I guess that in order to appreciate this post and the links within, it would be worth a quick look at the computer game in which Chewbot (a user from the Somethingawful.com forums) wrote about prompting this post.
The computer game is called Animal Crossing (Wiki Link) (available for the Nintendo DS & Gamecube computer game consoles and also an animated film in Japan) a cutesy little game with cutesy characters living in their cutesy little world.Chewbot has written up his take on playing through this game, revealing that when you take a close look at the narrative of the story, it can be reinterpreted as… Well… Evil!
It’s not so much the fact that I find this funny (I do) it is more to do with the effort somebody has gone to in working with this media and creating a new story (or at least a reinterpretation). In the same way that Machinema (I’m going to blog more about that soon) takes 3D computer game engines to make new stories using pre existing computer game characters, this does it by placing the games narrative under a microscope and pulling it apart.
I admit in advance that this may be a post that steps over that line between semi and full on geek. For this I apologise, but then again looking around this blog I may have crossed that line a long time ago.
Anyway…Here is a link to the post and a short quote:
“I’ve documented the journey of Billy, a young, happy lad who believes he’s going off to have fantastic adventures at summer camp.This is a literal and practically contextual account of what happens to poor bastards sent to Animal Crossing.This is the true story of Billy.”
Now, I’ve played through Animal crossing on my Nintendo DS, it’s a great little game that has managed (in typical Nintendo style) to gather a cult audience due to it’s passive yet strangely addictive game-play. I have to be honest, I didn’t pay that much attention to the story unfolding in front of me as I played, because, well… There really isn’t much of a story.
Reading through Chewbot’s post reminded me what it must be like when I try and tell friends the storyline behind a game I’ve been playing. Because I am not surrounded by other game players it must come across that a: I’m speaking another language and b: I should really get out more.
“Before I can get a word in edgewise, he (Tom Nook, a character who sells your first home in the game) tells me I bought this piece of crap shed, I owe him a ton of cash and I better pay him back, and seeing as how I don’t have any money, he’d be happy to let me work in his little sweatshop wonderland, so he expects I’ll be stopping by right away. And then he’s gone.”
This reinterpretation of the game reminds me of the Youtube movie trailer mashup videos.
Here are some others: Scary Poppins, Top Gun (The Love Story), The Shining (A Family Movie), David Lynch’s A Goofy Movie, Taxi Driver (Rom Com), Sleepless in Seatle (The Horror Movie).
I really enjoy people telling new stories by working with what’s already out there. It is great to see the renewed interest it can gain for the original brand as people are re-engaging with its content in looking at it in a new light. I’m sure those people on the forum reading Chewbots dark tales from his adventures in Animal Crossing, were reminded of the game and possibly went out and bought it again or at least thought about and connected with it again.