Author Archives: nate9002

The Advantage of Interactive Narrative

As far back as I can remember there has been a heated debate as to which is more important to a video game; story or game-play. The answer is yes. As far as storytelling goes, video games have always had an advantage over film and television in that they are interactive, meaning the story can sometimes be told through game-play and make you, the player, the protagonist. dialougue-wheel

Decisions, Decisions

 You may be thinking “of course video games make you the main character, you’re the one playing aren’t you?” While that’s true, it’s one thing to give the player an avatar to control, but to fully immerse the player and make them feel like the centerpiece of the narrative requires very precise game design choices. Probably the simplest way to achieve this is with a dialogue wheel that allows you to choose what your avatar says like in Mass Effect. Although I ADORE Mass Effect, I prefer a more subtle approach. When crafting a story for their games, developers must remember to give the character motivation to see the journey through to the end. Two games that absolutely nail this premise are Ico and Wind Waker.

ico_cover_-_eujp

On the surface, Ico has a very simple story: escape! You begin the game trapped in a sprawling castle, lost and alone. A few minutes in you meet your sole companion: Yorda. The only problem is that Ico and Yorda don’t speak the same language, making it impossible to verbally communicate with Yorda. It’s up to the players actions to convey instructions to her. The game builds itself around this by designating a button to hold her hand. This simple design choice makes the player prioritize keeping Yorda close and thus you form a bond to her through game play. By the end of the game, you’re so attached to her that when she is kidnapped, even though Ico is given a clear escape route, your priority has completely switched to getting your friend back!

ww cover.jpg

Wind Waker begins in a typical Zelda fashion by establishing the player character, Link as an ordinary island boy. It isn’t long before the game gives you your first taste of action when it gives you your sword and has you go to town on some generic enemies. This short sequence serves to make the player feel empowered and invincible. So what happens during the first real level? You lose your weapon and are forced to sneak your way through hordes of enemies, all of which now seem much more dangerous. You are now reminded that you are not invincible, you’re still that same island boy. Now the game becomes about reclaiming that sense of empowerment you felt in the beginning, a theme that is illustrated beautifully in a later sequence where you return to this same dungeon with sword in hand.

For more on video game narrative design, check out these links:

The Legend of Zelda’s take on the hero’s journey

The themes of Light and Dark in Ico’s prequel; Shadow of the Colossus

More on Wind Waker:


IMA Final Project by Nate Emerson

To be honest, I think this is my favorite thing that I’ve made for this class (not counting the NUMEROUS technical difficulties I ran into) For this video I set out to fix some of the mistakes and problems with my last project (5 things that suck in life) I wanted this one to be more focused. I decided that I would start formulating my idea for the video by forming the concept in one sentence. After awhile I arrived at “An infomercial about an all purpose utensil that is clearly useless.” After that part was done, it was just a matter of how I wanted to structure it. The next biggest thing I wanted to do with this video was experiment more with camera work. I ended up doing a lot more takes than I had intended because either I didn’t like the angle or one of my actors moved out of frame. By the end of it, however it was worth the effort since the product ended up being better than I could have hoped. I would love to continue doing sketch comedy in the future, I have found it to be rewarding. Hopefully you all agree… maybe?


Filming a Fight Reaction by Nate Emerson

For my experience with the X4 project, I elected to attend a professional practice, namely the “filming a fight” presentation by Chris White The presentation, as a whole, was much more interesting and insightful than I had thought it would be, because the speaker went over much more than simple choreography. In his (slightly paraphrased) words “a fight scene is still a scene.” The first thing he went over in his presentation was how does a fight fit into a story, as in why are the characters fighting? Who is fighting who? What roles do the character play in the fight? Is it the hero fighting the villain or is it more complicated than that? I found this interesting because I had always thought of a fight scene as somewhat separate from the story of any given piece of fiction, as in the focus is on choreographing the bout to make it seem realistic. While that is true, White explained that the overreaching goal of a fight scene is to tell a portion of the story through combat. To do this, a fight scene, like any other scene, needs to have a beginning, middle, and end. As he explained, the beginning of the scene should establish the characters in the fight and why they are about to come to blows. The middle of the scene is essentially the “meat” of the scene, which is where the choreography comes in, as now that we know who is fighting who and why, we are emotionally invested to see the characters pummel each other into oblivion. Finally the end of the scene is the conclusion to the fight, as in, who won, did anyone win, was it a draw, and what does the climax of this fight mean for the story and the characters? His examples included a scene from the recent film “Kingsman” in which the protagonist is assaulted in a dinner. In this short scene, the film established the reason for the fight and the antagonist all before the first punch was thrown. Another factor White went over in the lecture was realism and the role it plays in the audiences enjoyment of a fight. According to White, an audience member (even subconsciously) will notice the smallest lapse in logic present in any fight scene. An example he gave was a character punches someone and the victims reaction even slightly delayed, the audience will notice and it will pull them out of the scene. Later, in the post lecture work shop, he went over a few camera and perspective tricks that help fool the audience while keeping the actors reasonably safe.  The example that stuck out to me was the attacker would narrowly miss their opponents face and the victim would take that as their cue to quickly fall backwards or otherwise recoil. Over all I have no shortage of good things to say about this presentation, it was informative as well as humorous and White’s natural charisma didn’t hurt either. In the end, it did not feel like homework.


