Oct 102011
Authors: Jeff Geiger

Over the past few years, I’ve been delving into all sorts of new media that I never thought I would enjoy. I’ve always kept an open mind and been eager to try new things, especially when it comes to food. But I find it interesting how one product can introduce another, and then that product introduces even more.

You start to spiral down the rabbit hole, and next thing you know, instead of just enjoying wine, you have your own thousand-acre vineyard. OK, well, maybe it doesn’t get that extreme, but you get the idea.

My experience with this phenomena all started with a first-person-shooter game called “Bioshock.”

It’s a fantastic video game with a stellar story; however, I’m not here to praise it. “Bioshock” is set in an underwater city in the ‘40s. So, naturally, the beautiful art deco architecture reflects the era.

Besides the appealing visuals, the developers included great auditory media. And it is wonderful.

Listening to Django Reinhardt’s “Beyond the Sea” and Billie Holiday’s “Night and Day” while wandering around an underwater playground is an experience like none other.

I got the soundtrack as soon as I could, along with Reinhardt’s greatest work. A video game turned me on to this whole genre that I never knew I would enjoy so much. I created a jazz playlist on Pandora and Spotify. I bought the soundtrack to “Mad Men,” not just because it’s a great show, but because it features great works of that era. I listen to jazz when I write and read. I listen to it in the car. I listen to it when I cook. I started playing “Bioshock” expecting fun gameplay, yet I came out with so much more.

The game also introduced me to other things besides music. The plot of “Bioshock” is heavily influenced by Ayn Rand’s philosophy. After completing the game, I wanted to know more. Without getting into a heated political or philosophical debate, I’ll just say that reading “The Fountainhead” was extremely thought-provoking. This one video game opened my eyes to other media that I would have never considered before.

“Bioshock” isn’t the only video game to do this. When I played “Brutal Legend,” my ears were graced with shred-tastic classical metal. Suddenly, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath were in my iTunes alongside Reinhardt.

It doesn’t always have to be music, art or themes. It can simply be trying out a different genre. The video game “Dead Space” showed me that horror titles aren’t just cheap thrills. They can have really fun game play and an interesting plot. It becomes even more enjoyable when you play alone in the dark with the volume cranked up.

I’m sharing these experiences with you because I have a simple mission for you readers out there.

Pick up a book of a genre or author you’ve never read. See a movie you didn’t plan to watch. Eat at a restaurant with cultural cuisine. Tune the radio to a random station. Flip to a different television channel, and enjoy some other prime-time show. Last, but certainly not least, pop in a disc of a video game that you might have otherwise not played. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you’ll discover.

Jeff Geiger is a sophomore journalism major.

 Posted by at 4:41 pm

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