Unknown Titles and their Identities

Judging by the title it probably sounded like my post was going to be really deep. That is definitely not the case. I am blog filler #2. Unlike the previous bloggers, I am not a talented analyzer. I am pretty sure that I could not properly analyze a story that I wrote myself. One thing I do like to do is read, watch, and create stories. My forté is television shows but today I’m going to try to talk about some movies that you might not have heard of and give you a break from the usual Hollywood rehashes as all of these movies are original screenplays. I highly recommend and enjoyed each and every one of these movies.

Seven Psychopaths

Seven-Psychopaths-Poster

This was a movie that I stumbled upon one day while I was in my 2nd hour of Netflix suggesting I watch the same shows over and over again. I watched the trailers and was not expecting much, but I ended up absolutely loving this movie. It has incredible casting and a solid original storyline. It is a dark comedy that is good to watch on a day where you are void of any strong feelings because then you are able to connect with the characters better.

This movie is about a writer is trying to make a movie about psychopaths and accidentally gets caught up in a situation where he is being hunted down by a high-profile crime lord because his best friend stole his dog. If you take any lesson away from watching movies then it should be “ Do not ever mess with anybody else’s dog ever” or you might find yourself in a John Wick situation. I love this movie for a bunch of different reasons, but will only list a few.

One reason is this movie is a perfect blend of comedy and violence. You could be watching a scene where 20 people get brutally murdered and end up laughing 30 seconds later. It jumps through so many genres so fast but the writing is so fluid and the transitions between scenes so seamless that you almost don’t notice it. Every action has some meaning behind it even though it might not be revealed until the very end of the movie

Another reason is the psychopaths themselves. Most of the psychopaths in the movie are more empathetic than the “normal” characters, For example, my favourite character (the “Jack of Diamonds”) commits all of his murders with the sole intention of helping his friend and tries to do more for people than anybody else in the movie and Billy Bickle (portrayed by Sam Rockwell and the best friend of the main character) makes an honest effort to connect with the main character’s girlfriend even though he clearly hates her. Another psychopath kills himself just so that he will not kill more people, which is a psychopathic act, but not one that you would normally imagine a psychopath committing.

Movies like this: In Bruges, Fargo

The Way, Way Back

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This is one of my favorite coming of age movies of all time. It is also an original screenplay with Jim Rash (Dean from “Community”) as one of the writers. If you were or are and awkward teenager then this film will resonate with you more than you would want it to.

This movie is about an awkward (and I’m talking truly cringe level, want-to-avert-your-eyes-every-time-he-is-on-screen awkward) teenager who has to spend the summer in his mom’s boyfriend’s summer cabin. He is miserable until he finds a job at the local water park where he finds some unexpected friends.

The casting in this movie is also impeccable. Three people’s performances stand out the most to me:

Steve Carell as Trent (the mother’s boyfriend)- I have never seen Steve Carell portray a jerk before and I have to say it is kind of unnerving. If anybody has grown up with a character like Trent then it will probably hit very close to home because of how amazing an actor he is. Even though I disliked his character (because of how real he is), I couldn’t help but be awed with every scene he was in and how well the family dynamic was portrayed.

Liam James as Duncan (the main character): As I mentioned above, this character is so awkward that it hurt to watch sometimes, but this actor was born to play this role. Even when he didn’t have any lines, his posture said more than he ever could. It was moving to see his transition into a semi-confident normal human. And how his character affected the people who he had interactions with the least the most because of how drastic the change in his personality was and how it gave courage to those characters.

Sam Rockwell as Owen: The character acted as a “big brother” figure to the main character. He steals every scene he is in and his comedic timing is some of the best I have ever seen. The interaction with him and every other character were flawless and the highlights of the movie. This actor also seemed like he was made for this role, it didn’t even seem like he was acting but as if he walked onto the set one day and everybody went with it.

