Final Project: Stay Awake- Mary Poppins Horror Trailer Recut

My project took a 1964 family movie, Mary Poppins, and twisted it into a trailer for a horror film. The process of remixing genres has taught me a lot about how each genre sticks to a specific kind of template in order to generate their tone. Additionally, I developed great respect for editors, as they hold a large portion of the responsibility for how a piece of media will be understood. Finally, it was most fascinating to explore how material can be manipulated to convey a meaning drastically different from its intended use.

While this project has been a lighthearted play on bending genres in unexpected ways, it brings about the serious cause that Brett Gaylor discusses in his movie Rip!: A Remix Manifesto. He reads his manifesto as: 1. Culture always builds on the past 2. The past always tries to control the future 3. Our future is becoming less free 4. To build free societies you must limit the control of the past. His argument is that culture builds off the progress made by culture before it, and when that ability to do so is inhibited, the past puts a limit on the progress of the future. He warns of the dangers to creativity and the development of culture that come from copyright laws today, and advocates for the free flow of media. In the case of my project, the movie I used to remake into a horror trailer was copyrighted and not available for legal remixing, an example of the past controlling the future. While the production of my video may seem like a silly pastime for entertainment, the concept of exploring genre could be an essential practice for those going into filmmaking and editing, and the laws surrounding the rights to most movies would not allow for this.

Final Project: This Is Media

Television fans are not complicated creatures. It is no mystery that if people are entertained by something, they tend to engage with it. In the age of the Convergence Era, this phenomenon proves to be true more than ever. After all, entertainment is now as simple as a click of a button—a button that can be anywhere at any time. Suzanna Scott reiterates this point in her article, “Battlestar Galactica: Fans and Ancillary Content,” by exploring the growing relationship between television fans and what she describes as “ancillary content.” According to Scott, ancillary content can be found on a television series’ website in the form of webisodes, webcomics, episodic podcasts, blogs/vlogs, alternate reality games (ARGs), and more (321). For the sake of Scott’s argument, she focuses on a series of episodic podcasts that were recorded by Ronald D. Moore, creator and executive producer of Battlestar Galactica, while it was still on the air. These weekly podcasts helped fill in the missing information between episodes that would otherwise leave viewers to “debate potential answers and scribble in the textual gaps and margins to create and circulate answers of their own.” (321) Not to mention, the podcasts also served as Moore’s way of providing context and justification for narrative decisions.

While these functions may sound beneficial to the Battlestar Galactica fan-base, Scott claims otherwise in her article. Rather than innocently providing entertainment to fans, Scott views the increase of producer and creator podcasts as the television industry’s attempt to “maintain interpretive power.” (321) In other words, she is arguing that ancillary content does not allow for audiences to develop their own fan texts before a show’s creators fill in the narrative gaps and ambiguities for them. This could be viewed as what Scott refers to as “ideological control,” because the producers and creators decide what the “intended” and “preferred” interpretations of the text should be. As a result, Scott claims that this shrinks the amount of creative opportunity available for fans, even if the content is inspirational.

In addition to decreasing creative opportunity, Scott also argues that ancillary content facilitates more of a monologic than dialogic relationship with fans. In other words, while audiences may be able to talk back to their television screen online, the conversation is not a back-and-forth dialogue.

I do not doubt the validity of Scott’s arguments when it comes to the ancillary content associated with Battlestar Galactica. However, it is worth exploring whether or not her claims apply when it comes to a different television series. Considering the vast amount of ancillary content associated with the television show This Is Us, it makes for a worth-while comparison in terms of producer and fan-base relations.

Unlike the science fiction media franchise that is Battlestar Galactica, NBC’s This Is Us is a comedy-drama television series. On September 20, 2016, the day of its premiere, the world was introduced to the Pearson family: Jack, Rebecca, Randall, Kate, and Kevin. Throughout its now three seasons of being on the air, the audience has been through a great deal of experiences with the previously mentioned characters of the show. For starters, the adoption of Randall after his birthfather left him at a fire station, the development of Jack and Rebecca’s relationship, and the realistic hardships that seem inevitable for this Philadelphia family. Unlike most shows, This Is Us does not tell its story in chronological order. Instead, the story is told with the help of multiple flashbacks that depict the Pearson’s past and present experiences. This always makes for entertaining episodes that play out the life of a family that may be unique but, nonetheless, manages to be relatable to each of its 10.3 million viewers (Jefferson n.pag.).

