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In the game?

We view images everyday through media such as television and the internet. Society does not usually stop to think about how their subconscious is perceiving these images, and they simply go about their day without giving it a second thought. However, it is important not to become too familiar with the world around us, therefore it is crucial to look at these images in another light. My image can be analyzed (like all other images) using the same these levels that Roland Barthes uses in his essay titled Rhetoric of Image.

Viewing this image on the simple linguistic level is difficult, due to the fact that there are few linguistic traits about it. The words on the top of the screen indicate how much gold you have, the amount of time played, as well as the world you are currently in. This information, when provided textually, allows us to keep track of the time and space we are in without memorizing the layout of each individual world. Another linguistic message is the "POW" represented in the classic comic book bubble. This word does not provide the same kind of information given to us with the text at the top of the screen, however, it does still represent something. "POW" is much more symbolic and ties into Barthes' second technique of image analysis nicely.

The second kind of message, the denotative one, is far easier to look at in this picture. For one, there is the unrealistic representation of landscape through digitized means (the 8 bit clouds, perfectly symmetrical brick walkway and ferns). While we are meant to identify with this landscape, it is clear that it is not present in reality. However, the female character does appear realistic and, by what we know of video games, her presence there is contradictory. We know elements of Mario's world through our culture, the little "?" boxes represent treasure and the Goombas are known to be enemies who can kill you on contact. These features create a more believable video game environment. However, it is clear that this environment has been violated in some way (the white spots, the slightly moving "?" block), causing the viewer to lose trust in the image of playing a game. The same can be said in regards to the artificial television outlining the scene. This television is outside the norm of what we define as a realistic tv. Therefore, video games cannot be played upon it, thereby further emphasizing not only the lack of playability of the game but also the unrealistic setting for the real life character.

The connotations of this image come together by viewing both the linguistic elements as well as the symbolic ones. It's clear that we have an altered picture of a video game universe that combines elements of reality. How exactly one interprets this meaning relies heavily on the context upon which they view it. For example, if a reader were to come to my blog and see this image at the top of the page, they might infer that I am an avid gamer, so much so that I put myself in the actual game. Yet if someone were to find it on a google image search with no prior knowledge of it's source they could have a variety of reactions. One person may find the idea confusing and unconvincing, especially if they have limited game knowledge. Another may see it as a work of art if they have no idea about photoshop or gif animating software, and another would view it as a newbie project if they were experts with such software.

To analyze such an image myself, I would be inclined to agree with my first point about an intense love of gaming, but this idea does not take hold with each individual.


Mario background- screenshot taken by me
Videogame me - pictures taken by me
POW used in one of the animation shots, image by flickr user smemon CC BY 2.0
Television - Commissioned by request, used with permission by Adolfo Sanchez

Brief Description: 

I jump around a Super Mario World landscape and punch blocks. I like to play games and I would love to actually do this outside of the virtual space. Click on me, I'm animated!


So I really liked this, even before I clicked it, but its animated?! That's awesome. Great job!!!

So I really liked this, even before I clicked it, but its animated?! That's awesome. Great job!!!

I love it. I think the animated thing works well with your blog!

This takes placing yourself into the game to a new level. I like that you combined other elements of video games along with including yourself as the character.

Great essay - just a couple of suggestions:
1. " order not to become familiarized with the world around us..." - the wording is kind of confusing
2. maybe put quotes around the ? when talking about the "? blocks"

Thank you for your feedback, I definitely took what you said and made changes in my essay :D

Wow! This is fantastic! I really like this - the animation makes it, I think. Also, this would be excellent as an image for your about page on your blog.

Your concept is really cool. I like that you combine aspects of real and virtual worlds. It would have also been cool had you changed the "Mario" to your name. Nice job with the animation too!

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