In grad school I continued working with Flash animation (which I had begun to learn as an undergrad). Like much of the work I made during this time, this work contained unambiguous socio-political commentary, conveyed in a humorous and irreverent manner.
Why Aren’t There More Christian Video Games? (Flash video, 2008)
Continue reading to see another video and some words about these projects.
The assignment here was to appropriate “found footage”. While the aesthetics of this piece look simple, being that they are based off of 8-bit video game graphics, the process for creating this turned out to be complicated. I could not just hack into these video games and change the text, since there is a set number of characters available in the dialogue, and for my purposes I needed to add much more words than the original software would have allowed. Instead of manipulating the games themselves, I had to recreate the scenes using several digital art, video and animation techniques, and ensure that they matched the original sources exactly.
As a gamer, I sometimes encounter Christian gamers who wonder why there aren’t more Christian video games (or why the few that are made are of such low quality). Of course there are several games that incorporate stories and images from Christian mythology (e.g. Castlevania, ActRaiser), but these aren’t what people have in mind when they say they want a “Christian video game”. What they want is a game that proselytizes, and they realize that video games have the power to reach millions of impressionable young minds.
I wanted to cast doubt on the notion that Christianity is per se a positive influence that should be marketed to children and teenagers (or adults for that matter). To prove this point, I’ve taken some of my favorite mainstream Nintendo games and replaced the dialogue with “wisdom” from the Bible.
Evolution (Flash video, 2008)
Embarrassingly, nearly half of the United States public rejects the theory of evolution. There have been genuine educational efforts to explain the theory of evolution to the American people, and to fight back against the misconceptions and willful ignorance of the creationism/intelligent design movement. Unfortunately, debate with someone who has embraced creationism is nearly impossible. Since theirs is a passionate religious/ideological conviction, it can be difficult if not impossible to reason with them at all, much less get them to understand what evolution actually is, and that it is an uncontested scientific fact.
With that frustration in mind, I decided to make a parody of the evolution/creationism debate. The video doesn’t explain evolution; in fact it goes out of its way not to, and calls attention to that absence. Rather it is a reflection on the profound incompetence of the creationism/intelligent design movement, and the fact that genuine scientific inquiry and, sadly, the educations of millions of young Americans, are being stalled and undermined as a result of the absurd nation-wide push to teach bronze age mythology in public schools in place of credible science.
As the Narrator, I took on the invented role of a typical youth of today’s Youtube generation, and engaged the vulgar sarcasm and mocking that is characteristic of much Online discourse. I wrote the script based on conversations I had seen on Internet forums, as well as observing the camaraderie among my younger college-age friends.
Another video I made for this course ended up being a part of an exhibition, which you can see here.