Of the 10.3 million viewers that tune in to watch This Is Us every week, 105k of them are subscribed to the “This Is Us: Aftershow” on YouTube. Much like Battlestar Galactica’s producer-made podcast, the Aftershow is hosted by Executive Producer, Isaac Aptaker, and Co-Producer, Kay Oyegun. However, being hosted by producers is not the only similarity between the two podcast-like creations. Both offer commentary, context, and predictions from the producers episodically. An example of this dialogue can be viewed in the video below, titled “Aftershow: Season 3 Episode 18 – This Is Us.”

Just below the video, notable fan-comments can be found:

All of the comments above have one thing in common: fans are trying to fill in the gaps of the storyline and they are making predictions for future episodes. However, according to Scott’s study of Battlestar Galactica’s ancillary content, the ability for fans to make these kinds of comments is difficult because a show’s creators fill in the narrative gaps and ambiguities for them. While this might apply to fans of Battlestar Galactica, it appears that the This Is Us producers leave room for mystery, even when utilizing ancillary content. Ultimately, this seems to leave the fans feeling satisfied, especially when looking at some of the other comments left below the video:

In addition to subscribing to the Aftershow, fans have the liberty to follow This Is Us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. From the looks of it, many fans act on this opportunity, with 3.9 million followers on Facebook, 412k followers on Twitter, and 1.3 million followers on Instagram.

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Needless to say, this further suggests that This Is Us has an incredibly strong fan-base across all platforms. While this could and should be viewed as the television industry’s way of furthering their agenda to keep creative power in their own hands, I still think it allows for more of a dialogic relationship than Scott could have predicted. This could easily be attributed to the fact that social media was not as developed at the time of her analysis. Now, social media gives fans the opportunity to interact with and respond to producers of their favorite shows, even if a back-and-forth conversation is only an illusion to make fans feel as if their voices are being heard. Take this interaction on Twitter, for example:

I would also argue that even if there is a strong power-dynamic between the television industry and fans, not all creative opportunity for fans is lost. This is especially evident when viewing the vast amount of fan-made content on the Internet.

For example, there are six podcasts created by fans alone, one of which is shown below, titled “This Is Us Podcast with Kei & Clyde.”

Furthering this point, the website “Vulture” has an entire webpage dedicated to a This Is Us blog.

Among other fan-made content consists of social media pages, like the ones pictured below.

Instagram

Twitter

After reading about Scott’s analysis, viewing This Is Us ancillary content, and analyzing This Is Us fan-made content, I have come to a final conclusion. My conclusion is as follows: Scott was correct to claim that producers create ancillary content as means of maintaining power in the television industry. However, it does not hold true that this always takes away interpretive power and creativity for all fan-bases. This is demonstrated perfectly in my analysis of ancillary content associated with This Is Us. While producers are creating ancillary content for fans, its point is not to interpret the show for them. Instead, it appears that the This Is Us producers participate in its creation to keep fans connected and engaged in their community. Therefore, the This Is Us fan-base is tightly bonded not only because of their love for the show, but because of their trust in the producers to value them as fans. While the end goal here is still money and power, it is accomplished in two different ways (i.e. filling in gaps for fans vs. leaving room for questions). Not to mention, the Internet still allows for a great amount of creativity from fans that wish to express their thoughts about shows in the form of social media posts, art, writing, or otherwise.

While it might not be a surprise that the power of the television industry is alive and well today, it is worth noting that ancillary content does not necessarily have to affect the interpretive and creative power of fans, especially when it comes to This Is Us.

Gifset Assignment: Final Project

Since early television and other sources of media have become popular, gender roles have been depicted. The Broadcast Era of television began in the 1940s and ran until the 1980s. During this era women were typically housewives who stayed at home and did all of the childrearing, cleaning and cooking. Most of them did not get jobs or receive a college education. This continued through majority of this time period, although eventually women began to have different ideas about the typical role they played in society throughout this time period. This role that women assumed was depicted in the media created during that era. Some of the most famous shows that showed women in their housewife roles include “I Love Lucy”, “Leave it to Beaver”, and “The Dick Van Dyke Show”. Television scholars have written about how television impacted family life and family dynamics. One of the works we looked at in class, Television in the Family Circle, written by Lynn Spigel, discussed how the television changed how families interacted with each other as well as the overall societal impacts it had. One can look at shows created during this era through a feminist lens by examining character’s gender roles and the impact this had on women, as well as others watching. This can shed light on how the opinions of women’s roles, rights, and treatment were shaped. It can also be related back to how women are currently depicted in modern day television and show the transformation through the decades.

