Back in college I made a few E3 game trailer mashup videos. It wasn’t very technically challenging, just good practice and a bit of fun picking my favorite moments and preserving them to some music. I dropped it after 2006 because the work was getting to be too much for the fun it was offering.
It felt like it was going to be fun to do one this year, with this generation of consoles hitting their stride and some updated consoles on the horizon.
Then the Pulse nightclub shooting happened, literally hours before the video game festivities were going to begin.
When I first heard about the shooting, it was a little shake of my head and a sigh before going back to whatever else was going on that morning. It didn’t even phase me. America, at it again. As the details, horror, and magnitude of the situation filtered in, it started to rip at me. It transformed the weeks to come, living in and working in Orlando. Even the digital highway signs read “#OrlandoUnited” around town. It was simultaneously a sense of dread and a strange affirmation.
E3 wasn’t the same after. How do you demo a dance club gunfight after something like that? Almost every presser started with a moment of silence or acknowledgement that the industry stood with the victims and LGBT fans. Almost every presenter wore a rainbow ribbon on their lapels to show their support. It felt a bit like insurance from backlash at the violence they would focus on in their games, but it felt mostly genuine. E3 was fantastic this year.
I have tried for the last few months to find a way to mash these two events together into some meaningful, touching video. E3 means so much to me; the shooting left me feeling numb. Was there some crossover here? Something to say about glorifying gun violence, or escapism, or the way games model anger and comfort? I picked a song, sliced it in Premiere, collected clips from YouTube of news coverage, game trailers, anti-gay propaganda, and threw it all together, repeatedly, hoping I could get it to stick.
It never did. I spent too many nights at work trying to make it work (including tonight), trying to say something. I’m admitting defeat tonight. All the clips and the project files are in the trash now. But it hurts so much to walk away from something like this where I needed to say something. So here I am, saying a few things.
The song I had selected was If This is The End by Greek Fire. It was written to raise money for their drummer’s sudden cancer diagnosis. Give it a listen; buy it somewhere if you can afford it.
The basic themes I was striving for included “games help us work through emotions with modeled but alterable realities” and “individuals who dehumanized LGBT folks didn’t cause this event, but they certainly cultivated a culture that made it more likely to happen”.
The 2016 election is closing soon and the issues at stake in this tragedy don’t seem to be factoring in much. No changes in laws were passed. Pulse is a fleeting memory to the electorate, but that isn’t a total loss; better to forget terrorism than offer it any legitimacy or any additional opportunity to negatively impact lives.
Despite this, I’m hopeful we’ll make some progress on gun control in the coming years, specifically in purchasing, licensing, and assault weapons. It won’t solve everything, but that isn’t a reason to not solve anything.
The OneOrlando Fund was thoroughly supported, thankfully. You can still donate here.
I’ll close with a video I stumbled across that probably does a better job of inspiring positivity than mine ever would have. The Parliament House bit always gets me.
Be nicer to people. Try to understand people before judging them. And then try again. Assume the best in people. And I’ll let you know when I can do any of that half as well as I should.