If you were wondering, the “star wars, one letter at a time” is still driving me nuts; for multiple reasons. It’s an indescribable frustration that is agitated more and more every time I hear the key stroke sound effect of the typewriter. A big part of it comes from the idea that Dr. Cordell brought up in class about how our brain reads one word at a time, not one letter at a time. This makes perfect sense after you watch the video for longer than 2 minutes and you begin to get frustrated as you can no longer put the letters together fast enough to formulate a word before the next word starts.
There were a few possible meanings and perspectives offered in class that could apply to the star wars program but it is still unclear what the original intentions were. Having known the story, it becomes extremely frustrating when the story doesn’t start matching what you are envisioning. We all know how spectacular star wars, it’s an legitimate fact, look it up, so when we start to see it broken down into its bare roots it becomes an immediate failure in our minds when it doesn’t reproduce the same sensation. Stepping back into a philosophical mind set, by seeing each letter at a time we are not able to see the greater good of what the letters are representing as a whole.
The second time around, the “everybody dies” program was also extremely frustrating. It was confusing, unclear, and it had a path already decided for the player. You could make multiple decisions to do something or go certain places, but ultimately you were destined to die. Just when you get stuck at a point when you aren’t sure what to do, you die, then come back to life, get stuck in a new way, then die again. It really exploited things that we don’t realize in many video games we play. We think there is a vast multitude of different possibilities but really our fate is already predetermined. Basically any first person game results in the player doing some activity, dying, and then coming back to life to do the whole thing over again. The only thing that separated “everybody dies” is that the options were extremely slim and the way you die was already chosen, you just had to find it. One thing I did notice is that the everybody dies program had one essential characteristic that makes any good game, good; it could frustrate you to your last nerve and then give you a new hope and new direction that makes you want to keep playing. The example from the program was after we drown in the river and came back to life and were seemingly stuck in a bathroom scrubbing toilets, (which I initially thought was a type of hell to the character) but then you pull a knife on someone who doesn’t like you in the bathroom and they come back and shoot you and your boss, then you come back to life in the streets of some neighborhood. It was an extremely bizarre and unpleasant experience.
I think both of these programs helped me step outside of the game or the story to see what its deconstructed roots look like. For star wars, you lose the special effects and graphics in exchange for the individual letters of the storyline. For everybody dies, your role playing game is broken down into what it essentially is, a game in which you basically find ways to die, you magically come back to life, and then you find a new way to die. Both push our brains to view the games we play and the stories we view in a way that exposes the building blocks used in its creation, whether we want to see them or not. Just like how we would rather not see where the hamburger meat for our juicy double cheeseburger comes from when we go to McDonalds.