To help myself remember how I felt about various things that I finished
Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Here's another Chaplin film that everyone knows from the iconic gear scene, but I think very few people have seen all the way through. I really think of it as Chaplin's masterpiece. It presents itself as a silent film, but it isn't, really -- it has a recorded soundtrack, which includes talking -- however, it largely follows a creepy rule: In Modern Times, only machines are allowed to talk. The effects and editing are incredible, and the film keeps moving, vigorously, from scene to scene. I never thought about it, but the passion for creating 8-bit games at this point in time is a lot like Chaplin continuing to make silent films into the late thirties. The message of the film is fascinating -- when men behave like machines they are degraded, but when they behave like humans, they are the most elevated, and the most successful. The film doesn't rub your nose in this, but sneaks up on it, and implies it, with tricky things like Chaplin's famous nonsense song at the end -- it's such a human situation, a human solution to a very human problem. This film will stay relevant until we truly understand, embrace, and protect what it means to be human, and we have a long way to go before we get there.
Jesse Schell has taught Game Design and led research projects at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center (www.etc.cmu.edu) since 2002. Jesse is also the CEO of Pittsburgh’s largest videogame studio, Schell Games (www.schellgames.com), the author of The Art of Game Design: a book of lenses (www.artofgamedesign.com), and the former chairman of the International Game Developers Association (www.igda.org). In 2004, he was named one of the world’s Top 100 Young Innovators by Technology Review, MIT’s magazine of innovation.
Before coming to Carnegie Mellon, he was the Creative Director of the Disney Virtual Reality Studio, where he spent seven years as designer, programmer and manager on several projects for Disney theme parks and Disney Online. Before that, he was a software engineer at IBM and Bell Communications Research, and a writer, director, performer, juggler, comedian, and circus artist for both Freihofer's Mime Circus and the Juggler's Guild. You can email him at jesse(at)schellgames.com.