Tuesday, 18 October 2011

On the replay value of dead people

ds106 assignment on reappropriating game screenshots.

Game: Pac-Man
Original context: Eat dots, avoid ghosts. This is 1980! There is no context!
"Day 1000. I still don't know how I got into this maze, or if I'm ever going to get out. Frankly the way this is going I'm beginning to give up hope. Occasionally I find fruit on the ground though...which despite the mystery of how they got there proves a necessary, even delicious source of sustenance. Nevertheless I feel that my time may soon be up; I have begun hallucinating, seeing multi-coloured ghosts floating around these bland, blue halls. Little by little everything is becoming so colourful to me...and I can't help but feel a sense of twisted melancholy at this unforeseen development..."

Original screenshot here. One interesting consideration this time was how to integrate text into a game as old as this without it seeming out of place and what I opted for in the end was to use a "dot-style" font to try and camouflage the line in there with the white dots, with the intention of blending dots with the "..." that might be part of the line itself.

As for the "how", well there wasn't much photo manipulation done this time around, but a big part of the process, as mentioned, was applying the right "dot-style" font so I guess I'll elaborate a little on finding and installing new fonts to your computer. What you wanna do is basically do a simple Google search on "free fonts", which will give you a list of sites where you can download...well, free fonts! (surprised?)

You can search for basically anything (even ones which mimic a specific movie font) but once you have your file downloaded you wanna go and unzip the folder (it's usually zipped), look for a file with the font name that ends with the extension "TTF", "OTF" or similar, and do the following:
  1. Go to "My Computer"
  2. "Local Disc"
  3. "Windows"
  4. "Fonts", and basically drop the TTF/OTF file in there.
After that...well there's no after that actually. The next time you open any font-using program (can you say Photoshop?) your new, shiny font should be added to your list of selectables! Go ahead and use it for your next assignment!


  1. excellent - the diary entry story is so good and would have worked for me even without the work on the screenshot

  2. Video games as a first person journal narrative, brilliant! Glad you added this as a ds106 assignment, I can easily seeing this one taking off! Also, if Pacman sees dead people, does that make him Haley Joel Osment?

  3. Lou: Thanks!

    Ben: Glad you like the assignment! And you got the line too :D

  4. I love the old games. I mean I prefer to play those kinds of games because it's simple and i don't know why, but I wanna play those kinds of games

  5. I definitely agree that the old, simple games have a kind of allure that more sophisticated games lack. In fact that's kind of precisely why I chose to tackle this assignment with such a "simple" game to go off of.

    The funny thing is though with the recent trend of "casual" games that people play on their phones, iPads or whatever, it seems a lot of people are being introduced to simple (though modern) games as well. How many of these people move on to more sophisticated games, how many stick with the simple ones and how many drop out altogether is an issue to be seen though.

    But in the mean time looking back at old games like these, I think they generate a feeling of nostalgia similar to looking at old movie posters, or reading a yellowed book, which is in itself amusing because video games no matter how old are intricately technological :P