In Television in the Family Circle, Spigel writes about the role of television in the home and family as well as society. Her main claim is that television brought the family together and united them. The T.V. soon became the center of the American home. It replaced the fireplace and the piano. It brought all of the family together and made it possible to do something they all enjoyed at the same time. This was especially true because the Broadcast Era debuted T.V. shows that were family oriented. Spigel also discusses how this affected women. When the broadcast era began it was right after men returned home from the war. This caused a shift in societal roles and expectations. She says, “Women were given a highly constraining solution to the changing roles of gender and sexual identity. Although middle- and working-class women had been encouraged by popular media to enter traditionally male occupations during the war, they were now told to return to their homes where they could have babies and make color coordinated meals” (Spigel 41). This change in women’s’ roles in society eventually led to the baby boom and housewives. Due to this becoming many women’s reality it was soon depicted on television. It was also seen in almost every form of media/art. Writers began discussing women’s roles as well. In The Modern Woman: The Lost Sex by Marynia Farnham and Ferdinand Lundberg it claimed that “…the essential function of women was that of caretaker, mother, and sexual partner. Those women who took paid employment in the outside world would defy the biological order of things” (Spigel 42). This was portrayed again and again in media and specifically television. This can be seen in many Broadcast Era shows, but I specifically analyzed, “I Love Lucy”, “Leave it to Beaver”, and “The Dick Van Dyke Show”.

The show, “I Love Lucy”, first aired in 1951, it was about Lucy Ricardo who is married to Ricky Ricardo- a Cuban band player who is trying to make it in show business in New York. Lucy is a housewife, who eventually becomes a stay at home mom throughout the duration of the series. Their best friends are Ethel and Fred, who are also their landlords. Lucy and Ethel get into all kinds of trouble while their husbands are at work. Despite their husbands being typical 1950s men who believe a woman’s place in the house/kitchen the women defy their overbearing nature by constantly creating mischief. The show brings many gendered based issues to light through discussions and humorous depictions. For example, they have conservations all together about women’s rights, jobs, and many others. In the particular episode I chose to examine, “Job Switching” (season one, episode two), the men, Ricky and Fred, think that doing household chores, otherwise known as “women’s work”, is much easier than going out and earning a living. Lucy and Ethel think otherwise, they decide to switch roles for a week. Although it goes poorly for both parties it shows that women were beginning to think they were more than capable of doing what men do. It also provides a man’s perspective of women and their value and place in society.

 

The show, “Leave it to Beaver” was a classic American sitcom that first came to television in 1957. It was the definition of a wholesome family show. The dad, Mr. Cleaver, worked a 9 to 5 job and was always home for dinner. Mrs. Cleaver cleaned the house and cared for the two kids: Beaver (Beav) and Wally, and she looked good doing it too. She always wore dresses, heels and pearls. The episode always ended with the “problem” being resolved and the two children learning a valuable lesson. With the series depicting a classic American family in the late 50s and early 60s, it also reflected American ideals and values during this time period. The Cleaver family was a middle-class family with two kids, a nice but not over the top car and a suburban cookie cutter home complete with a yard. Mr. and Mrs. Cleaver tried to teach their children life lessons throughout the episodes equipped with humor the whole family could enjoy. In the episode I analyzed, Mr. Cleaver is grilling outside when he is approached by his son, Wally, who asks him why he does the outside cooking and his mom does the inside cooking. Mr. Cleaver projects his views that American men shared in this time period about the women’s place in the home as well as society. He is telling these opinions and ideals to his young son which can show how sexism spread to many generations. It also is on a television show that families typically watched together and therefore more young boys and girls not only grew up with these ideals in their own household, but they were further instilled through nearly every aspect of their life, including television.

Considered to be one of America’s classic television shows, “The Dick Van Dyke Show” debuted in 1961. It revolved around the lives of Rob and his wife Laura. Most of the episodes focus on problems at Rob’s job as television writer with his coworkers Buddy, Sally and Mel. The show also showed his family life with his wife and their kid, Ritchie. Typically, they overlapped in a comedic fashion. Laura stays at home with Ritchie and cooks and cleans. However, the episode I looked at does not necessarily focus on Laura’s role but instead his coworker, Sally. Sally works in an office as a secretary with all men, and therefore, she has fallen subject to being treated like one of the boys. Laura realizes this when she has Rob’s coworkers over for dinner and points out to her husband this is not how Sally should be treated. She says that she should not be called as “strong as a bull”, be invited to cigars and drinks in the den “with the boys” after dinner, be included in crude jokes, and overall treated like one of the boys. This illustrates that women were supposed to behave and be treated a particular way and everyone in society thought so. Throughout the dinner Laura kept trying to prove that Sally was like all females so her date would be swayed instead of the way the men were treating her. Laura tried to compliment how she dressed, that she was a good cook, etcetera. Laura thought it was odd in the beginning of the episode that Sally would be picking up her date instead of vice versa, this also shows the expectations for men and women during this time period. Women were supposed to be soft, gentle, good cooks, and be treated with care.

