The Evolution of Animation: From Entertainment to Business Videos

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Written by Sunny Arora

Some of our fondest childhood memories belong to those lazy Sunday mornings spent watching cartoons on TV. Whether it was the iconic tales of our favorite house cat, attempting to best his adversary in futile. or the carrot-chewing rabbit humoring us repeatedly with “Eh… What’s up, doc?”, animated pictures have always captured our imagination. It’s perhaps this curiosity and enthusiasm, which has led to so many dramatic changes in the animation industry, in such a short period of time.

Delve deeper and you’ll find animation technique is as old as storytelling and continues to captivate both home and business audience. In simple terms, the animation is art-in-motion, something the human beings discovered as early as the Paleolithic age.

Animation today is characterized by cartoon characters – in- motion, telling a story.

The history of animation technology showcasing moving art pieces and images changed over the years – we are now in a world when computer and internet technology helps create some terrific animated videos enjoyed by diverse assemblage. Let’s now fly back in time, relive the evolution of animation and also explore some of what’s yet to come.

The fascinating roots

People realized very quickly that pictures taken of a moving object could be flipped through in succession, to create the illusion of a motion picture. Did you know that a 5200-year-old pottery depicted a moving goat through a series of images?

Now take a look at the following image from an Egyptian mural showcasing a wrestling match through a series of images:

Image Sequence - Old Animation Technique

Could you guess that this mural is around 4000 years old? Another mesmerizing art form that closely resembles animation became popular in 18th century France – it was called shadowgraphy.  People actually told stories using hand drawn shadows – also called ‘cinema in silhouette’.

Shadowgraphy Animation

Stories were also being told with the help of the magic lantern (invented by Christiaan Huygens in (1659) used to project moving images.

Magic Lantern Projector - Early Animation

Let’s take a look at the timeline of animation history now:

The crude beginnings

The Phenakistoscope was the first real animation device. The device was discovered by Joseph Plateau in the year 1832.

Animated Optical Illusion

It was the first device that could create a fluid illusion of animation.

The celluloid shift (1888 – 1914)

The early animation films were crude, made with devices that were relatively simple and primitive. The first such system was called the Theatre Optique (invented by Émile Reynaud and patented in 1888). His series of animated films included Pauvre Pierrot and Autour d’une cabine. Each of his films contained 300-700 frames(painted images) to last 10-15 minutes.

Traditional animation technology (1914 – 1967)

In the traditional animation history, hand-drawn animation was created using Cel Animation. Cel was a transparent sheet consisting of cellulose nitrate and camphor, used to create hand-drawn objects. Characters were drawn on Cels and superimposed on common background images to reduce the number of frames and production times. Colonel Heeza Liar (1914) was the first animated cartoon series created using this animation technique. The production house was John Bray studios. Take a look:

Another popular animated film that was produced around this time was Gertie, The Dinosaur, created by Winsor McCay in 1914. This film was made using techniques such as keyframe, registration marks, and animation loops and is sometimes known as the oldest cartoon film.

After Gertie, it wasn’t until a young animator named Walt Disney came along, that we got to witness the next revolution in animation. Steamboat Willie was released in 1928 and it was the first animated film to include sound. Many consider this the first animated feature film but there were 7 films which were released before this. However, this was the first one completely made using hand-drawn animation technique.

The movie also marked the debut of the lovable Mickey Mouse..Following the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, animated films became a popular form of entertainment. The stories and the characters started getting widely recognized and remembered by everyone, everywhere on the globe.

Another animation technique that was commonly used in the traditional era was stop-motion animation. You must have observed the jerks in the movement of objects within film sequences of the era. These are caused because the technique is used to create a perception of movement in the object.

The Computer Revolution – Motion Graphic (1967- 1984)

Although the first few computer animated films were very basic, to say the least, it nevertheless changed the way animation was done.

Hummingbird (1967) was the first computer-generated animated film – it was made using 30,000 images and 25 motion sequences generated by a computer.

The frame by frame animation of 2D characters could now be done entirely on computers. Not only did it make the process less arduous, it gave graphic artists more control and they were able to produce content without the use of actors, expensive set pieces or props. One of the first 2D animated films in the history of 2D animation was Sword in The Stone, produced by Disney. Other popular Disney films of the era included the Jungle Book, Mary Poppins, and the Aristocrats.

The golden era of CGI (1984-2018)

The stop-motion technique was succeeded by what we call today as computer animation. Modern computer animation includes both 2D as well as 3D animated graphics which are then put in motion using either frame-by-frame or rigging technique. The technique ensured that films were created and rendered faster, also ensuring that animation was not just used to produce cinema and TV series but also for brand storytelling and web series.

Let us first look at CGI revolutionized cinema and entertainment and then understand how it impacted businesses:

Cinema and Entertainment

But where computers have really pushed the envelope is with the development of 3D animation. 3D models or characters were constructed on the computer monitor using geometrical shapes in a 3D coordinate system. Once a virtual skeleton of the character was complete, eyes, limbs and clothes were moved on to the frames and the animation was rendered. One of the first films to be produced using 3D Animation Computer Graphics in the history of 3d animation was The Adventures of Andre and Wally B by Pixar.

Pixar presented its ground-breaking form of entirely CGI-rendered animation with Toy Story in 1995. Using a complex system of model articulation and motion-control coding, Pixar was able to create characters with depth, charm, and personality.

Everything culminated with James Cameron’s two-decades-in-the-making masterpiece, Avatar. It used advanced CGI and motion capture techniques, requiring 2,000 Hewlett-Packard servers, sporting 35,000 processor cores and 104 terabytes of RAM, to render the film.

While animated films were being made using computers, the advent of internet technologies made the process of creating 2D and 3D animated videos simpler and faster.

Animated videos for Branded Video Content

Big Brands like Coke, Apple, Hubspot, and Dropbox have started making use of cartoon animated videos and motion graphics to tell their brand story. Animation has entered mainstream brand storytelling after the advent of the internet and related technologies.

Animation for brand storytelling can also be divided into two –

  • Traditional frame-by-frame and stop motion technique
  • Modern animation techniques that include motion graphics and 3D computer animation

In traditional animation, each frame is placed one after the other and there are about 24-29 frames per second.

Modern animation makes use of the rigging technique wherein you need to create only 2 frames for each sequence (the first frame and the last frame) – the computer program generates all the frames in between.

Traditional Frame-by-Frame and Stop Motion

At Broadcast2World we provide customized video animation services to help companies stand out from their competitors, and connect with their audience through visual stories.

Once such company that approached us for creating buzz for their brand was Electric Monkey. Electric Monkey is an energy drink and wanted to launch its product through a short cartoon video commercial. The client wanted to create a fun, electrifying video that helped spread awareness and brand recall for their product. In this case, we created a 2D character animated video using the frame-by-frame technique. Take a look:

You can read more about the process of making the short and snappy video that helped electric monkey grab audience attention.

Here is another artsy example of a 2D style animated video from Ford. It showcases a beautiful Father-Daughter relationship in a short story.

Modern 3D Animation and Motion Graphics

Winsupply is another notable example of how we helped a hardware brand create awareness through a story-driven cartoon animated video. Our client supplies hardware products and had created a platform to help consumers, firms, and contractors to buy and sell hardware online. Hardware is a low involvement category and an online platform would not find acceptance by consumers or business owners. Our primary challenge was to communicate the benefits of using the online platform to both B2B as well as a B2C audience. 

We created a cartoon character Buddy who would, in the story, benefit from the services of Winsupply – next we ensured that our story would appeal to both businesses as well as the direct consumer. You can read the full story of how we helped Winsupply over here.  This video was a 3D  character animation video made using a combination of frame-by-frame and rigging technique.

Another very common animation technique that’s being used by businesses today is motion graphic animation. It uses computer-generated graphics to create animated videos with sound and voice over. Such video designs may not be strictly cartoon character driven and can use diverse graphic types.  Here is an example of a motion graphic video we created for Blue Green Water Technologies:

Post-2018 – What’s Coming

AR/VR and 360 Degree Animated Videos

Brands and content producers are now creating animated videos using latest technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality and 360-degree video technology.  The technologies are highly experiential and help create immersive stories. As a brand, if you wish to grab consumer eyeballs and be a trendsetter, then you must not miss out on creating your brand stories using these technologies.

Take a look at this example of a 360-degree animated video from Gorillaz:

Animated Web Series

We are now living an in an era where web series is the most watched form of entertainment. Live action series like Game of Thrones, Jessica Jones and Queer Eye, and animated series such as Happy Tree Friends, Eddsworld, and Salad Fingers are what the masses are glued to.

Brands too are embracing the trend and creating entertaining animated series to please their audience and build a relationship with them. Starbucks recently created an animated web series called 1st and Main. It’s a fully animated video series that tells stories set inside a Starbucks outlet. The videos are short yet very adorable – take a look at one of the videos from the series:

Over to You

The story of animation is heartening indeed – from a series of images carved in stone to cutting edge VR tech delivering mind-blowing immersion experience. Cartoon animation does transform the viewer into another world – provoking a thousand different emotions every second.

From blockbuster cinema and TV shows of yesteryears to branded explainer videos and short format series, animation has made quite a few interesting strides and is truly unstoppable – the reason is, it’s deep roots in art and its inherent beauty that lures all types of audience in every period.

What do you think about the evolution of Animation? How do you think it impacts businesses or otherwise? Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section below.

Video game play may provide learning, health, social benefits, review finds

Playing video games, including violent shooter games, may boost children’s learning, health and social skills, according to a review of research in American Psychologist.

The study comes out as debate continues among psychologists and other health professionals regarding the effects of violent media on youth. An APA task force is conducting a comprehensive review of research on violence in video games and interactive media and will release its findings later this year.

“Important research has already been conducted for decades on the negative effects of gaming, including addiction, depression and aggression, and we are certainly not suggesting that this should be ignored,” says Isabela Granic, PhD, of Radboud University Nijmegen in The Netherlands, lead author of the article. “However, to understand the impact of video games on children’s and adolescents’ development, a more balanced perspective is needed.”

While one widely held view maintains that playing video games is intellectually lazy, such play actually may strengthen a range of cognitive skills such as spatial navigation, reasoning, memory and perception, according to several studies reviewed in the article. This is particularly true for shooter video games, which are often violent, the authors found. A 2013 meta-analysis found that playing shooter video games improved a player’s capacity to think about objects in three dimensions just as well as academic courses designed to enhance these same skills, according to the study.

“This has critical implications for education and career development, as previous research has established the power of spatial skills for achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” Granic says.

This enhanced thinking was not found when playing other types of video games, such as puzzles or role-playing games.

Playing video games may also help children develop problem-solving skills, the authors said. The more adolescents reported playing strategic video games, such as role-playing games, the more they improved in problem solving and school grades the following year, according to a long-term study published in 2013. Children’s creativity was also enhanced by playing any kind of video game, including violent games, but not when the children used other forms of technology, such as a computer or cell phone, other research revealed.

Simple games that are easy to access and can be played quickly, such as “Angry Birds,” can improve players’ moods, promote relaxation and ward off anxiety, the study said. “If playing video games simply makes people happier, this seems to be a fundamental emotional benefit to consider,” said Granic. The authors also highlighted the possibility that video games are effective tools for learning resilience in the face of failure. By learning to cope with ongoing failures in games, the authors suggest that children build emotional resilience they can rely upon in their everyday lives.

Another stereotype the research challenges is the socially isolated gamer. More than 70 percent of gamers play with a friend, and millions of people worldwide participate in massive virtual worlds through video games such as “Farmville” and “World of Warcraft,” the article noted. Multiplayer games become virtual social communities, where decisions need to be made quickly about whom to trust or reject and how to lead a group, the authors said. People who play video games, even if they are violent, that encourage cooperation are more likely to be helpful to others while gaming than those who play the same games competitively, a 2011 study found.

— Lisa Bowen

The Reality of the American Dream

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The American Dream is best defined by James Truslow Adams as a “dream of land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with the opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement” (Adams 404). Throughout the centuries of the United States, a better and fuller life has meant different things to different people. Today, a better and fuller life is often viewed in terms of economic and material prosperity such as buying your dream house or car. Since the founding of the United States, the American Dream has continued to become more and more materialistic. The value of people’s success is not measured in their quality of life, but through the amount of property they have. Our society is very consumer driven and greatly emphasizes the importance of material gain. It is undeniable that the material prosperity of our country has made life easier and more efficient for many people and that it plays an important role in the American Dream: economic success can help people attain certain dreams such as financial security. However, I believe that people’s view of a better and fuller life is grossly unbalanced and narrowly defined. Many people tend to associate the Dream only with economic prosperity. The association of the Dream with quality of life is largely neglected. I argue that two of the greatest challenges facing the American Dream today are 1) the emphasis on material prosperity and 2) the wealth inequality in the United States. In order for the American Dream to become fully available to more people, there needs to be a balance between economic prosperity and the quality of life. The focus on material gain instead of the quality of life has created an unequal playing field for people in the United States which has led to wealth inequality. There are many people who work hard and are unable to make ends meet while there are others at the top who are at an unequal advantage because they received an inheritance or some type of financial support. The focus on materialism and consumption has decreased people’s ability to be satisfied. Americans work so hard for material gain that they often are unable to find joy and excitement in their lives. James Truslow Adams described it best, writing: “we forgot to live, in the struggle to ‘make a living’” (406). The issue of materialism and wealth inequality is not a modern issue. At the time of perceived upward mobility during the mid1800’s, over 90 percent of the people at the top inherited money, and only 2 percent of the people at the bottom were able to rise from the bottom to the top (Fortin). While the nation believed that individuals could rise from poverty to wealth, this scenario was not very realistic. One example of this misperception was the election of Andrew Jackson. The Age of Jackson has often been interpreted as the age of the common man. Jackson in fact represented the uncommon man rising from rags to riches. Many Americans identified with the ideals of hard work, self-reliance, and determination that Jackson represented. However, while Jackson was personified as a symbol of the American Dream to the people, it was truly uncommon circumstances (and men of wealth) that helped Jackson get into the White House. For the first time in U.S. history, one million dollars was spent on advertising Jackson’s campaign. The wealth gap in the United States remained relatively the same over the next century. During the Industrial Revolution the U.S. made a dramatic shift from an agriculture society to a predominately industrial society. The new industry created advancements that enhanced the lives for many. While the lives of almost all people, including those at the bottom did improve materialistically, it did not

lessen the wealth gap. One percent of the population still controlled 20 percent of the wealth, and 10 percent of the population controlled 50 percent of the wealth (Fortin). Since the Industrial Revolution, the wealth gap in the United States has increased dramatically. In an article, “Who Rules America: Wealth, Income and Power,” Professor William G. Domhoff researched the trends of wealth inequality in our country in the year 2010. Domhoff asserts that “in terms of financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one’s home), the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 42.1%” (Domhoff). This is over double the amount of wealth controlled by the top 1 percent during the Industrial Revolution. Through these statistics, it is evident that the wealth gap in our country is growing. I believe that the growing wealth gap is making it easier for the people at the top to achieve their dreams but more difficult for the people at the bottom to succeed. In the past many people came to the United States to leave the stratified European society. However, upward mobility is becoming increasingly difficult in the United States. According to research by the PEW charitable trusts, “43 percent of Americans raised at the bottom of the income ladder remain stuck there as adults, and 70 percent never even make it to the middle” (1). The data shows that the dream of rising to the top economically is only available to a select few. The wealth gap in the U.S. is also much more dramatic than in the majority of European countries. According to the CIA Factbook, the United States has the 41st highest “degree of inequality in the distribution of family income in a country” (“The World Factbook”). The CIA’s list consists of 141 different countries. The countries at the bottom of the list, which are the countries with the greatest equality of wealth, are mostly European countries. The United Kingdom has the 35th most equal distribution of wealth and Germany has the 12th most equal distribution of wealth. (“The World Factbook”). This information strongly contradicts the belief that the United States is a less stratified society compared to Europe. The extreme difference between the degree of inequality of wealth between the U.S. and other European countries emphasizes that much wealth inequality exists in the United States. Wealth inequality in the United States has also played a large role in people’s perception of achieving the American Dream. In a study of the American Dream entitled, “Can the American Dream Survive the New Multiethnic America? Evidence from Los Angeles,” Mara A. Cohen-Marks and Christopher Stout interviewed people of different ethnic groups regarding their perception of the American Dream. The results show that the people interviewed believed materialism and the notion of economic prosperity played a large role in people’s perception of the American Dream. The results confirm a “strong association between homeownership and the American dream” (834). The study also showed that “income is highly correlated with perceptions of achievement of the American dream. Angelinos with the highest household incomes are 50% more likely to believe that they have achieved the American dream than are the poorest respondents in our data set” (835). The statistics suggest that the Dream has come to seem exclusive. People who are poor are less likely to believe that they can achieve the American Dream. Reasons for the increasing wealth gap in the United States are presented in Heather Beth Johnson’s book, The American Dream and the Power of Wealth. Johnson interviewed and analyzed black and white families regarding the power of wealth and the American Dream. In her interviews with families, many people attributed their success to their own hard work, and many of the families that were struggling blamed themselves for their failures. Johnson however, affirms that financial success is not based solely on hard work. She attributes many families’ success to intergenerational transfers. “Intergenerational transfers” refers to the passing along of assets both at death and throughout one’s life” (8). Through her research, Johnson discovered that the majority of wealth, “between one-half to more than 80 percent all accumulated wealth is received through intergenerational transfers of assets” (7).

