Monday, October 19

ds: to death with a smile | initial ideas

concept one: game over

concept / initial thoughts
For some reason I can’t get this idea out of my head. That gaming has a sort of a universal language that encompasses many different cultures. Specifically thinking about Mario. When he dies in a game, you have two options: use a “one up” that is a magic mushroom falling from the sky giving you another life  or “game over.” Even if it’s game over, you just restart the game and continue playing. My own experience playing the game, I’m always laughing at the game over screen because I always die in the simplest way. It’s a funny, non threatening death. The term game over has also become a phrase used for the end of an event in real life. People also using gaming as a way to cope with real loss.

Basically I don’t know if this is a strong enough direction conceptually? I feel like it’s kinda far off but I thought that might also be a good thing. I think I need some advice on how I can push this direction to make it better.

I’m thinking I could juxtapose the 8bit (ish) style with more obvious iconography of death. Aka I’m imagining the name “to death with a smile” to be rendered somewhat like the end of a mario game “game over” or using the illustration style of a one up mushroom to depict the soul or something.


  • Games take us out of ourselves to such an extent that we forget where we are. We lose the sense of time passing. We swap our normal lives for the power fantasy, the exotic, the elsewhere.
  • We consume a book, but a game consumes us. It leaves us reeling and bewildered
  • In a games arcade just off Piccadilly Circus, a crowd loiters around a machine with big speakers and a small platform. “They are not here to play,” he writes. “They are here to perform.” Dance Dance Revolution is an excuse for a dance-off – part West Side Story, part hopscotch. When the music starts, coloured markers flash in time, showing where you need to place your feet. The adept are worth watching, and know it.
  • And the “rush” generated by competition, by chasing high scores, is also a big part of the obsession. Like sports, games are challenging, driving players to strive for domination. They are an opportunity to measure yourself against others, and an outlet for aggression and rivalry.
  • Far from being loners, players make friends globally through games. “The social connections that they encourage, both within Iraq and beyond, have built empathy in ways that may have a profound effect on the way some young people view their place in the world,” explains Parkin.
  • When Green’s infant son was diagnosed with cancer, he decided to make a game about it.
  • His father is still making the game, now a celebration of a life as much as a study in human suffering.
  • “Literature is able to remove us from our own lives and focus on the hopes, dreams and conflicts of another,” he writes. “But only a video game gives us the sense of being in control, of being the author of our destiny.”
  • Video games won’t save you, says Parkin. They might even kill you. But, as he writes, “the potential – that shimmering, vivid, endlessly exciting potential – is there, fizzing on the restless screen.”

"Game over" is a message in video games which signals that people failed a game, commonly due to a negative outcome such as losing all of one's lives - although the phrase sometimes follows its score after successful completion of a game.[1] The phrase has since seen wider use to describe the end of an event in real life.

  • I instead choose to use videogames as a way to cope with loss, rather than to escape from it.

  • According to Wang’s research we can distinguish six primary game functions in digital games for health—distraction, rehabilitation, motivation & monitoring, knowledge acquisition, coaching & skill practice, and persuasion. 
  •  connection between a gaming experience and individual empowerment - An overview of the current state of research on in-game learning and the (expected) transfere

concept two: objects 

concept / initial thoughts
When loved ones die, you are left with their objects. These few items become extremely important and relics of memories you shared. They are priceless because they are irreplaceable. Often times people will include in their will who specially will receive what item. This gives the object an even greater meaning / importance to you as an individual because you know that person wanted you to have it and remember them by whatever memory is attached to it. This makes you smile.

I’m kind of inspired by the A9 design, the use of random objects and how she was able to string those things together with the number 9. I haven’t found that stream yet, but I think the idea of using photography in this way.  

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