Vidhoppers Story 1: “Constructing a Gateway”

↓ Transcript
(establishing shot of a Thriftway donation center's entrance)
Chase, Maritza, and Vinnie are:
(Constructing a Gateway)

INSET: Chase Locklear (They/Them, Sparrow, Indie Dev)
CHASE: "Holy WOW! Maritza, check this out!"

MARITZA: "What, what is it?"
CHASE: (showing a retail game box to Maritza) "Tambourine Hit Blast, of course! The smash hit music game, now playable in your living room!"

"And I think it's the same copy we saw at Fred Meyer a few years ago!"
MARITZA: "Oh whoa, that's a familiar price tag!
So what the hell's it doing here?"

CHASE: "No idea. It probably went unsold for years at some other retailer before it showed up here.
$39.95, new, in-box, with webcam and controller...

(CHASE triumphantly smacks their fist into an open palm.)
"Yes, I'll do it!
I WILL treat myself!"

INSET: Maritza Garcia-Juarez (She/Her, Gray Seal, Writer)
MARITZA: "I think we have multiple PS2s around the house, but you're probably gonna also need to pick up an old TV* if you want this game to work right.
Not that I mind, a setup like that sounds like it'd be handy."
CAPTION: "*Rhythm games that predate widespread HDTV use lack input lag calibration options often seen in modern titles. Modern TVs are higher-fidelity, but less responsive. -tarah"

CHASE: (thinking) "Yikes, that's a space requirement.
OK, I'm visualizing a 22-inch CRT somewhere in my bedroom..."

"...And I find the idea surprisingly plausible!"
MARITZA: "Aw, how delightfully retro!"
CHASE: "Yeah! Good thing we're at a thrift store!"

(establishing shot of a two-story suburban home)
CAPTION: "One failed customer service interaction, then trip to eBay and multi-day shipping wait later:"

VINNIE: (walking into room, unbuttoning overshirt) "What the heck?"
CHASE: "Ah, Vinnie!"

(CHASE shows off a CRT television next to a Playstation 2, with a strange controller and webcam wired up to it. This whole setup is on a coffee table in front of a much larger flatscreen TV that's powered off.)
CHASE: "'Twas overall a bargain!"
VINNIE: "Yeah, but what actually is it, though?"
MARITZA: "A relic from the game industry's retail era."

INSET: "Vinnie O'Shea, he/him, bullfrog, part-time streamer"
VINNIE: "Oh jeez, you're not kidding.
Back at GameStop these boxes would haunt us.
Nobody bought them for over a year!

I know its arcade following in Japan is legendary, but I still had the impression it was for little kids."
CHASE: (looking at game case) "Tell THAT to the song list, which features hot hits like Kool & The Gang, 'Hollywood Swinging'..."

"...'Genie in a Bottle', a late '90s favorite...
...the US theme song to 'Digimon Adventure', and..."

"...the always-radiant 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star!'"
MARITZA: "Who's doing that one first? I vote me."

(diagram featuring a variety of items, described here:)
CAPTIONS: "Each retail copy of Tambourine Hit Blast comes with:
- A HitMaster controller with 3 meters of wire
- A handsome DVD case, with manual clips and memory card holder
- A PlayStation 2 game disc
- A 240p USB camera
- A 24-page manual, with console startup instructions and Notes pages
- A collectible outer cardboard/plastic box
- An enchanting inner cardboard sculpture"

(CHASE is at the ready in front of the TV, holding the controller and pressing buttons on it.)
VINNIE: "I could probably dig up an S-Video connector."
CHASE: "What, is hypothetical 15-years-ago me made of money?"

(CHASE is attentively tapping and shaking the controller.)
SFX: "What's Up", as made famous by 4 Non Blondes
CAPTION: "The controller can detect whether it's being tapped or shaken. 2-player is possible, but requires lots of space and an extra controller (not sold separately in the USA.)"

