Re-M*A*S*H-ed Game Cover

I’d noticed Jim Groom tweeting various bits of trivia about Atari game systems over the past week or so and thought something must be up. Sure enough, he just created a new assignment called Remixed Game Covers. I got a kick of seeing what he did with the old Atari Bowling game box and the Big Lebowski for his first entry. As someone of an age to have vivid memories of wanting and eventually getting an Atari 2600, this assignment was an invitation to revisit ancient memories. Additionally, it seemed like it would be a pretty simple assignment to do as all it calls for is:

Take a video game cover and remix it to change up the meaning or play with the general idea of the game.

Jim mentioned he’d try to use an animate GIF in his next attempt so I immediately decided to try to beat him to the punch. I scrolled the hundreds of scanned boxes at the Atari Age site until  I found M*A*S*H. As this was a program that I watched for many years (at one point it was possible to see five episodes a day in rerun on the various cable channels – and I did) in junior and senior high. Then I jumped over to YouTube and found a clip of “Funny MASH Moments” set to Yakkety Sax.

Once the parts were collected, I used MPEG Stream Clip to grab the five frame sequence of Lt. Col. Blake with baton and Cpl. O’Reilly on drums. I opened the Atari Box image in GIMP and brought in the five frames as layers and begin trying to make the GIF. All I can recall now is that it took more than three hours and I nearly quit more than once.

My intention was to have the animated GIF replace the game graphic on the box while keeping the orange/yellow sticker in the bottom and the red and white diagonal bar in the bottom right. There was a problem because the space was too tall for the GIF. So after I erased all of the graphic, I duplicated the box layer and chopped the top and bottom of either layer and moved them closer together (basically cutting out the middle). Then I had to duplicate the box layer 5 times and merge it down on to each of the five MASH frames. The delay on each frame is 250 milliseconds. I’m not sure if this ideal but it seems to work.

In terms of a story, for me it is trying to imagine how such a game would play. Today was the first time I’d ever even heard of this game. It’s not something I’d have been interested back then even though I was huge MASH fan. I didn’t see the movie until many years later but something about the show worked for me. I suppose it was the general attitude of contempt for authority. My favorite character was Henry Blake which might explain why I selected the clip I did. Thinking about his final episode, Abyssinia, Henry, still chokes me up. It seemed such a tragic and senseless turn of the story line which ultimately, to me, was a powerful anti-war statement. I seem to be drifting into middle-aged nostalgia which nobody really wants or needs so I’ll wrap this one up. Just to close by saying that once again I find myself stunned with what I encountered during the several hours of working through this assignment.

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9 Responses to Re-M*A*S*H-ed Game Cover

  1. Great one Scott. I too was a sucker for the 2 hour daily M*A*S*H stream of programming. I try and wonder why the heck that show was so infectious as a teen. 80s nuclear fears calmed by a humorous/anti-establishment army doctor hero? STRETCHING…

  2. Jim Groom says:

    This is brilliantly executed in terms of laying the animated GIF behind the branding stickers and tags. I spent about two hours tonight playing with masking layers on GIMP and did a quick screencast tutorial here so that I could remember the steps for a more thorough tutorial I will write as I approach the animated Comic Book Cover with some temerity.
    Given all the work you have done is fresh, let me know if you have any tiops for me before I will be putting up the tutorial, the screencast link will be posted on my blog shortly as well. You rule.

    • lockmantuj says:

      Dude, I just watched your screen cast tutorial after I slogged my way through the MASH thing. I wish I’d have seen it first. Your screen cast presents it so clearly.

      Inititailly, what I tried to do was make a layer mask on the box for the video to show through (but actually wound up erasing). Then this was duplicated multiple times and merged atop each of the frame five frame layers.

  3. Pingback: Isolating Animation with Masked Layers in GIMP | bavatuesdays

  4. roundhouseslap says:

    Nice title. I see what you did there…

    It’s hard to imagine a game box art with motion, but it really works when you see it.

    I’m going to have to remember to Wiki the ending to M*A*S*H sometime. I never really followed it but I always saw it on television. When I was growing up it was that show on FOX that came on really late at night, after Cheers.

  5. lockmantuj says:

    The episode I”m talking about is not the series finally, but the 72nd epispode when Henry Blake was sent home from Korea. The episode title was Abyssinia, Henry and gets a pretty thorough write up at wikipedia.

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