Another thing I like about this movie is how accurate the family is. It does a really good job at representing a messed up family after where the biological parents are trying to do the right thing but make a ton of mistakes and how frustrating it is for the child to see them make these mistakes. And how they end up hurting their child when they are trying to protect him.

Movies like this: Adventureland, The Kings Of Summer

Tucker and Dale vs Evil 

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This is a comedy-horror film but it is way more comedy than horror and the writers knew that when the script was being created. Some death scenes make you feel bad, not because somebody died in a very grisly way, but because you laughed so hard during the scene that your mom came down to see what was wrong. This is one of my favourite movies of all time. The fact that Alan Tudyk (Wash from “Firefly”) is in it doesn’t hurt one bit. Also, another supporting character looks exactly like Justin Trudeau and the movie is funnier if you imagine Trudeau was an actor in this movie before becoming the Prime Minister of Canada.

I can’t say much about the movie without giving a lot away but it is about two hillbillies who purchase a vacation home in the woods that previously belonged to a murderer.

The acting and writing are amazing and absolutely hilarious. This movie also has a surprising amount of heart in it and is a true self-acceptance story. Well except for that one guy who didn’t accept himself very well…. Watch the movie and you will find out who I mean.

More like this movie: Zombieland, What We Do In The Shadows

At the very least I hope you got some ideas for movies to watch from this post. Hopefully, you didn’t find it a waste of your time and give some of these movies a try. The next posts will probably go back to being deep. Thanks for reading my post and I hope you all have a wonderful week and enjoy the sun :).

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If Our Reality Wasn’t Real – A Look at Terry Schott’s “The Game”

Hello, everyone. As you may know, Alex (the main author here) is disappearing for the next six weeks and he’s selected a few of his friends to fill in his shoes while he’s away. First things first, I’ve never done this before and I’m by no means a talented writer, but I’ll try my best to meet the stadarooni standard. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy!

***

Every single day, we ask ourselves a lot of questions. What’s the weather like today? Or why do we feel déjà vu? Or what is the definition of a “smorgasbord”? Most of them are random and simple questions that can be satisfied by a quick Google search. Most we just don’t bother to satisfy at all. But, of course, once in a while we come across one of those “deep” questions. Probably the deepest question, one that raises its fair share of controversies, is “How did we come to exist?”. And surprisingly enough, it doesn’t have to be the traditional creationism versus evolution argument many of us have heard so many times.

Today, although I won’t be tackling creationism versus evolution, I’m going to be sharing with you guys a series that a good friend of mine had passed along to me a while back – Terry Schott’s The Game is Life that provides an interesting answer to that questionThe series is based around the idea of “What if Earth is a virtual reality?”. As depressing as it may be, it’s quite interesting to look around the world and entertain yourself with the idea that everything around us may be fake. The series explores this idea, as well as many other themes, in a world that revolves entirely around “the Game”, where kids, instead of going to school, play as virtual people on Earth (which is a replica of their own world of Tygon) and learn in there instead. And unlike other games, people are only allowed to play it to a certain age before they are forced to get a “real” job that they will have for the rest of their lives. Although the characters and the plot are pretty interesting, the idea that someone’s reality can be fake is what makes the series so intriguing.

These are a few other topics I want to highlight as well that I have to commend Schott for somehow being able to touch upon them in a unique way.

Obsession 
As I mentioned before, in the world Schott creates, “the Game” is the most popular, and probably the only, game in Tygon. Everything revolves around it, from the economy, to the media, to education, to people’s day-to-day lives. And it’s not hard to see why people wouldn’t be able to get enough of it. After all, it’s a game where you can become anything you want and everything will feel real. But, of course, it’s not exactly ideal when something becomes so central in people’s lives. In fact, it can be quite dangerous when people become overly obsessed with one thing, especially a virtual reality that becomes better than their actual life.

Fame
Generally, when we think about fame we think about the big movie stars or singers, and sometimes people can overlook that athletes are celebrities, too. Obviously, some are more famous, popular, successful and celebrated than others, but fame is equally prevalent in sports as it is in film or music. In The Game is Life, since wealth is proportional to fame, and since a person makes the brunt of their salary playing “the Game” in their childhood, it can lead to a very brutal and merciless system that becomes even more pronounced when kids are involved.

Luck 
Another topic portrayed in the story is how big of a factor luck plays in our lives. Something may be so improbable that it toes the line of impossible; the reality is that it’s bound to happen to someone. The book illustrates how players, and people, can try and improve their chances all they want, but at the end of the day, anything is possible. Luck plays a huge role throughout the entire series and it shows how it often gets confused with fate.

Value of Life
Millions of people across the globe play video games and among the most popular are ones based around killing other people. Of course, in real life, taking the life of another human being is bad because those are actual people, but how do the circumstances change if everyone is actually a virtual simulation?

Does that mean we don’t actually look like we do here on Earth? What happens to our relationships and friendships? Does that mean our emotions here aren’t real? My mind was pretty much devoured by questions and weird emotions the months during and after I was reading these books. Because the circumstances certainly do change a lot if everything is all just a virtual simulation. And if it all is just a virtual reality, then certainly many of us would be approaching life very differently.

Hopefully, you enjoyed the post and it got at least some of you thinking, even if only for a bit. If it was all over the place, I’m really sorry. But don’t worry, next week (and the week after that and the week after that) will probably be leagues better and more interesting that what it was today. Anyways, thanks for reading and have a great week. And if our world is just a virtual reality game, get out there and make this run worthwhile. 

Link to Terry Schott’s website

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A Quick Update

Hello, everyone! I apologize for the lack of a post this past weekend, but I was very much busy and preoccupied. I planned to write one, but alas.

As stated prior, I am going to be absent for six weeks. What does this mean for the blog? In this span of time, there will be six various authors who will be shelling out posts on a weekly basis, as per the usual affair. While I would say it may be as if I am not even gone, the great part about this is that they will all introduce their own flair and nuance to give a distinct flavour to each weekend. I am unsure as to what they will be posting, but I know for sure they will all provide a great read for the week. Once I have returned (the weekend of August 20th to be precise), I will resume posting.

I hope you enjoy these next six weeks and the upcoming smorgasbord!

Sand and an Umbrella

With school now over for the greater bulk of us, I’m sure that we can all finally take a month or two to kick back and do what we enjoy. Whether that be traveling, sleeping, gaming, reading, learning, or just hanging out with good friends, the summer is truly a canvas for infinite passion, only constrained by time.

Today, I’m deciding to take a foray out of analysis and instead reminisce over my favourite time of year. If my invisible audience finds pleasures to be had in retrospect, please let me know so I can mix the current fold of this blog.

You’ve just said goodbye for two months. Your duty, your purpose, your relationships are now sunken into an easy rest, not to be found until time grasps them from the impervious current of concrete walls and fifty-pound textbooks. In the thick heat of the outside world, you take a final moment to look back at school. It is now late in the day; everyone has left the stage. The bright hue of sunshine casts a shadow upon ten months of life, all defeats, heartaches, and triumphs to be forgotten. You typically walk home, but now you savour this last precious moment in a triumphant stride, encumbered by exuberance to the unknown beyond.

Gravity. It is pure, but its true impact is not realized. You are done. All your work added up, and now you are done. You can roam freely, unrestrained by the next due date or test. But you find comfort in restraint; it is second nature to you. Birds flock to a faraway paradise, yet you are a turtle, hiding in shell and sand and stone and time. You look to the other side of the bridge, but the rushing water below is where adventure is to be had.

Sand. Dormant, yet ultimately a product of the work of millennia. Its shape conforms to the size of your feet like the perfect pair of boots, your hands like the gauntlets of the Earth itself. Yet it pours off, along with it this sensation and the warmth baked in the suns glow. You can savour the moment with another step, but it will always end. You are not a statue, and the beach is not a kingdom.

Home. A harbour of memories, and life in its fullest extent. A staging site for all triumphs to be had, but not forever. You are reminded that each season is a petal, and every dandelion dies eventually. Beauty is not everlasting, and withers away to the march of two hands. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. You awaken from your slumber, in an ethereal haze that puts your mind to ecstasy. The drapes of the window are closed, yet the sun still manages to seep through, highlighting a trail of dust in its wake. A journey across space and over millions of miles, met in a bittersweet ending with the remnants of all around to dance in the air.

Vacation. A simple word, yet too complex to truly understand. It is a voyage within a journey; distance from distance. The end is only an illusion: the road always continues on somewhere else. The white coasts of England, the orange horizon of California, the lime spectacle of Fiji. They form the world, a puzzle with pieces that do not line up; chaos mended by beauty. The bigger picture is often left behind, yet vacation is a truth that must be uncovered by curiosity and time. You know that the world has no tolerance without coin though, and time does not allow impossible journeys.

Colours. The true painters of the world lie above, beyond the blue and clouds, wrapped in science and sorcery. You take no worry at this though. Blue represents a trail still unspoilt by man, founded in purity and a spirit that is beyond our comprehension. Its marvel is seen by all, yet dismissed in its constant beauty and compassion. You feel the course dirt, muzzled grass, and swaying breeze push against your cheeks, with the sun bringing the glow out of our finer details. Exuberance captures you as the blue horizon turns orange, and the sun is reflected onto the rippled waves of water. In its wake, you are left with a sweet chill, and now the blue turns darker, darker, darker. Pivots of light and life glimmer upon you until the cycle repeats.

Alone. Surrounded by others, yet only you understand yourself. The summer had opened your doors, and only you can enter them. You no longer share common ideals with those around you. Aimless, yet you take great solace in this. The summer is bittersweet, and will not last. You wish for it, yet there are only so many summers you will find until you become dust, swirling around in an infinite trance to nowhere.

That has no bearing. Compassion outweighs inevitability, and soon your duty will arise. Green doors will fly open, and literature, math, and essays will fly back out. Leaves will fall, curl, and wither away, left by a cold, desolate wonderland ripe with more adventure to be had. You will never understand these cycles, yet it is time. And time beats us all.

summersun

I hope the tone of this story was more towards the bittersweet side, as unlike the last two posts I made this up on the spot. The next blog post will most likely be the last one I post before I leave for a Cadet training course for six weeks, so I hope to leave the blog on a good note before then. For now, kick back and enjoy the summer. 🙂

“Spice and Splice,” a Character Dialogue Story

As you may remember, last week was a lighter serving, and I stated that this week will follow the same trope. As a kind gesture (and also finals…), I have decided to post this entree two days earlier than I originally intended to, and once again the content will be work done in my English Honours class.

While last week was a half-page analysis on Bohemian Rhapsody (by Queen), what I am about to share is a break from the usual mould. This time I present a short story centred around character dialogue, based on a clip from an old show called Saved by the Bell. While I know nothing about the show in proper, our teacher played a 20-second clip on mute, with absolutely no context either than the fact that the characters names were Zach and Jessie. Our assignment was to write what might have happened. Before we proceed, I advise you watch the clip with no volume on.

If you haven’t watched this show or snippet prior to now, what were your thoughts? Is this a sitcom, where this character is deviating from her ordeals and is being saved by a potential lover? Is this more dramatic, with darker themes of self-abuse and addiction crossing with more heroic attitudes such as compassion? No matter what you thought, I decided to make my own interpretation. And let’s cut right to the chase.

I took it completely out of context to make something far darker (and what I thought was more interesting) than I should have.

Once again, I have never watched this show and can give no indication to its quality or my knowledge of these characters and their backgrounds. I advise you to read this without any context of Saved by the Bell, and instead look to be surprised. Also for the record, I was not aware that she was taking caffeine pills.

Let us begin.

‘Come on Zach, I just need another dose and I’ll be fine!’ My beloved sister Jessie was just like a fallen angel. Top of the line in smarts, looks, and popularity. Now, well…

‘Are you even listening? The doctor said I’m depressed, and I need it, so get out!’

‘Jess, get a grip! Mom and Dad are frightened as you know, and these pills are going to put you down!’ I refuted with an inflamed temper, trying to end her self-inflicting pain.

‘It’s been three months now, Zach. Three damn months! These pills are going to save me, just you watch! You’ve always been the perfect peachy boy of the family, but you’re really just a ruthless bastard!’ screamed Jessie, with any sense of logic she had idle and hiding from her temper.

‘Jessie, listen to yourself. The meds are killing you; what you need is rest,’ I stated with an elevated calm. ‘See? We don’t need to yell or make things worse. Just stay cool.’

‘You’re fucking ridiculous, did you know that? I feel like an emotional time bomb, and nobody even cares!’ Tears now rushed down her cheeks, leaving stains of make-up that failed to keep her integrity in check. Then, at a moment’s notice, my sister began to storm towards her door.

‘You can’t leave, Jess. Not until you stop this madness and sit down,’ I asserted as I began to become unnerved. ‘Don’t make things worse than they already are, for both my sake and your own.’

‘Stop antagonizing me, Zach! You’re not Mom or Dad, so get out!’ Jessie was full of rage and sorrow once again, and her ability to argue was faltering as she became fed up.

‘Admit it, Jess, you can’t go on like this. I’ll make sure to see it that way, if you don’t give up,’ I told her with a scent of intimidation. As I prepared for another response, I snuck my hand down into my pocket.

‘Zach, don’t even try to pretend that I’m an animal or that you care about me,’ Jessie began to tell as she bawled her dazed brown eyes out. ‘When we were young, you always went too far with yourself. Everyone loved you and hated me, and while I worked hard towards my dreams, you simply get them like a spoiled brat. You always controlled me, even now you’re’

‘Hush, Jess. You’re only stressing yourself out and now everything will be fine. You just need rest, even though I doubt you’ll be seeing the family again. I’m sure you’ll be tucked to where you deserve to be, but what can I say?’

I dropped the syringe into Jessie’s lap and looked back at my fallen sister with a grin of fulfillment.

It was an admission of the dark truth of love.

I hope you enjoyed this small snippet from the vault of my writings. I will admit that the twist feels slightly odd, but my goal with this assignment was to paint a very grey picture that has no truth. As school is almost out, things will be back on course for next weekend. Until then, I hope to make something even better than before.

A Short Analysis of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

Three weeks in already! For those of you returning, welcome back. This week’s serving will be a bit on the lighter side due to school and the fact that I was not most impressed by my writing in my last blog post. Due to how complicated and diverse of a character Elizabeth is, I feel as if for the purpose of the second part I should actually replay the damn game instead of relying on my memory. Expect it sometime in the next month, as BioShock Infinite is quite a lengthy game (especially with its DLC added into the equation as well).

As for today, I will be cheating a little. Earlier this year in my English Honours class, our teacher got us to analyse a song or poem of our choosing. The kicker? Only one-half of a page, and of course my temptation and ambition got out of hand. I chose the worst choice possible: Bohemian Rhapsody. Personally my favourite song by Queen, it speaks on multiple levels in such an artistically genius and varied way for a theme that may exist, yet perhaps the entire 6-minute bombast may actually mean nothing.

I should also clarify that I am well aware that this analysis does not live up or hold a candle to how amazing this song truly is, but there is only so much that can be said in half a page. Without further delay, here is the music video for the song. Enjoy!

The song ‘Bohemian Rhapsody” (written by Freddie Mercury) is both literally and figuratively an operatic suite in its presentation; its seemingly broken components tell an epic to the complex theme of suicide. Mercury opens the song by questioning if he is “caught in a landslide, [where there is] no escape from reality” (lines 3-4). The use of a capella creates a warped, dreamlike image where not even a trance can divert the struggle the speaker is going through, with the metaphorical landslide in his opposition. The song later transitions into a piano solo, where the speaker regretfully exclaims his suicide in a climactic and sorrowful tone, saying “[he’s] got to go, [leaving everyone] behind to face the truth” (lines 23-24). Alliteration emphasises this inevitable departure, while euphemism covers the mental instability of the speaker that is to unfold. The constant bantering of “Bismillah [(in the name of God)]! No, we will not let you go (Let him go!)” (line 40) may seem to be whimsical and comedic, yet the repetition of this line and the allusion to God reveals a strong desire of the speaker to both continue and end his life, with his mental pressure creating an endless battle against even faith. In all, this song perfectly captures its title: the Bohemian is one with an affinity for themself, and as a rhapsody they even have affection to ending their own life itself, yet the show must go on.

Mercury, Freddie. “Bohemian Rhapsody”. AZ Lyrics. Web. 7 Jan. 2016.

I hope you enjoyed this small slice of analysis for the week. Expect next week to be of a similar quantity, yet of different content on the contrary.

Does Emotional Storytelling Outweigh Plot? – Part 1

(WARNING: Spoilers for BioShock Infinite)

Welcome back to take two! Terrible pun aside, today’s course will be a more concise one that covers a topic that is not as broad, and will only focus on one piece of media. I hope that it may also overlap with other works (perhaps Titanic, I dunno…), but as with the title, does emotional storytelling outweigh plot?

To begin, what do I specifically mean by emotional storytelling outweighing plot in the case of this post? To summarize with an analogy, have you ever been in love and commit actions that defy any sense of logic? While these actions cause satisfaction, will they scrape at the back of your head with such nuance that only much later you realize your mistake? This is how prominent emotional storytelling exists in fiction: it takes all attention away from other aspects of the work such as plot and setting, and (for example) instead pits drama and character interaction ahead of all else. We easily find ourselves invested in our emotions, and watching a movie, playing a video game, and reading a book is no different. If there is literally zero plot progression, a character that your entire mind is invested into may change your opinion from zero-to-eleven quite drastically.

When I initially played BioShock Infinite (released by 2K Games back in 2013), this character was none other than Elizabeth.

For those of you who haven’t played the game (which you should), Elizabeth is the heir of the games main antagonist Comstock, the leader of a political party in the floating city of Columbia that has an ultra-nationalistic ideology (that takes Americanism to its extreme). She is locked away from the rest of the city, and held by awe by its populace as the “Lamb of Columbia”, who will emerge to clear out our undesirable world below.

The player is Booker DeWitt, a troubled former Pinkerton agent with an excessive gambling debt who has a deal to “bring them the girl and wipe away the debt”. This girl is none other than Elizabeth, guarded away in her tower protected by the menacing sight of the Songbird. While this is true, the game pulls at your heartstrings much earlier on in the serene, pristine streets of Columbia, and this is where I give the game an immense amount of credit: this early game section where you simply walk. This opening section is where we will begin our examination.

The_Flying_City_of_Columbia
Columbia is all its stylistic glory akin to the 1893 World’s Fair.
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The angelic tower here is Monument Island, where Elizabeth is held.

While I don’t want to drone on about the overall world of Columbia and its interesting characters, the beauty of this place is astounding and alluring. The former picture of the last two is the first sight of the city, and with an ethereal e-piano playing in the background, it may be one of the most memorable sights in any video game I have ever played.

Upon entering the city, you are met with a myriad of harmonic voices singing “Will the Circle be Unbroken”, and opens Columbia to be the perfect utopia: clean, vintage, and plenty of idealistic values that seem absent from the world we dwell in. This concept is very manipulative is making you feel very positive emotions, and is presented in a way where you press on forward. The tip of the iceberg may be when a barbershop quartet sputters up from the depths of the infinite blue skies and sings “God Only Knows”, and this is perhaps where I say that words cannot describe how beautifully this sets up the world in terms of tone. Instead, you can experience it for yourself (also listen to the rest of the soundtrack, even if you have no intention of playing the game):

So far, I have presented the emotional entourage of BioShock Infinite’s opening in brief strokes, and this should hopefully give off the harmonic and angelic tone that I experienced myself. Yet… Where is the rest of the story? Let’s take a look, shall we?

