We Become What We Behold is, in developer Nicky Case’s own words, “a game about news cycles, vicious cycles, infinite cycles”. In this game, your job is to take pictures of whatever is happening on the screen. The game then changes accordingly, pulling you into an ongoing conflict.
Tasks to complete before playing the game:
- What news media do you use on a daily basis? Make a list.
- Expressions such as “fake news”, “alternative facts”, and “mainstream media” have made it into our vocabulary. How do you understand these expressions? Try to explain them - in writing - to someone who is unfamiliar with them.
Play the game:
"We Become What We Behold" was developed by Nicky Case in 2019. Click here to play the game: We Become What We Behold.
Complete these tasks after playing the game:
- What happened to trigger the conflict between the squares and the circles?
Following each picture you take, what is the role of the short “jingle”? And where would you expect to hear it outside of the game? You can listen to it again here:
- The quote “We shape our tools, and then our tools shape us” is often attributed to Canadian professor Marshall Mcluhan. How is this quote relevant to what you just experienced playing the game, and to the game’s title?
- Is it possible to change the outcome of this game? If yes, how?
Additional task/further reading:
- Use the quote “We shape our tools, and then our tools shape us” by Marshall Mcluhan as a starting point for a text in which you discuss media influence today.
- Read about the Norwegian whaling industry in the paragraphs below, representing both Norwegian and international news media, as well as an online petition. Try to find similarities and differences in how the whaling industry is described. Write a report in which you explain your findings. Remember to assess your sources critically.
One Green Planet
"In Norway, the hunting of minke whales is mostly for consumption. The demand for whale meat has declined, but they continue to hunt on a large scale. Fewer than 5% of Norwegians (mostly elderly people) still eat whale meat regularly. The way the whales are slaughtered is also gruesome, as if it weren’t bad enough that they were being killed. Seamen often butcher “prime” cuts of meat from the whale’s body and toss the rest of the carcass overboard as if it were trash."
The Daily Mail Online
"The whale is shot with a 'cannon' with an in-built grenade, to kill the whale instantly on impact, and harpoon to reel it into the boat. [...] It takes three men to haul the male whale onto the cooling palettes, where it is then stripped of its blubber, gutted and carved up for meat, with unwanted parts discarded back into the sea."
News in English.no
"The fisheries policy spokesman for Norway’s Progress Party, which holds political control of the state fisheries ministry, is calling for more whale- and seal hunting. Bengt Rune Strifeldt claims that Norway must harvest “the entire food chain in the seas,” even though a new survey shows a major decline in
Vega, S. (2020). Petition: Pregnant Whales in Norway are Slaughtered for Commercial Whaling. Retrieved from: https://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/petition-pregnant-whales-in-norway-are-slaughtered-for-commercial-whaling/ consumption of whale meat."
Richardson, H. (22.01.20.). Stacey Dooley watches a minke whale shot with a grenade. Retrieved from: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-7915683/Shocking-moment-minke-whale-shot-GRENADE-new-Stacey-Dooley-documentary.html
Berglund, N. (15.10.19). 'Shoot more whales' despite low demand. Retrieved from: https://www.newsinenglish.no/2019/10/15/shoot-more-whales-despite-low-demand/