Blog Post 5 – Posters
The in-game posters are a form of foreshadowing, used to subtly hint at the sinister and dark undertones of the narrative before the players have a chance to witness them. In our game, the big reveal happens during the events on both sides of the wall, here the players experience segregation and hatred toward the other side. However, before this point in the game, the player is witness to a playful and pleasant celebration, celebrating the anniversary of the wall’s creation. Although the introduction of the game makes players aware of this, it does not touch upon, in detail how spiteful each side is to the other. The posters, therefore, help build the world and make the scene believable, whilst simultaneously creating more questions left for the player to seek answers for.
Before delving into my poster designs, I decided to look into famous propaganda posters that cropped up through history. Primarily my study revolved around WW2 propaganda, as during this period there was a lot of vivid and creative imagery used to display the opposing sides both in films and posters. Nazi propaganda often displayed the Jewish population with large exaggerated physical characteristics, such as large noses, and also showed the group hunched over and in menacing poses. The Americans also used propaganda displaying the Japanese army with exaggerated physical characteristics, such as thin eyes or large teeth. Through creating stereotypes and playing to the fears many had at the time, propaganda was successfully used to try and dehumanise the enemy, and rally and strengthen nationalism and patriotism. However, propaganda was also used to show strength. Posters would often try to illustrate the bravery, courage and strength of a country’s own nation, by showing armed troops and leaders as bold and strong individuals. This research gave me a rough idea for how I wanted to move forward, I wanted some of the posters to degrade the other side through creating stereotypes and fear, whilst other posters should present the side of the wall that the people are on as a perfect place to live, inhabited by strong and powerful individuals. Below you can find WW2 propaganda which inspired me. On the left is Rosie the Riveter, a well-known poster used to show strength and build nationalism, whilst on the right is an example of a poster used to grow stereotypes and spur hatred for the Japanese.
Through reading through the script written by my teammate, I was able to find more ideas that I could build off of. During the mayor’s speeches they describe the people living on the other side of the wall. Mayor Faubus, from the Jazz side of the wall, describes those living on the Blues side of the wall as “blue devils”. Mayor Wallace, from the Blues side of the wall, describes those living on the Jazz side, as beasts which jump on their backs and beat them down. As these descriptions of each side were already in the game, I decided to use them in the design of the posters to create continuity within the game world. The Jazz posters show those on the blues side of the wall as “Blue devils”. I drew these characters as thin, deathly creatures, hunched over in scheming poses. This imagery was used to stereotype those on the Blues side as evil, plotting people. For the Blues posters, I wanted the depiction of people on the Jazz side of the wall to be obscured and hidden, so I only showed parts of their characters. In one poster a hand looms over the wall and balances over the head of a child of from the Blues side [see below]. This poster is designed as propaganda, used to show how cruel and malicious those of the Jazz can be, as they are shown plotting against even the most innocent people on the Blues side. In another poster, the people from the Jazz side are shown hidden, with only their beast-like eyes shining in the shadows [see below]. By showing selective parts of the Jazz people’s characteristics, this builds a growing fear within the mind of those looking at the poster. By building on the idea that fear is found in the unknown, I designed these posters to allow the reader to imagine something worse than what really exists.
In total, these posters were designed to feel realistic in the world they reside in. They were designed based around ww2 propaganda, as well as techniques used to create fear. Although the player themselves may understand that the posters are not accurate depictions of the other side, as they themselves get to play on both sides of the wall, it is still designed to feel representative of the views of the characters in-game, and the hatred they have of one another. Sure, the players know that the stereotypes shown in the posters are not true or accurate, but the posters still serve to build the world’s lore and atmosphere, whilst expressing the important themes of the game of segregation, hatred and fear
- Adam Watts