Television series from the Broadcast Era (1940s-1980s) show the gender roles of men and women and how women were portrayed and considered as nothing more than housewives in this period of time. This can be seen through some of America’s classic shows like, “I Love Lucy”, “Leave it to Beaver” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show”. Although they do not have the same exact concepts or themes, they all share the portrayal of women. Television scholars like Lynn Spigel discuss how this change in women’s purpose in society occurred and how it was developed in media and other forms of art. It also explains how sexism was spread to multiple generations not only because of ideals of their parents but it was further enforced by television and other forms of media. Thankfully overtime women’s role in society and portrayal in media has changed. Women now play strong, independent, fearless roles on television. They are of all different sexual orientations, economic classes, races, education levels and so on. However, we still have a lot of progress to make for women’s rights and imaging.

Chinese cartoon’s potential influence on children.

1.Introduction

Cartoon is nowadays one of the most popular medias for children all over the world. Lot of successful Cartoons are created since 1920s. We have Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, Tom and Jerry, Crayon Shin-chan. As we can see, those cartoons which was created by companies from different countries can also be really popular globally. It shows language is not a problem anymore for people to understand medias from other country. Most of Cartoons are really fun to watch, but are they actually educational or do they sometimes mislead children. Besides international cartoons, Chinese cartoons started to show up and develop since most of family had their own television. I would like to talk more about how those cartoons look like and how they might influence Chinese children.

2.Description of some famous Chinese cartoons

The very first one I am going to introduce is called Haier Brothers. It is about a intelligent old man create two people who are called Haier brother, and the purpose for creating them is to travel around the world and help local people with natural disaster. This series were created in 1995 which is one of the most successful cartoon in early period of Chinese cartoon development.

             Haier Brother

The second one is called Pleasant Sheep and Grey Wolf which I grew up with, This series basically talks about how a wolf is trying to kill sheep and eat them and how sheep use their brain to be alive. This series were created in 2005. Comparing with Haier Brother, its image quality was improved a lot and transition between one story to next one is also better.

                 Pleasant Sheep and Grey Wolf

The last I am going to talk about is Boonie Bears which was created in 2012. The story is about how forest ranger is trying to prevent people from cutting down trees. The image quality is almost the best in Chinese cartoons, and it is also what children nowadays prefer to watch.

 

                                  Boonie Bears

3. Positive Influences of those cartoons

As we can see, creator always try to make their main plot be educational and simple. In Haier Brothers, children can learn a lot when Haier brothers are traveling the world such as local culture from different countries, what should we do when during earthquake and some knowledge of science and biology. In Pleasant Sheep and Grey Wolf, even though children can not study that much knowledge in Haier Brother, they are able to learn to consider what to do even in critical situation like how sleep react when they are caught by wolves. Also, never being a bad person is what this series told children. The principle Boonie Bears is trying to tell is more direct which is protecting our forest or our earth.

4.Potential misleading in those cartoons

It is true that the main plot is always good for children and education, but some of episodes in it are still controversial. The target audience of cartoons is certainly children who is just starting to know what this world looks like, and they are very easy to trust what others said or what showed in the television.

Here is an episode of Haier Brothers which illustrate the process of creating Haier Brothers, adult will absolutely not believe it, because they know how a person is born. However, for children who is watching this episode and they usually know nothing about how a person is born, it is really possible for them to trust it and think this is how people was created.

https://youtu.be/4ZOFtyutdC4?t=318

(From 5:18-8:18)

The other episode might mislead children is in Pleasant Sheep and Grey wolf. Grew wolf’ wife always punish him because of failure of catching sheep, and one of them is using a pan to hit his head, and he will be fine in a minute. I am not sure what might happen if children think it is true. They might do the same thing to their classmates, because they believe their classmates will be fine in a minute.

https://youtu.be/Whjq4ipY6Aw?t=674

The most controversial part in Boonie Bears is there are too many impolite words like “stupid”. It is better than previous two, because most people notice that and lots of parents have reported it. Now, Boonie Bears finishes its revision.

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, quality of Chinese cartoons were usually very low comparing to other countries at first. After the appearance of Haier Brother, Chinese cartoon is getting better and better whatever in image quality or transition from stories to stories. Most of those successful cartoon are extremely educational for children in main plot. However, it is still not perfect, because some of episodes in series might mislead children which is not acceptable. If creator of cartoon can realize this can really be a problem and try to revise it, I believe Chinese cartoons can actually reach a new height.

Violence puts the V in T.V.!

