Posts Tagged ‘stop motion animation’

Lego Tetris

February 15, 2008

Well this is a little late seeing as I put up my lego tetris video on January 12th, but I still feel that it’s worth talking about. As of now more than 14,000 people have watched it, and some of them even like it, so I suppose it’s worth my time to fill yall in on some of the details that went into lego tetris’ production. The animation, including the credits, took about 12 hours. I had this much spare time because on January 4th I got all four of my wisdom teeth out and I was bedridden for give-or-take a week. Also, I found out that I was allergic to oxycodine, which was a huge problem as I hadn’t eaten anything for over 24 hours prior to my operation. Which meant that when I took the pills, which made me throw up, I had nothing in my system and so all that came up was the black bile and stomach lining that your body doesn’t really know how to reject, all of which got into the four new fresh deep wounds at the back of my mouth. All of this detail is necessary for you, the viewers, to know.

            So there are a couple of things I’d like to clarify about the video. First of all, I purposefully created a game of tetris that is played very differently than how I naturally play. I did this because I knew that if I created a game, step by step, just like what I’m all ready comfortable with, I might go crazy and/or really really really bored. I also wanted to get an insight into how different people play tetris because I think that the only way to improve on anything you do once you’re too comfortable with how you do it is to start over again from scratch. Not having the stress of an actual game over my head, I didn’t feel compelled to do what I all ready comfortably do, and therefore gained a new insight into possibilities of how I can play the game. But don’t get me wrong, 12 hours of stop motion animation is most certainly stressful in its own way.

            I’ve found that everyone plays tetris in their own highly individual style, and you can tell a lot about a person based on their tetris performance. Despite the fact that there are only seven pieces and a particularly finite amount of time and space to negotiate them, everyone manages to make the game their own. I have heard many people argue that because tetris is so simplistic, everyone makes basically the same choices, but in a slightly different order than everyone else. Everyone has the same motivations (to get as far as possible) and therefore everyone commits the same actions. I personally think that it is the simplicity of tetris that lends itself to such individualism, and through restriction and discipline of both form and content real creativity is possible. Yeah.

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            Secondly, I had a bunch of weird shit that has nothing to do with tetris fall at the end as the music crescendos and everything spirals into confusion and horror. This is because, I feel, tetris is an analogy for life. No matter how well you play, no matter how good you are at the game, no matter how good or bad your initial “lot in life” is, and no matter what you make of oppressive or advantageous conditions, you will die. Also, no one dies gracefully; even well loved happy people who lead good lives shit and piss themselves when they’ve got to go. Every game of tetris ends gracelessly, and more importantly, every game of tetris ends. There are exceptions to this rule, but I feel that they rob the player of the authentic tetris experience. I admit that there are many different versions of tetris made by all kinds of people, but back where I come from, tetris goes on indefinitely and you play for as long as you can as well as you can. But no matter what, when those pieces move faster than you can handle, you will die. I’ve found that those who disagree with this reading of tetris also disagree with the idea that tetris’ simplicity lends itself to greater, not less, creativity. I also feel that these people have an overall immature understanding of the game and/or don’t really give a shit about tetris. Or maybe they just never really thought of it that deep.

            Also, if you look closely, the very last piece to appear in the “coming next” box is a normal regular “T” piece, because every time you get a bunch of crap you really don’t need that leads you to die, the next piece is the exact perfect thing that’s exactly one step too late. I’m not saying that this happens in every game, but if it’s ever happened to you, you probably still remember it. It’s tragic, I know.

            I got the individual 1-1 (one by one) legos from Max Pacheco. He gave me a whole set of just 1-1’s of different colours for Christmas with two see-through flat panel bases. The set kind of reminded me of a light bright, if anyone out there still remembers what those are. One guy who I’m sure remembers is the man I had do my music for me, Neil Cicierega. Neil arranged the music based on one of the three songs that came with original tetris for the old school eight bit famacon version that I played growing up. He found a midi file and added a couple of dozen layers to each level, each one a little faster and a little more complex. This went along well with the fact that I changed the colours for each of the seven pieces and I captured fewer and fewer frames per second so each level went faster. This also meant that it took me four times as long to animate level four as it did for level one, and that’s why level one takes a while and level four goes by wicked quickly. I couldn’t have finished the project without both Neil and Max, and so I gave them both lego credits, because everyone, no matter how big or small, likes to see their name up there in legos someday.

            I do have plans for more stop motion projects, including both another mostly lego thing and a paper 2-D thing I’m working on with Spencer Hensel. Seeing as my top four most viewed and my top five most discussed are entirely stop motion animations, I think I’m going to keep making them. Anywho, until next time, hope yall enjoy!

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