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Award Winning Short Film Shows the Power of Zelda and Escapism

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Sad but brilliant

If there's one thing that video games very rarely do, if ever, it's to remind us of our everyday lives. While reading books, watching TV and more serve as a source of rest from our day-to-day existence, one of the game medium's strengths, that makes gamers love their hobby with such a passion, is the ability of some titles to truly immerse them in a fantastical experience; they're worlds that we can influence, dictate and affect through our actions. There are many reasons we play games, but we'd wager that escapism is one of the most important.

Not all games do that, of course, with some that are either just fun or challenging to play without necessarily absorbing us into their fictional world. The Legend of Zelda, however, is a series that does immerse many gamers, with fantasy and adventure so memorable that a new title in the franchise is still one of the biggest highlights on a Nintendo system. Mario may be where the money is, but The Legend of Zelda arguably excites like no other.

It's no surprise, then, that it features in a short film called Escape, written and directed by Kennedy J. Baruch and winner of the student shorts competition at the 2012 Asian Film Festival of Dallas. In this case a young girl called Danni enjoys the fantasy of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on GameCube. The strength of this film is in the context, however, as Danni is shown to be struggling at school with no friends and then going back to a breaking home, with the consistent background noise of arguing parents. It's a touching portrayal of a lonely and difficult childhood and the escapism that a video game offers.

We must warn that this video tackles difficult themes such as psychological bullying, and also includes some swearing and one brief moment of simulated violence in the home. That said, with an emotive performance from the lead actress, Bella Porter, this is a high-quality short film that's worth watching.

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User Comments (27)



Nintex said:

That was a really great shortfilm. I really feel sad for the little girl.



-Crystalline- said:

Wish I could've helped the girl through all her sadness The video was great and really represents the impact video-games have on our lives. Loved it.



Smitherenez said:

The sad thing is that it really happens... I used video games to escape from reality when I was younger. I got bullied al lot when I was a kid.
It is also one of the reasons I started to make Let's Plays recently; To share my experiences in this 'other reality', improve my english and above all: To work on my social skills and share my opinion. I am a shy person, but since I am doing it, I am a lot less shy. (I even dared to ask a girl out, because of that bit of extra confidence)



bezerker99 said:

If only her name was Carrie and she possessed telekinetic powers, she could totally get her revenge on these bullies! >:[



Wonder_Ideal said:

That was a powerful and well-made short film. It's sad to see a movie like that, and worse when you know it occurs in real life. Twilight Princess was an excellent choice for an escape.



BenAV said:

If someone smashed my Gamecube on the ground, look out...

Most of my high school years were spent playing video games, with very little study (or even attending) in between.
Luckily for me though I was usually able to fluke top marks without learning any of the material so it never caused any issues.



doctor_doak said:

Great film.. I think its something many kids can relate to. You don't expect that sort of psychological abuse to continue happening to you as an adult, but often it seems as though it does. There's basically a lot of horrible people in this world it seems unfortunately..



BlatantlyHeroic said:

The main problem seems to be the mother. She's abusive, and yells at everyone. The father didn't seem to raise his voice much, but her mother, she was freaking out of control. People like that deserve to die, by a horrible disease.



FonistofCruxis said:

That was a sad but very well-made short film and it does a good job of showing how important video games can be in some people's lives. Some video games have really helped me get through some hard times.



Gamesake said:

I cried at the part where the GameCube got smashed. "Why couldn't she have smashed the PS2 instead?"



ThreadShadow said:

She's a cute Link.

1. No one should be abused, be it by peers or relatives etc.
2. Children should do well in school and do their homework, and help out with chores.
3. Everyone should have time for recreation.

Having said that. Watching this video, at times I think it could also be called "Addiction", or "Obsession" just as easily as "Escapism". Her schoolwork/grades are suffering because of her "obsession", so to speak.

Nothing is sweeter then playing a game after the homework and chores have been done for the day. It's a great feeling, instead of the limp feeling of putting chores and homework off to play.
The mother was completely out of control, but Danni could have saved herself and her mother some grief by getting the homework done, doing the dishes to help take that stress off the family.

I'm not standing up for abusive parents, but lets face it, it's not easy being a mother or a father. Children need to be part of the family circle too instead of just waiting to get away. That's how you grow love. And pretty soon you don't need as much "escapism' as you did. But it certainly isn't easy being a child in that kind of environment.

I can relate to the need to escape, and I can relate to (a "sane" level) of frustration towards someone whose life is take up with an obsession with electronic devices. But abuse and tantrums and yelling isn't the answer. Neither is killing bullies or parents the answer.



doctor_doak said:


It isn't obsession. Kids who are being emotionally and physically abused struggle at school because they are depressed, it's got nothing to do with work ethic or aptitude. I think you're misinterpreting how child abuse works. At what stage was anything resembling a normal functioning 'family' displayed in that video??

She's a young kid, and these sort of scenes have been played out endlessly throughout human existence. The parents are 100% responsible for her disinterest in school. If you can't handle the financial and emotional challenge that is associated with raising children....then... shock horror......don't have kids. Use contraception. It's pretty simple.

Children are never given the option of whether or not they want to be brought into the world. They should not have to be brought into such dysfunction through no fault of their own.



Xilef said:

Powerful stuff indeed. It's horrible these things actually happen.



Kirk said:


The thing is, she wasn't getting bad grades because she was obsessed or addicted to playing games. She was getting bad grades because she was quickly filling in the answers to get away from her fighting parents. She played the games to escape that situation.

The parents are the cause. The games are the escape. Sorting the parents out is the cure.

Make sense?



FantasiaWHT said:

Anybody else notice that she writes right-handed, but swings her sword left-handed, Link style? Nice attention to detail.

Great film. I thought the video game parts came across as hokey, though. I understand that the filmmaker is trying to juxtapose the girl's harsh and bitter reality with the fun fantasy of video games, but he could have done that better with many other video games. Twilight Princess is an unusually dark and moody Zelda game.



CyberNature said:

Hey, at least her mother cared enough to make her daughter do her homework (and do it right) when she found that F, even if her parenting methods were a I come from a broken home too, and my parents didn't give a crap what I did. I could have dropped out of school altogether and they wouldn't have given a damn. It's a miracle I turned out alright. I was always a good kid at heart so I chose to do the right thing, even without their support.



BlatantlyHeroic said:

@FantasiaWHT: Actually, it's not "unusual" for a Zelda game to be dark and moody, and Twilight Princess is, after all, what happens after Majora's Mask. (Even if it was a century after it, the Hero's Shade is in fact The MM/OoT Link.)



Lisalisaporter said:

Dear Mr. Whitehead,
I am Bella Porter's Mom and I just wanted to thank you for the very generous and kind compliment regarding her performance. She is very aware of the issues protrayed in the film and is determined to encourage her peers to support others in her own school. Thank you for pointing out the value in such a message.

That was a lovely post - made our family's day Lisa Porter



smashbrolink said:

I'm going to make the effort to ensure that my own future children never have to use gaming as an escape from me and my future wife.
If anything, I'll make sure that gaming becomes a family thing for everyone to enjoy together regardless of what we're playing.

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