Growing up I was always fascinated with TV shows and movies involving crime, violence and the likes.  But it never occurred to me that television was not always this extreme.  It led me to research just exactly how television as a media form has made the transition to being a medium filled with television series that not only focus on such mature topics but depicts them in mature graphic manners as well.  A lot of leeway has been given to the present day context of television.  But just how as a culture have we shifted to enjoying the violence on screen and has television gone too far?  Starting off we must first delve into the broadcast era, a simpler time for television.  Analyzing the roots will serve as a better understanding to how as a culture we currently live in a time of violence and gore.

Family Time!

Parental influence over television has been a long drawn out battle for years.  When television entered the homes back in the late 50s, TV shows were geared towards family units.  This is obviously a stark contrast from what we see today, but first let I shall lay out the foundation of “family friendly television.  Family friendly television consisted of content dedicated to clean and wholesome imagery not used to offend.  The early 50s and 60s consisted of content that provided shows with one-off episode plots.  Majority of the shows were centered around comedy and provided an entertaining outlet for the whole family.

The 60s were a great time for the nuclear family.  With classic shows such as Leave It to Beaver, Burns & Allen gracing the television airwaves, the 60s were an era of feel good thought provoking life lessons wrapped in a cheesy story line that still resonates with some viewers today.

leave it to beaver GIF

The Cowboys are coming?

While majority of televisions didn’t enter the home until the 1950s, there was already a lot of discourse around the popular series The Lone Ranger.  The Lone Ranger was a western styled show filled with comedy, action, shooting, and mischief, the core of all formulaic Westerns that we see today.  During its run it was labeled “violent” because of its depiction of guns and discreet showcases of blood.

Another less talked about Western included The Rifleman.  Set in the 1880s and aired during the late 1950s to early 60s, was a show about a civil war veteran and a widower.  It followed the same Western formula of getting into situations and creating action to entertain viewers.  An actor from its show was quoted stating “There was a lot of violence on The Rifleman. We once figured out that I killed on the average of two and a half people per show. That’s a lot of violence,” their violence was tame and boy were they in for a surprise….

shooting old west GIF by GritTV

The Death of Television Code

From 1952 to 1983 there was a set of ethical standards in place on what could and could not be shown on television.  The classic 60s sitcom was the standard and anything else was shunned by parents who had their worries about their children being exposed to sex and violence.  Many shows were starting to become permissive during the 70s and when the code was finally murdered in 1983, this introduced a new wave and in that wave was also… crime.

Television code was like:

adventure time wtf GIF

Crime

The 80s and 90s brought along a new wave of content… crime shows!  Crime shows were a hot commodity, with shows such as Hill Street Blues leading the pact, they delved into topics that consisted of the every day lives of normal people.  The shows creator was quoted saying back in the day “Violence is alive and well on television” and he sure was right.  With a string of other hit shows such as Miami Vice and HSB pioneering action packed intensity, violence was essential part to stories as they created a sense of realism that shows from the 60s lacked.

But Wait! There’s War…on violence in T.V.?

Shows like Hill Street Blues didn’t just happen overnight, in fact there was a huge ordeal over what could and couldn’t be shown on television.  Television networks constricted the freedom of show creators and writers like Bocho.  Behind the scenes was a stalemate of sorts between producers and broadcast execs.  Television networks feared that these realistic crime dramas would push the envelope too much and shows had to go through an approval process.

nbc community GIF

Television Code: The solution

In 1993 TV Parental guidelines were set in place that labeled shows based on their content.  This was a fascinating solution to work around appeasing parents, but also directors and producers who did not want their content restricted.

Next Stop: The Convergence Era!

The convergence era is a peculiar yet exciting time, Violence is booming. We’ve reached the cultural peaks of the zombie era with shows like The Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones creating an atmosphere all of its own regarding war, death, and gore.

The Walking Dead premiered in 2010, and since airing it has amassed a strong fan base of zombie lovers.  People from all ages tune in each Sunday night to watch the gore fest commence as the characters battle zombies and human enemies.  But the key word in this is all ages.  Since TWD has become quite the phenomena maybe we’ve entered a new era of “family TV.”  AMC, not being one of the “big 3” could be at an advantage.  Since AMC is a payed cable network the content viewers receive has more leeway.

Image result for AMC logo gif

Just an Eye-dea

But is there such thing as going too far?  TWD has had many blood bath moments but a pivotal one in the series history was the death of a beloved character.  Many fans and critics alike were taken aback by the gruesome death of a character and even an actor on the show was left stating “I regret the manner in which it happened. We’ve been able to terrify people in film for 100 years without having to show an eyeball.”

