Category Archives: Weekly Summaries

I’m in a glass case of emotion! … and wrapping up DS106…

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:



Weekly Summary

I did some interesting work this week with pictures. One of my favorite things to do is to take a picture and modify it in some hilarious way in Photoshop. That said, I have actually run into trouble doing this. I didn’t ever intentionally do anything harmful, but I had created a picture of my brother’s puggles with devil horns so I figured I’d create one of my fiancée’s dog with angel wings (gotta get those brownie points!). However, when I posted it to Facebook, everyone thought that my fiancée’s dog had died. Like I said–totally unintentional but definitely not good!

So this week, I tried to avoid any mishaps like that. Here’s what I worked on:

First and foremost, I went on a design safari. Elephants, palm trees, and puggles–oh my! I took a few different pictures that exemplified some of the design elements we learned about. Check it out here.

Next, I created a couple more Photoshop images. They may have turned out a little creepy, but I think the message is clear–don’t mess with me unless you want your face on a gorilla’s body! (just kidding) Anyway, check out the pics here.

Lastly, I found another example for storified content. This one hit pretty close to home, since as a guitar player, I have my own pedal board. What a nightmare it can be! Check it out here (for the record, that is not MY pedal board–I’m definitely a little more organized than that!).

Overall, I think it was a pretty good week. I’m looking forward to the 2nd half of the class!

Week 2 Summary

This week was definitely a little easier. Not necessarily in terms of content or the assignments, but certainly in terms of managing the workload. I can imagine this will get even easier as the course goes on, and I think this can even help in my job. Having a method to structure my time and manage my schedule is a skill that transcends blogs and bleeds into the “real world.” Here’s what I looked at this week:

1) I listened to the Radiolab “Talking to Machines podcast and talked about layering audio to achieve an effect or an emotion. I compared it to my musical recordings, and how the effect is similar despite the fact that it is music vs. spoken word. Check it out here!

2) I analyzed my absolute favorite commercial ever–the McDonald’s commercial where Larry Bird and Michael Jordan “play” each other for a Big Mac. I broke it down into 5 second clips and tried to pick out the important storytelling elements in each clip. Check it out here!

3) This was the first week I gave some peer feedback, and I thought it was a phenomenal exercise. It made me really look critically at not just their blogs, but also my own. It gave me new ideas and also hopefully helped them. Check it out here!

4) Lastly, I found another example of something in need of storifying–the security process at airports. This is a daunting and confusing process for many people, and I think a good story could make it easier. Check it out here!

Overall, I think this week was a success. I felt much less overwhelmed than last week, so I’m looking forward to continuing to improve in that regard. The more I get into blogging, the more I see it as a really unique and interesting tool for storytelling!

Whew, what a week!

Well, that was certainly a roller coaster of a week–not expecting that! This has been a TOTALLY different experience, and I’m loving it. On a personal level, I can’t remember the last time I truly wrote down my thoughts. I’ve never really blogged before, and it has been liberating; almost as if writing in a journal. Aside from the freeing experience, I also think I’ve been able to learn a little bit as well along the way:

1) I created my first blog! Here is a little bit about what it was like for the first time. Totally cool experience and I’m looking forward to building it and improvign on it throughout the semester.

2) I managed to work South Park into my coursework within the first week of class! I brought it up to discuss the shape of the story, which was a concept we learned about from Kurt Vonnegut. Check it out here.

3) I came up with the simplest definition of a story I possibly could. I tried to think about it as if I were explaining the concept to a child. I even talked about how the word “digital” adds a new dynamic to storytelling. Check it out here.

4) Lastly, I talked about a possible candidate for “storifying” – the most confusing road signs I’ve ever seen. This might not be the long term solution, but I think it’s at least a good starting point. Check it out here.

Overall, I think this week was a huge learning experience. There’s still a lot of work to be done, and I think my blogging can definitely improve. I also think I need to manage my time a little better, as this is not something that can wait until the last minute. When you put yourself out there for the whole internet to see, you need to make sure you are not simply “going through the motions.” This course is totally different than anything I’ve ever experienced, and I can’t wait to see where we land by the time the semester ends!