(CHASE is miming the tambourine hitting motion, VINNIE looks mildly perplexed.)
CHASE: "Like this."
VINNIE: "OK, I should restart."
SFX: "Shining Star", as made famous by Earth, Wind, & Fire
CAPTION: "The webcam also detects whether the controller's facing left or right. It's easy to get self-conscious playing it, but once I shut my blinds I had no issues getting into the groove."

(MARITZA is tapping and shaking the controller frantically, a possessed look in her eyes. CHASE looks hesitant.)
CHASE: "Uh,"
SFX: "In the Hall of the Mountain King, as composed by Edvard Grieg
CAPTION: "The song list is definitely a mixed bag, but if your mom won't buy you the new GTA, there's plenty of depth and harmless fun for kids and rhythm diehards alike."

(CHASE is tapping and shaking with a determined energy while MARITZA watches, bemused, and VINNIE records a video using his phone)
MARITZA: "This is like the 'Cookie & Cream' of music."
SFX: "Light and Day", by The Polyphonic Spree
CAPTION: "Graphics - 2.5, Sound - 5.0, Control - 4.5, Fun Factor - 3.5, Reviewer's Tilt - 1.0; -Ruben, GamePunks #147"

CHASE: "Alright, that sounds like a good stopping point!
So, whaddaya think?"

VINNIE: (looking at controller in CHASE's hand) "I'm surprised at how little it actually tracks."
CHASE: "Yeah, I think it's just relative position and velocity."
VINNIE: "You think it'd be possible to play it sitting down?"

CHASE: "I'm sure you could! And I think that versatility lends you the ability to improvise.
On higher difficulties, practice can put you in the 'zone' where hard patterns become muscle-memory to you..."

(CHASE poses with one arm behind their back)
CHASE: "...and when THAT happens, you can accentuate your playstyle with gusto!"

(miming laughter at controller) "Flair!"

(shaking tambourine controller in fully-outstretched arm) "Charisma!"

(VINNIE remarks while CHASE embraces the controller with both hands)
VINNIE: "Oh, you mean 'moxie'."
CHASE: "Precisely!"

CHASE: "The point is, there are layers to the amount of enjoyment you can get out of a game like this.
Like, sure, it's fun by yourself just to move your body and listen to music..."

"...but playing well can also inspire a genuine feeling of measurable skill improvement!
If I fire this up routinely, and practice the songs in this, and the Japan-only installments..."

(CHASE, eyes closed, briefly appears in a slightly cooler outfit)
"...I shall become a true master of the modern tambourine."

MARITZA: (looking up from her phone) "I love that you're so into this."
CHASE: (back in their usual tank top and shorts) "Even though it's a fantasy, and an actual tambourineist would obliterate me completely?"

MARITZA: (looking back at phone) "My videogame fantasies cast me as a sword-wielding mercenary. Do what you want."
CHASE: "I wouldn't count you out, but I'll take the approval regardless."

CHASE: (looking with surprise at a spot on their arm where a watch would normally be, but isn't) "In any event, I've got a meeting early tomorrow -- I should turn in.
I'll get started hauling this setup into my room."

MARITZA: (getting up from couch) "Dibs on carrying the TV."
CHASE: "Hell yeah, flex those guns!"

CHASE: (to VINNIE, who's already left the room) "Vinnie, tonight was novel but I actually will need that S-Video cable ASAP please I'm begging you."
VINNIE: "Oh! Uh, sure thing."

CAPTION: "And so..."
(CHASE stands in the doorway to their bedroom, looking down at the coffee table setup from earlier haphazardly placed on a table where their printer used to be)

(A shirtless CHASE steps into bed)

(they look at the setup offscreen)

(they roll over and fall asleep, creating a thought balloon...)

( which their fantasy version is hitting a tambourine to accompany a live band of cartoon characters, in an energetic display of the fantasy created by their work; flamingos, sunflowers, rainbows, and balloons blossom and fly in the background)