Image result for Glenn TWD death gif

Then we have the infamous Game of Thrones!  Think of Lord of the Rings but amplify its blood and gore times 10.  It is a show not for the faint of heart.  9 times out of 10 there’s going to be some blood drawn in an episode.  But violence is a necessary tool to the overall plot.  Set in medieval times the things depicted are not unheard of and should not be watered down to appease audiences and critics alike.

happy season 3 GIF

Crime is Sublime

We can’t rule out crime shows either, Hill Street Blues influenced an entire wave of crime shows.  If it weren’t for HSB we may have never seen shows such as the CSI franchise, Law & Order, and Criminal Minds.  Violence has become ingrained in TV culture and HSB helped to create that cultural foundation.

criminal minds violence cw GIF  criminal minds violence cw GIF

The Economics & Format:

This leaves me with the evolution of violence in T.V.  When you have shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones that are shown on AMC and HBO respectively, it gives way to artistic freedom.  HBO is considered to be a premium cable channel.

What does the word premium entail?

The context of television has changed over the years.  Networks were created that were not broadcast to the public like CBS, NBC, and ABC.  Premium networks provide content outside of the public TV standards which is why shows such as Game of Thrones exist.  The viewer has to pay a fee to subscribe to the content on their platform.  This process does indeed work in theory, as time has progressed so has technology.  A show like Game of Throne cost 10 million an episode to produce.

paid pay day GIF

The excessive use of blood and gore cost a pretty penny and add that in with the advancement of special effects such as CGI dragons, elaborate costumes and set designs and a cast of main and recurring characters that culminates to a whopping 40+ TV shows such as GOT are an experience.  An experience that TV execs believe you should be paying a little extra for.

Related image

The Culture of the Audience:

angry violence GIF by Face The Truth

I guess all of this research answers my question that I set out to try and comprehend.  Has violence in television entered an era of obsessive use and why has the audience allowed it?  Throughout my research I’ve come up with the answer that violence is the necessary component that makes up the shows we know and love.  If one was to minimize the violence, story lines may fall flat.  All of this can be viewed from a cultural perspective that Newcomb and Hirsch speak about.  The executives today are cultural interpreters that understand the audience and its market.  Violence has always been in television, just the level of violence was not as advanced and the audience has always enjoyed it for the most part, especially considering the multitude of movies like Night of the Living Dead that birthed TV shows such as TWD.  TV is just a more expansive outlet providing a variety of different takes on violence.  The audience wants violence, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing at all.

My mind =

mind blown GIF

Sources:

NY Times: Why TV Won’t Let up on Violence

Television on Television Violence: Perspectives from the 70s and 90s

Newcomb and Hirsch – Television as a Cultural Forum

 

“It’s Just a Game, Bro.”

Oh, video games, how we love them and hate them! Whether it is a simple game on your phone or a multi-player online duel, these virtual worlds can provide hours of entertainment. How did video games start off and how do they differ from the video games that we know and love today? How have they evolved today as a form of media that we know and love? Well, you’ve come to the right place and this article is going to show you the evolution of video games and even a glimpse as to what complexity these games have reached!

come here lets go GIF by Rock Content

Get ready and come along for the ride that is this article!

For starters, if no one had invented computers, then we certainly would not have had video games. Computers, as we know them, only began to pop up in college campuses in the 1960s. Mind you, computers back then were huge and were often compared to the sizes of cars and refrigerators alike. Since these devices originally started off on college campuses, it does not come as shock that the first official video game came out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1962. The game was known as Spacewar!and it was relatively simply to play. Also with Spacewar!, we see the first ever game controllers since using the controls on those big, clunky computers could be a real pain.

happy dean jones GIF\

It wasn’t an aesthetic, it was just clunky.

Fast forward to the 1970s, we see one of the most iconic video games come out. The game was known as Pongand was published by Atari Corporation. In the eyes of someone from the 21stcentury, the game seems bland and lackluster. However, the game was an absolute hit and was even ground breaking to some extent since it was one of the first video games to have sound. Though the game would soon be outshined due to the colorful, arcade world of the 80s…

Image result for gif of pong

Yikes. It’s so boring.

The 1980s are definitely the most essential part of video game history. There were arcades and games were finally starting to make their way into North American households along with all of their cartridges as well! But, not everything was fun and games in the 1980s for the video game industry, there was a massive crash which led to the death of Atari and left everyone with an abundances of consoles and terrible video games (We’re looking at you E.T.). And the whole video game industry just went…

uh oh do not want GIF by Katelyn Tarver

In 1985 though, Nintendo saved the day with the Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES for short. It was a sleek and sophisticate console that would only accept Nintendo brand games. These features were necessary for Nintendo to win back the people that were left skeptical of the video game industry. Luckily, this worked, and Nintendo is still around today! Thanks Mario, we owe you one.