5 Things That Suck in Life by Nate Emerson

Cast: Itay Vagner, Jonathan Ray, Bartholomew Kaur, Sierra Owens, the voice of Nathan Pierson

Written, Directed, and Edited by me

So this assignment was… different. When the prompt of surrounding the video around the number five was announced, I knew I wanted to do something involving sketch comedy. However I knew that making 5 sketches wouldn’t be enough, those sketches should be centered around the number five, primarily why it’s evil! As soon as I was told that I needed actors, I knew immediately who to call on; the South Eugene High School Comedy Club! For a little background, most of the people who were starring in the video were people I met through a sketch comedy club we formed in my freshmen year of high school. As I knew, they were all more than happy to work with me on this project, making filming them an absolute joy! The real trouble I ran into this project was editing. I had at least 5 minutes worth of footage recorded and I had to cut it down to 2, all while I was getting over a cold. As a result the video ended up going much faster than I thought it would, which actually added to the comedy in my opinion. With that said I still needed to come up with some creative solutions. In between each skit I had a little title explaining what the following skit was about, but thanks to the 2 minute time limit, they were impossible to read. In the end I decided to keep the first title, but for the remaining 4 skits I used visual representations. Looking back, I wish I had removed the 3rd title since it shows up for less than a second and can barely be read, though I felt like the skit wasn’t self explanatory enough to not label it so I was kind of stuck. Well I hope you enjoyed my first attempt at directing people, I put a lot of time and effort into this, so be honest in your feedback!


That One Time (or Why I Have No Friends) by Nate Emerson

WARNING: There’s a short, pretty sharp audio spike at 9 seconds in.

Before you ask, no I am not a serial killer. With this story, I wanted to make an affectionate parody of what most fan fiction ends up being. I firmly believe that good fan fiction does exist, however it is hard to deny that roughly 90% of fan fiction ends up being self indulgent fantasy in which the author is the main character and posses no flaws and is adored by every other character. This is what’s known as a “Mary Sue.” This is why I made my self ridiculously over powered and is far to into how amazing he is. An example being my character inexplicably having a lightsaber or gaining power from his “insanely hot female love interest” (I also loved doing that voice). I also wanted to play with status with the twist at the end. In the first part of the story my status is high being the ultimate savior of the universe, however when the twist at the end hits my status immediately shoots downward and I’m revealed to be a pathetic character with a clear history of mental issues. My overreaching goal was simply to make people laugh, or more so, to make something I thought was funny. My “style” of comedy relies heavily on not making any sense, there isn’t a whole lot of cleverness or wit involved, which may turn a few people off. My personal motto (which I invented 10 seconds ago) is “make something that makes you laugh, and hope someone agrees.” With that said, please be as brutal as possible.


Zelda Informer by Nate Emerson

ZIThe Legend of Zelda series has garnered a sizable fan following ever since it’s debut on the NES in 1986. It has become so popular that some of the most loyal fans of the series have created a database that is dedicated to bringing us Zelda junkies any new information regarding the series. Welcome to Zelda Informer! Not only does this blog have any and all news about the Zelda series (Upcoming releases, behind the scenes, etc.) but it is also host to a miriade of Zelda related content, such as editorials, reviews, caption contests, walkthroughs, and essentially anything Zelda. My personal favorite section of the site is the editorials section, wherein the admins of the blog post opinion pieces, predictions, and generally just gush about the Zelda series. All of the articles that I read were very professionally written, analyzing aspects of the series most people overlook, such as the theme of courage presented in each game and how the protaganist, Link, conveys a great deal of personality despite never speaking. It goes to show that for a lot of people (myself included) the Zelda series is a part of our life that they take seriously and has given us many wonderful adventures and experiences over the years, and this blog is a way of expressing adoration for a series that has done so much for us. That, or it’s a bunch of nerds who read way too much into a game about some kid in tights fighting pig monsters. I like to think it’s the former though. In all seriousness , if you’re a Zelda fan like me, there is no shortage of interesting things on Zelda Informer, it’s a pretty fantastic way to kill a few hours or decades.

Check it out: http://www.zeldainformer.com/

And remember, it’s a secret to every one…


Scavenger Hunt

I went on an adventure!!!equipment deskI went to the equipment desk where the disembodied head of Christopher Walken taught me to believe in myself!

blue wallIt’s a blue wall. I like walls.

student engagmentCenter for Student Engagement. They have chairs.

Art GalleryArt GalleryartomatThe Art-O-MatLib researchLibrary Research Center in the Libraryfreaky silver statueA Large SculptureDiv officeDivision of Arts OfficeMedia center.jpgMedia Creation LabJudy GatesJudy Gate’s Officeindie labIndie Lab from Buil– Wait is that The Hobbit!?flagsFlags from Building 1. Fun Fact: I’m terrified of heights. I have no idea how I got such a clear shot.Construction I’m gonna call this construction.


Who do I think I am!? by Nate Emerson

My name is Nate Emerson, now look at how interesting I am. I have spent my entire life thus far living in Eugene, Oregon. In my spare time I am an avid gamer and anime fan. To this day my favorite game of all time is Donkey Kong Country 2 for the Super Nintendo, I’ve played it ever since I was five and it hasn’t lost an ounce of the magic it once had. Other games that I enjoy include The Legend of Zelda, The Tales Series, Uncharted, Shadow of the Colossus, and Super Smash Brothers to name a few. My interest in Anime began in elementary school, where I would wait with bated breath for the chime of the school bell to send me home so I could watch Dragon Ball Z on Toonami. I have met most of my closest friends through Anime and have many fond memories of trying to go Super Saiyan on the playground.

 

While I am seeking a degree in media arts, my greatest passion is comedy. I can not describe in words the satisfaction I feel in making someone else laugh. I’ve often considered doing stand up but the idea terrifies me beyond rational belief, so for the time being I will stick to making silly youtube videos in my spare time. I especially enjoy this because it allows me to use a multitude of characters and voices that I have accumulated over a long career as class clown. I would love to get paid for it some day but for the time being I love doing it for fun.

If you consider yourself a total nerd, talk to me, I think we’ll get along. Have a great day, and remember: it’s not over until the fish jumps.Blog Profile