Short of the Week

Last winter, Short of the Week redesigned their site. I came across it this morning. Pretty cool. Here’s something that they posted about the new design: Welcome to the New Short of the Week!

I really like how it looks and functions, both on a laptop and the iPhone:

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I especially like that when you pause the movie, a brief description of the film and a link to a longer description pops up. And I like the horizontal strips. Are these stripes better than a grid for videos? Not sure. They seem a bit trendy and are pretty big on the screen. I think I’ll show this site to STA and get his opinion.


Thank you, Google Maps!

As part of The Farm story experiment, I’ve been working with my son fwathegamer (who turned 11 last week) on a video game inspired by stories from Finnish Americans, like my great grandparents Elias and Johanna, living in the UP in the 1890s-early 1900s. While some of the stories come from my grandmother’s memoirs + scrapbooks, much of them come from researching the history of Finnish immigrants. I’ve really enjoyed reading/hearing the stories and figuring out ways to organize them into a video game. But, I’ve had less fun trying to collaborate with my son on the project. I think neither of us had any idea that creating a video game could be so complicated and time-consuming. It’s taking all the SISU and Puotinen persistence that I have to continue nagging  encouraging him to work on the project with me.

One monumental task for this video game is crafting the UP, including the farm world, in pixel form. Thanks to a fabulous micro grant (from Tweet Small Change), fwathegamer and I got a subscription to Pickle and we’ve been playing around/struggling with it in the hopes of creating cool tile sets and backgrounds for the game. This morning, inspired by a featured game on Stencyl, the platform that we’re using, I had the idea of using the aerial view of the farm land as a guide. In less than a minute, I was able to zoom in on google maps to find it.

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Pretty cool! Now, we just need to convert it to something like these:

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Video Game Boss

At the end of a level or stage in a video game, you frequently have to fight a extra powerful enemy called a boss. I’m hoping to have at least 3 bosses in the video game that my son FWA and I (with some help from STA) are creating. All of the bosses are inspired by historical events/true stories in the lives of Finnish American immigrants from the UP.

Yesterday, FWA designed an Alpha version of a Lightning-wielding Tree Boss that the player faces at the end of the farming stage. This tree is inspired by a true story from my dad about a bad lightning storm in the back 40 field that electrocuted a prized cow. Here’s FWA’s vision of the boss (he will eventually shoot lightning bolts out of his eyes/limbs):


And here’s the story from my dad (2 minutes 37 seconds in):


What do you call the people who visit and engage with an interactive site? So far in my descriptions of my project, I’ve been calling them “users.” I’m not sure I like that term. I think it’s because it seems a bit too depersonalized and business-oriented. I’ve continued to use it because I’m not sure what term would work better. Visitors? People?

This morning, as I was watching a brief video interview with Mandy Rose, she suggests agent (“Active agent in the process”) as an alternative.

I like how this term indicates the active role that people watching and engaging with i-docs play, but it still seems depersonalized. What about co-storytellers? (too awkward?)