Related image

In more recent times, we see the 1990s kick up a bit of competition for Nintendo in the video game market. SEGA came into the 1990s as something new and offered more edgy content with their trademark being Sonic the Hedgehog on the SEGA Genesis. The competition would not last long though and SEGA would fade out of making consoles and barely making any more video games.

sonic the hedgehog wink GIF

My inner child is screaming.

When the early 2000s came around, that means that the Convergence Era came along with them. Internet began to make its way into the home and people did not have to go out in order to play games. In a matter of fact, you did not even have to buy a game console anymore if you didn’t want to! There were digital video game distributers, like Steam, and people could just pay online to play. This really changed the world of video games forever.

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You know we need the Internet even if you don’t play video games.

With the accessibility of games due to the Internet, this meant that many other little companies were able to produce game instead of being ran over by Nintendo. These games are often known as “Indie” games and there are quite a few of them that have been able to gain some traction. In terms of traction, I mean small games that were able to explode into huge, and even competitive, games. Some games that you may know for this would include League of Legends, World of Warcraft, DoTA, and Overwatch just to name a few!

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You know, those popular games that you try to watch your friend play, but have no clue as to what the hell is happening?

In my evaluation of video game evolution, I am going to stick to League of Legends since it is a game that I have played for five years and I enjoy the fact that it never gets old. League is simply one of these highly complex games that would have never been possible without the pioneers that came into the industry. (Atari, gone but not forgotten.)

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League of Legends, and the other games I have mentioned, are known as MOBAs. This stands for Multi-player Online Battle Arena, and literally means that there are multiple people playing against other people. League of Legends is a classic game mode that consists of five players playing against five people in order to destroy the other team’s Nexus. It is also an online game meaning that you have to be connected to the Internet in order to even think about playing. All you need for controls is a mouse and your Q, W, E, and R keys on your keyboard!

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The Nexus is protected by Turrets through out the map, if you don’t take towers, you don’t get to the nexus.

League of Legends itself is a very competitive, high-paced game and not to mention, it is very complicated. There are many different aspects to the game. You usually have to “kill” your enemies in the game so that the game can advance. Also,  there are classes of characters (champions)  and some of them have a high skill requirement while some, not as much. It comes down to the player to decide which champion they want to play that game.

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There are your typical, edgy characters.

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Or.. Some weird characters that make you question your life’s decisions. There’s over 100 options of characters so, the choice is yours before you load into the match itself.

The game is competitive due to its ranking system, which gives you clout in the game as well as bragging rights, which to do not really mean much since it is only a video game. There are also players that will claim, or flame, that they are better at a certain character than you.

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Profile example of someone that is good at the game! (Hint: It’s not me)

As for the gameplay itself, there are four lanes in the game. Most of the time, the meta decides which characters go where. A meta revolves around what characters and build paths win the most frequently at a given time in the game. Usually if you pick outside of the meta, someone is going to get mad at you. However, the meta is always changing so the game stays pretty fresh.

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Meta is love, Meta is Life.

Also in the game, there are monsters and minions that help the game progress. Minions are usually harmless and go down each respective lane in order to push the game along so one can get to the nexus. Then there are the monsters in the game, there are monsters that people can farm like minions in the jungle, which lays within the lanes. However, there are also epic monsters, known as Baron Nashor and Drakes, which are taken down as a team in order to buff your team up and help you win the game faster

Here is an example where I kill Gromp, the frog shown in the beginning, and then try to help my team take Baron Nashor. Sadly, we did not get it since the other team decided to fight us.

Speaking of winning the game itself, there are many different theories! Everyone plays with different ideas in mind. Some people want to take the game into their own hands and push all the way to the nexus all by themselves. Some people want to wait until later in the game so they can scale and become powerful. However, the best way to win this game is to fight the other team with your whole group of five people.

In this example, my team pushed to the end of the game and fought against the enemy team! Winning is more effective and fun as five people.

The overall rundown of the game is that it is a multi-player game where both teams fight over objectives in order to win the match. It seems simple on paper, but matches can be pretty long running about 20 to 30 minutes at a time. And of course, trying to coordinate with four random people on a team that you don’t know proves to be a whole other can of worms.

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[ See above for accurate display of regular League of Legends players. ]

So, we can easily see how League of Legends has evolved since the early days of the video game medium. However, there is so much more to this game as well! In the 21st century, we have seen a whole new form of media being born simply out playing video games. I’m talking about streaming and competitive gameplay. These forms of media are people playing video games for money which is something you typically would not have seen in the early days of video games.

