes to mind…).
This didn’t change anything, though, as I was academically dismissed from school after the fall semester of my sophomore year. At the time, I honestly didn’t even think about the fact that my love for Halo could have possibly been the cause for my dismissal. I naively believed that I was just having a really hard time adjusting from high school to college. Although I didn’t eschew all of my relationships like Eric did in the story, I definitely went out less (as an adult, this doesn’t sound too bad, but this was college!) and prioritized Halo over my social life. My wakeup call, though, was indeed a text from a good friend. It happened just as I was about to purchase a plane ticket to a Major League Gaming tournament in Orlando. I took a real hard look at myself that night, and this assignment has brought many of those emotions. I’m grateful to be able to tell my story and hope that this in some way helps build some credibility for video game addiction as a recognized and treatable addiction.
Ok, so that was the background—now on to the story itself. I tried really hard to follow Pixar’s 4th rule of storytelling (Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.), but also tried really hard to let the story flow naturally. While the story structure is evident, I tried to find other ways of introducing each section and ways to veer a little off script at times. This was important to me because although a good story follows a structure, it doesn’t necessarily follow it to a tee each and every time. In a good story, there are always twists and turns—that’s what makes it interesting. Although my story may not have had many overt twists or turns, the concept of video game addiction itself is one that is only now starting to gain some credibility in the psychology field. The story itself is the twist.
In terms of media, I wanted to tie the story together by adding a handful of media objects. I first created an image in Photoshop showing the game cover for Halo on Xbox, and overlaid separate images of a game controller and a headset. To make each of the overlaid images stand out a bit more, I added outer glow and drop shadow effects to each of them. I chose yellow and red as my outer glow colors to symbolize the warning signs of video game addiction (think of a traffic light…). Next, I created an audio file using Audacity to simulate the Halo ringtone that Eric made for his cell phone. To do this, I downloaded the Halo theme song and a clip of a dial-up modem. The Halo theme song obviously represented the game, and the modem sound represented the online gaming experience. I cut the clips in Audacity and staggered the time that the modem sound came in to make it come in right when the pace of the theme song started to pick up. Then, I faded out the clips to clean up the endings, and uploaded the final product to SoundCloud.
The next piece of media was a video I created, but I will skip over that for now—I’ll discuss this later. Finally, I created one last image. This was a piece of clipart I found online of the weight of the world being lifted from a character’s shoulders, similar to how Eric felt at the end of the story. I also found a Halo logo on Google Images and used the Magnetic Lasso tool in Photoshop to extract the logo from its black background. I then added an outer glow and drop shadow effect to the logo and laid it all over the globe. I chose a blue outer glow since blue is a very calming color and this was symbolizing a feeling of inner peace and clarity.
Ok, so let’s go back to the video I created. I thought it was important to add some media to the story that truly showed the dark side of video game addiction. While this is NOT me in the video, I am a little ashamed and embarrassed to admit that while in the throes of my video game addiction, I occasionally cursed at the TV. The cursing itself in the video is humorous, but the raw emotion is actually kind of terrifying. In order to create this video, I was actually able to find clip of a kid screaming at his TV while playing Halo. However, I also found a video of people repeatedly dying in Halo (people have way too much time on their hands!), and was able to splice in some of the dying clips to sync up with the kid screaming at the TV. I think overall it paints a pretty powerful picture of video game addiction, and I hope people realize how serious it can actually be.
Whew! That about wraps it up. Since I hate ending on a serious note, here’s a picture that sums up how I feel about having to finish up this course: