Monday, March 2, 2009

Printing Out Screenshots

Here's kind of a weird little random side thought I had the other day that resurfaced earlier when tagged for the Sixth Screenshot thing: How crazy would it be if we actually PRINTED OUT screenshots of the games we play, and like, kept them in an album? How creepy would that be? Pretty creepy? Not very creepy at all? I guess it depends on who's the person judging the 'creep level'.

I hereby submit that the creep level is officially zero, and that the 'cool' level should instead make an appearance.

When you think about it, I have random photos of me and an ex girlfriend in Italy (married with a kid now to someone totally different), but throwing away pictures seems to be pretty counter intuitive to taking pictures in the first place. The point of taking a photo is to remember something. Capture that moment in time. Eventually our memories grow faded, but is there something about a photograph can make us recall that moment more perfectly? To be honest, there are a few photos I have of my youth, but when I look at them, I remember the PHOTO itself, and not what I was thinking or saying when it was taken.

And I cannot remember
What life was like through photographs
Trying to recreate images life gives us from our past

And sometimes it's a sad song...

On the flipside, I also have a screenshot of the chat window from the most legendary UBRS pug ever, where my friends and I dressed up in vendor bought greys, and basically just wiped over and over and behaved like jackasses the entire time. That run took all night, much to the dismay of those in the PUG we joined, and we were laughing so hard we couldn't breathe or talk on vent. I'll never have a photo of that day, but the screenshot of the chatlog, and one of the mage and priest wearing matching level 35 grey robes and hats is priceless. How weird would it be to print that up and hang it on the wall? It's a great memory, and has an equally awesome story to go along with it. Something infinitely more exciting than "Yeah, that's my ex. We broke up. We're in Venice, I think, in that photo..."

Some screenshots can even tell a story of their own, much moreso than most pictures can do.

Take the following two examples (click for larger verisons):

-- vs. --

The first is a picture of an old van that I saw while driving around right after I bought some fancy new camera. Japan is littered with abandoned vehicles (it costs a lot to dispose of them, so they just rust away), but while the photo itself is interesting, it doesn't really say much. The second one is me finally winning the DST on my rogue. The initial roll of 96 even has people congratulating the first roller, and I can imagine him in his house pumping his fist like OH YEAH, BABY, then along comes my rogue and fucking PWNS him in the face with a full 100. Minor photoshopping of the red text isn't even really necessary, but highlights the story that much more. Obviously someone who never played WoW would just "huh" and keep walking, but anyone raiding in BC would smile knowingly at my good fortune.

In the same vein, I guess the reverse could apply as well:

-- vs. --

The first one is an awesome photo I took at the Gorilla Bar in Okayama during the halloween party of 2007. These two random chicks were making out in the men's room (and honestly, I think they were doing it more for the sake of putting on a show than any uncontrollable desire for one another), and I happened to take a picture just as the one was totally spilling her drink on the other. Even without an explanation, the picture stands on its own as an interesting conversation piece ;). The picture of my priest on the flying carpet (woohoo! tailor crafted flying mount! uh... zzz) is HARDLY as interesting.

I think the point I'm trying to make is that both forms are equally valid, and both are equally effective as documenting our time spent during our lives. If we travel the world, and take no photos, it seems kind of a waste. Similarly, we've all traveled to MULTIPLE worlds, but don't document our travels as extensively. The amount of loss we feel if an HD dies and we lose our screenshots folder is for some reason not as important compared to if we lost summer vacation photos (no matter how mundane). That, to me, seems wrong.

Back up those screenshot folders! Print one out, frame it, and hang it on the wall proudly. We're gamers, dammit, and have seen more interesting things than many of the noobs we surround ourselves with!



Anonymous said...

When my hard drives died I lost 4 years worth of screenshots. I had "99.6% into Warlord" and the screen of the spinning thunderfury falling into the sand as we dropped thunderaan in silithus. First kill of each boss. I also lost about 15gb of photos from Baghdad.

I know i'll miss those photos, but I've never backed up data because i'm generally not sentimental about anything. I really wish I still had the warlord photo though, cause my mouse was highlighting the fact that I had 86 dishonorable kills from the night before and my ex-gf had fucked me out of 5 months of work.

Larísa said...

I lost all my screenshots in my PC crash recently. Not that I'm much of a screenshoter, but there were a few... It's sad. I still have a few left, the ones I've published on my blog, but they can be counted on my fingers.

I think that my blogging helps me a bit to get screenshots in my head. When I write about things I remember them better afterwards. But still, it would have been nice if I still had the jpg image...
I hope I learn the lesson and take some backups from now on.

Cronoo said...

I actually have done this and felt like a total nerd for it.
But when I got full t1 on my Rogue I printed out a picture and hung it up in my room. It was a proud moment for me and wanted to commemorate the event.
I really do need to back up my screen-shot folder...the near 4k screnshots I've taken since 2004 all getting lost would leave such a void in my heart Q_Q

Hatch said...

YOU ROLLED A 100 ON DST?!?! I officially hate you.

I still keep mine in my bags in memoriam of all the Gruul runs I had to drag myself through to get it. How does that do on the creepy<--->cool scale in comparison to RL keepsakes?

Anonymous said...

Heh, I've thought about the fun a screenshot scrapbook might be... glad to see I'm not alone! :)

Anonymous said...


I have a screenshot of my hunter, chilling in undercity with my trusty white cat. Framed. at the time I took it, I just started gearing her up with Kara epics and I barely just scratched the surface of raiding, theorycrafting and WoW community.

by itself, that screenshot is nothing special. what makes it special though is the fact that my hunter was named after a fictional character and the screenshot is signed by the author of the book, above character comes from.

its just a simple wow portrait. but when I look at it, I remember my journey from someone mediocre but willing to learn to the raider I am right now, it reminds we of all the people I was just meeting at the time, people that I talk to and laugh and play with to this day. And it reminds me of how much fun I had, standing inline with other book fans, waiting to get our books etc signed and when I took a deep breath and showed them what is it that I wanted signed - I remeber how supportive they were.

I think that it doesn't matter what we choose to be the landmarks of our memories. it doesn't matter if those memories are of a trip cross country or across imaginary world. one thing is not cooler then the other. what truly matters is how we feel when we look at our snapshots.

Anonymous said...

I hate to sound like a nerd, but once I am done with WoW, I intend to get a photo album printed with my screen shots in it.

I have already spent 3 years playing this game, most nights of the week. That's a damn good reason for wanting to remember it in the future.