In her interview with the Johnsons, a middle-aged, educated black family, they stated that they did not understand how their college friends, who made similar incomes, were more financial secure than them. Johnson explains that the reason for this family’s insecurity was not related to income, but wealth. While the family had a good income, their “net financial assets were negative $14,000” (138). The family did not have the support of intergenerational transfers from their family members. This lack of financial support was a major cause for their financial insecurity. However, the Johnsons blamed themselves for their failures because of the ideology of the American Dream: hard work leads to success. The story of the Johnson family shows that the belief in the American Dream is so strong that many people do not realize the role intergenerational transfers play in exacerbating the wealth gap in the U.S. I do not claim that intergenerational transfers are bad or that people who receive inheritance do not work hard. However, it is important to understand that the difference in wealth creates an unequal playing field and inhibits some individuals from achieving their Dream. Today, when people view the American Dream, I believe that they focus too much on economic prosperity. I believe that from this limited perspective the Dream is not very successful. While people still readily agree to the ideas of hard work, individualism, and upward mobility, realistically, these values are not always enough. Johnson’s research shows that economic success is not available to everyone based strictly upon how much they work. The role of family wealth and inheritance are two major factors that lead to people’s success. While the American Dream has become more exclusively materialistic over the past decades, economic success is not the only way to view the Dream. A better and fuller life consists of much more than material prosperity. In order for the American dream to be fully attainable to the most people, we must begin to recognize the importance of the quality of life and redefine their perception of a better and fuller life. In the Edward and Robert Skidelsky’s book, How Much is Enough?: Money and the Good Life, the authors characterize the good life by breaking it down into five categories; health, security, leisure, friendship, and one’s own unique personality. These five aspects of the “good life” are clearly echoed by the beliefs of the Founding Fathers and other scholars such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edward Bellamy, and John Maynard Keynes. I believe that the ideas presented by these scholars show how the American Dream is alive today and also present ideals to strive for in the future. Many of the aspects that represent the good life stem from the Founding Fathers’ belief in the importance of education and virtue. During the time of the Industrial Revolution and continuing on today, many people have equated happiness to material gain. When the Founding Fathers created the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, they did not believe that the best society was created through wealth, but through education and virtue. John Adams claimed that “the form of government which communicates ease, comfort, security, or, in one word, happiness, to the greatest number of persons, and in the greatest degree, is the best” (85). Adams’s vision of the best government was very similar to the American Dream. Both ideas emphasize the desire to create a better life for all people. Adams’ idea of a better life was not focused on materialism, but the quality of life among the people. He believed that a quality life was created through virtue and education. “Virtue and simplicity of manners,” he writes, “are indispensably necessary in a republic among all orders and degrees of men” (182). Thomas Jefferson agreed with Adams about the importance of education and believed that the best society was created by educating the masses. Jefferson advocated for “a crusade against ignorance,” and wanted to “establish and improve the law for educating the common people” (312). He believed that educating the people would protect them from any injustices and manipulations in government. Jefferson claimed that education was the key to preventing a monarchy from forming and allowing people to live more freely. The letters from Adams and Jefferson both show that the U.S. government