  • BioShock Infinite does very little to explore its characters in this opening, and Booker is very much closed off at this point.
  • The audio logs do not serve to explain and serve the setting, but rather give foreshadow on plot and explore background (at this point) characters that are important nonetheless.
  • The practical existence of Columbia is hastily explained as a scientific marvel…

I should note that none of these above points are particular problems, yet tone and emotion are definitely the key player at this point of the game, soon to be followed by a character-driven force that defines its remainder. Many complaints I may have about BioShock Infinite may be in comparison to the original BioShock, which I regard as superior is some aspects. This includes an immersive and fully fleshed-out backstory, world, and side characters that make it feel almost real.

I have spent much time covering the opening of the game, yet it is such a prime example to delve into and analyze that we are not even done.

Later on, the game introduces vigors, a beverage that makes its wielder become inflicted with supernatural powers, such as summoning a vigorous flock of crows, or a blistering inferno of fire from their fingertips. While little to nothing is done in the game’s story to explain or signify vigors, they are introduced as a saleswoman almost tries to seduce Booker into a free sample, giving off a utopian sense that everyone is content with themselves and would never be anywhere else. Even idle chatter from citizens is so happy-go-lucky that I wish there was more if it.

Moving along, this opening walk-in-the-park is put on full breaks when it is interrupted by the game’s first insight into its theme of ultra-Americanism. Almost like a swift punch to the gut, the peaceful tone of the game is jerked out and replaced with a root of America that still feels pain today: racism. The player is presented with a stage, a baseball, and a black woman and Irish man tied to a pole, with the populace simply laughing and cheering as if they are watching whimsical tricks at a circus.

Screen-Shot-2014-01-17-at-3.37.57-PM

Such a switch of the portrayal of regular men and woman can incite feelings of disgust and perhaps horror. The game then gives you two options: throw the ball at the interracial couple, or the man presenting this display. I assume the majority of players took the latter option, yet they are stopped as they find out that Booker is the “False Shepard”, sent to Colombia in order to stray Elizabeth away as prophesied by Comstock. Following this, a combat sequence pits the player against the police force of Columbia takes up a larger part of the opening, and this is where we will stop and analyze this change of heart.

I have definitely spoken on how Columbia is now thrust into a more negative spotlight, yet its pristine nature still persists later on into the game. My question is: what purpose does this scene serve? The theme of racism in this game definitely fits in greatly with the theme of Americanism, yet both are not prime focuses too far in. Perhaps it fits as an allegory for Booker’s character, as he has a history rooted in racial violence, and Columbia will literally be a second Ark destined for himself as a human being. Yet with a twist later on relating to an underground faction of other races called the Vox Populi and the point where the plot (in my opinion, perhaps not yours) ends up too convoluted into its own theories and “deep” messages (including inter-dimensional travel…), I feel as if this scene ultimately goes nowhere and the plot falters in retrospect.

Once again, does this mean this scene is bad? Definitely not. We see a more sinister side of Columbia rooted into its nationalism, yet these are people who may very well be like you and I. While the setting and backstory give a clear backseat to tone and character exploration, did you notice upon your first time playing the game? If you did notice, did you care? Personally, I can say that I did not notice this as the game is extremely effective in telling an emotional tale that left me genuinely moved, and this opening is only the first foray into a tale of twists and turns and an unexpected conclusion that may leave some confused, yet is a prime example of where the subject of this post comes in hand.

For next post, I will be looking into the character of Elizabeth, who I believe to be the emotional core of this game that transcends into possibly one of the best FPS protagonists at the climax of the games DLC, Burial at Sea Part 2. With this, I will leave a few more images of Columbia to paint its vast sprawl in all its glory.