Yes, you did hear me right. People are being paid for playing video games.

With streamers, we usually see people playing video games in order to be entertaining and possibly offering insight to the gameplay itself. Once a streamer has enough a following, their followers will often give them tips or subscribe to them in order to both pay them for their content or to unlock items that non-subscribers usually do not have access to.

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In contrast with streamers, we have people that play video game competitively in order to gain large sums of money. This is often coined with the term “E-Sports” and can be just as tense as real sports. E-Sports are different than streaming since instead of the content being provided by one person, we watch a professional team of people playing a game. There are commentators and scoreboards just like in physical sports. Most aspects are same, but we just don’t see people running around. We hear tons of clicks from mouses and keyboards alike.

Here is a part of an official League of Legends game where you can hear commentators call out whatever is going on in the game. You can also see the players reactions in the bottom of the screen.

To take E-Sports one step further, they are almost like a mini NFL or MBA. A perfect example would be the LCS, also known as the League Championship Series which is the competitive side of League of Legends. The LCS, in contrast to the NFL or MBA, stretches across the world and players from different countries both play with and against each other. Most of the time, professional teams from Korea play against players from Europe or North America. The main reason for watching E-Sports is to follow your favorite teams duke it out in a match, much like watching a football game.

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Oh yeah, and when they win it’s a really big deal. Also, there’s a lot of money. The prize pool is upwards of $200,000.

However, this doesn’t answer the main question people have for these kinds of video games: Why?

Me: Yeah, I play League of Legends.

Everyone:

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Well, to answer this question it requires several parts. If I had to say the main reason for getting sucked into this rabbit hole of a game, I would say it mainly comes from enjoying the game. While it may be frustrating and painful to play these long matches, the game can be really rewarding when you do get that win. It comes with a sense of accomplishment, even if it is only marked by a in-game rank which has no value in the real world. It is really a hobby for most people, but it can be addicting and fun when you queue up a game with your friends.

There’s also the enjoyment of watching your favorite people play the game either on a stream or through an E-Sports site. You get to watch them play, maybe win, and you feel the same sense of accomplishment from it because that’s your team!

Along with the enjoyment of the game, there is definitely a sense of emotional attachment as weird as that sounds. Like me for example, I have been playing the same game for five years. I would probably be lying if I said I could easily quit the game and delete at any time I want. You can make friends through the hundreds of games you play, you may even find the game as being the one things you’re good at, or you may even find a certain character your really enjoy playing! There are plenty of reasons for why people have stuck with this game since its beta launch in 2011. Some players would probably just feel empty if they deleted the game once and for all.

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There’s also more reasoning as to why people continue to play the game and that is micro transactions. Chances are you have made a micro transaction at some point in your life. It may have been you buying iTunes songs or paying for Youtube Premium. Micro transactions in League of Legends come in the form of skins, which are domestic upgrades for characters in the game. They can make your character look very cute or intimidating, the choice is yours since you’re the customer. However, these skins can really add up and people that play the game over year-long periods, they can easily dish out $1,000-$3,000 dollars in skins. (Just ask my friend, Derek.) These transactions are what keep the game “Free-to-Play” and allow for the LCS to continue to have big prize pools. As people invest in the game, they may find it harder and harder to pull away due to their emotional and financial investment.

Which do you prefer?

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This version of Teemo?

-OR-

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Beemo. (See what I did there?)

In conclusion, video games are nowhere near as simple as they used to be in their early days. The games have evolved from 8-bit to games that require good equipment in order to play them. Games have evolved from simple controls to things such as keyboards and extra equipment. There is also a whole new social aspect to video that was not available in early days of gaming. Instead of going out to the arcade and taking turns with your friends of PacMan, you can now play an online game with your friend from home! In fact, your friend can be half way across the country or on the other side of the world, and you can still play with them because of the Internet. We also see the rise of competitive gameplay and people using their personalities in order to make a career on streaming platforms! While people may think, “Oh, it’s just a video game.” There’s honestly so much more beneath the surface of just picking up a controller. The games of the 21st century have so much depth and it is easy to become attached to them wether it is through money or emotions. Instead of shaming people for spending hours on end for play too much, we should really take a step back and look at the whole picture and see where we came from.

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Alright, well that’s my whole tea on how video gaming has evolved and how remarkable video really are.

~Veverica.

Sources:

Mary Stehulak – Evoltuion and Development of Video Games:

Stehulak – Evolution and Development of Video Games File

https://www.twitch.tv

https://eu.lolesports.com/en/about/about-lol-esports

What is “the meta” and how does it affect gaming?