Videogames, Art & Personal Stories

In her paper, Anne Anthropy makes a statement about how games can strongly benefit if they were to have more personal stories incorporated into them. In the author’s mind, games could be reinvented due to the fact that they could communicate deeper meanings between the maker and the player. Also, if more people were able to create their own games, Anthropy believes that videogames could be widely accepted as a means of expression; a true art form.

 As a transgender woman, Anthropy explains that she personally feels that the world of videogames lacked the presence of lesbians. Therefore, she went ahead and created a unique game of her own; Dys4ria. Playing this game had enhanced my understanding of the author’s message. Her game was more geared towards the personal story versus the actual game-play. Anthropy presents the player with a very colourful, simplistic and retro-looking design. Due to this very simple aesthetic, the entire focus was meant to go towards the text; Anna Anthropy’s personal story about becoming a woman.As I pushed through the different “levels” I went through many emotions because I felt sympathy for Anna Anthropy (sad, angry, frustration and joy), and I also learned about what a transgender person may have to suffer through when changing sex. I did feel Dys4ria broadened my perspective in a way that no game ever has before. I believe this is because I was presented by a story that has truly happened to another existing human being but also, because I had been educated on a new subject (the process of changing genders). As stated by Anthropy, “games are a kind of theatre in which the audience is an actor and takes on a role-and experiences the circumstances and consequences of that role.” (Anthropy, 20) Through her creation, Anna Anthropy is able to harness another into her own shoes. It was through her creativity that she was able to gain a large audience to hear about what she desired to share. Although I couldn’t personally relate to subject matter in Dys4ria, I still enjoyed hearing about another’s personal experiences.

From my own experience as a filmmaker and animator, creating something with a personal meaning can be difficult. Firstly, there is always the fear of being judged. When telling a personal story, you really are exposing yourself and that can be pretty frightening! Secondly, there are the decisions to make as an artist. The decisions to make are based on what to keep and what to leave out for the art piece. It is important to consider such factors as the message within the work must be communicated very clearly and efficiently. I once made a short animation which described my anxiety and self-doubt. Because it is something that is very present in my life, I was very edgy when I had to pitch the idea in front of my classmates. When it came time to prepare the story-board, I had to choose a way to tell my story in a short and concise way that would describe my feelings but also how I’ve learned to cope with them personally. In the end, my classmates appreciated what I had made, and felt I had created something creative and curious. When I think about my own taste, I realise that I do enjoy hearing personal stories about others. Whenever I have experienced someone’s personal story, I know that I appreciate the sincerity in their tale because it feels as if that person (even if I have never met them) has temporarily become a friend.   Nowadays technology is very accessible to all in this day and  it seems that anyone can produce films and videogames. Although many will be inspired by what is main-stream , makers should try to create something new and that can certainly mean a game which describes themselves (personal stories, interests, goals and feelings).Art is, after all, a way to express oneself. Seeing new topics in videogames can truly be refreshing and even fun. Surely if this specific author yearned something specific from videogames, there must be many others out there who feel the same.

Anthropy, Anna. Rise of the videogame zinesters: how freaks, normals, amateurs, artists, dreamers, drop-outs, queers, housewives, and people like you are taking back an art form. New York: Seven Stories, 2012. Pdf file.

Dys4ria. Anna Anthropy. 2012. Video game.

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Videogames, Art & Personal Stories

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