New Thoughts

Isabel Samaras and R. Sikoryak had a talk last Thursday on mutating and adapting elements of pop culture to create new work. The former is a painter who inserts pop icons into classical painters. The latter drew comics where classical literature is retold with the aesthetics of Little Lulu, Garfield, Tales of the Crypts, and Batman.

I didn’t get to attend the lecture, but I managed to stop by and get their books. After going through some of their stuff and looking up some stuff on the Lowbrows and Pop Surrealism, I couldn’t help but feel that, “Man, I wish I could do something like that.” Previously I’ve considered making a drumming game for teaching or recreating the experience of drum performance, but now I really want to give the “fan culture and parody” concept some serious thoughts.

In one way, I could turn this into something very personal. Currently, I’m having an obsession over the Anime and game fanwork subculture, to a point where it’s becoming somewhat unhealthy. On the other hand, I want to explore drumming, percussion instruments, and music games, because these are the stuff that has a positive effects on my mind and concentration.

Nonetheless, I don’t want to just put my obsession for fandom into box; truth be told, that has been one of my motivations to come to an art school like Parsons….

The best option I have so far seems to be to make this thesis about my struggle to balance this obsession and channel that energy to create something. I still want to work with the drumming game, since that has been an interesting medium of expression for me as well. (And truth be told, I’ve put too much energy on this already to quit.)

So, the main objective for my thesis now is to explore the relationship between virtual content and physical medium. The physical medium I choose now is the drum triggers and other New Interface for Music Expressions with percussion instruments. The virtual content will be the things I’m more familiar with, such as Japanese Anime and Manga, TV shows, music videos, games, and internet content; to be more general, anything that makes you sit in front of a screen.

For the audience, I’m moving away from the general, commercialized consumers to the cult audiences of gamers, particularly those who is familiar with games at its earlier stages, the 70’s and 80’s generation. The final product will be placed in a setting for game shows, conventions, and exhibitions.

Questions to ask for this thesis:
– Can there be a Lowbrow movement for games?
– How different will the player experience be if a classical game with preconceived gameplay adapts a new gameplay? Directions for this can be:

  • Using controllers other than existing game controllers. For example, using a drum trigger board instead of a game controller with buttons.
  • Adapting one gameplay into another genre with a completely different context. Existing examples will be how House of the Dead is turned from a first-person-shooting game into a typing game with Typing of the Dead.
  • Presenting a digital game into analog form. For example, make a Final Fantasy version of Order of the Sticks.

– Board game (Using existing video game characters)
– Exploit drum as a medium of game control and have it merge with games that are not music-based. (Donkey Konga is an example of such.) Make it so that a percussion instrument can be used to play one of the following:

  • First-Person-Shooter
  • Role Playing Games
  • Pinball
  • Blockbuster

– Gameplay Meshup
Re-invent screenshots from games, so that characters from one genre enters the realm of another game, ideally the aesthetic style between the two games are drastically different. Example: EBA & Ouendan gameplay with characters of other series.

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