Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Three ways of looking at the Broken Leg TD from Madden

This video gained over five million views on Youtube. The player in question, Greg Jennings, happens to be a clutch receiver in real life and went on to catch two touchdowns in Superbowl XLV. But he's probably best known for (sort of) appearing in this video.

(Audio probably NSFW, depending on your W)

How shall we think about this video?

1. It's an example of emergent narrative, whereby the complexity of the game yields unscripted moments of drama and wonder worth sharing. A similar example would be after-action reports, or the tale of the Elven king of dwarves found in one particularly odd game of Dwarf Fortress.

2. It's the video game equivalent of Double Rainbow, where we are as much drawn to the commentator's religious intensity as we are to the subject matter itself. Except in the case of Greg Jennings, it's frightfully postmodern, because it's not the majesty of nature the commentator is holy-ghosting about, it's the determination and will of a figure in a simulation.

3. It's an example of convergence culture: The video game spawns a video, which was referenced by teammates and opponents in the real game. Now we've just learned that "Put Da Team on My Back" is going to be an achievement in Madden '12. Everything flows into everything else.

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