provides security for the people not only militaristically, but more importantly through education and virtue. Adam Smith, the founder of capitalism, held a similar view to the Founding Fathers. He agreed that virtue was the key to real happiness. In his Happiness: A History, Darrin McMahon quotes Adam Smith who wrote, “wealth and greatness are mere trinkets of frivolous utility no more adapted for procuring ease of body or tranquility of mind than the tweezer cases of the lover of toys” (qtd. in McMahon 329). For Smith, McMahon explains, “tranquility and enjoyment . . . had less to do with economic condition than it did with virtue” (329). Smith believed that in order to achieve a better, fuller, and richer life people needed to stop focusing on material wealth and needed to start focusing on their virtues and values. Smith pointed out that wealth alone does not bring individuals the satisfaction and enjoyment. Satisfaction and enjoyment must come from within us, which can be achieved by following our own ideas, thoughts, and values. Another key aspect to the good life was health. In one of his letters, Thomas Jefferson discussed the importance of walking. While the Founding Fathers were devoted scholars, they understood that the mind needed to rest. They knew that their health was very important. Jefferson recommended two hours of exercise a day because “a strong body makes the mind strong” (309). Walking was a healthy way to relax, relieve stress, and enjoy your time. Today many people walk and exercise not out of enjoyment, but to lose weight or stay in shape. Many people go to gyms to work out and walk on treadmills instead of outside. Instead of a fun and relaxing activity, walking becomes a chore. Some people do not have time to walk because they are too exhausted from working while others simply do not like to be active. People become so focused on material gain that they do not take time to take care of their health. “Results from the 2011–2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), using measured heights and weights, indicate that an estimated 33.9% of U.S. adults aged 20 and over are overweight, 35.1% are obese, and 6.4% are extremely obese”

(Carroll). This survey shows that health is a major concern in our country. There are many contributors to weight gain and walking is not the only cure. However, Jefferson’s letter about walking reveals that the Founding Fathers were aware of the importance of exercise. Jefferson’s letter on walking puts in perspective what should truly be valuable to us. Our society has become so rushed and consumer driven that people do not spend enough time caring about their health. Another important aspect of the good life is leisure time. John Adams advocated for quiet time. He even believed that the entitlement of quiet time should be recorded in the Declaration of Independence. I really appreciate the idea of having quiet time. Today, we live in such a rushed society where we are constantly surrounded by media. This lifestyle contributes greatly to the amount of stress we have in our lives. Adams’s notion of quiet time could truly help relieve our stress. It would allow people to get away from their worries and relax and reflect. Today, Americans often misinterpret leisure with being unproductive, and to activities such as watching TV or playing on a computer. However, the Founding Fathers asserted that leisure time does not mean laziness or idleness. The leisure time they valued is when you spend time doing something active that you enjoy such as educating yourself through a good book or learning to cook a new meal. These are both ways that you can be productive while still enjoying yourself. The belief in the importance of leisure is also reflected over a century later by Edward Bellamy and John Keynes. They envisioned a future not of more material gain, but a future of less work and more leisure time. In 1887 Edward Bellamy published Looking Backward. The book appeared during the time of industrialization in the United States. In Looking Backward Bellamy claimed that in the year 2000, the United States would become a Utopian society where people would work together to build a more virtuous society. Clearly, the future Bellamy dreamed of is not accurate today and highly idealistic. However, I do believe that his book points out issues in our society such as poverty and reiterates the certain ideas of what constitutes the

good life. In his future world people are able to retire at a much younger age. This gives them time to have leisure and enjoy the rest of their lives. The future characters in the text regarded labor “as a necessary duty to be discharged before we can fully devote ourselves to the higher exercise of our faculties, the intellectual and spiritual enjoyments and pursuits which alone mean life” (Bellamy 27). For the characters of Bellamy’s future, their leisure time after retirement was not filled with laziness, but participating in activities they enjoyed. In 1930 economist John Maynard Keynes had a similar view of the future to Edward Bellamy. He believed that the growth of technology would allow people to work less, and society would become less focused on material goods. “I see us free,” Keyes writes, “. . . and the love of money detestable, that those walk most truly in the paths of virtue and sane wisdom who take least thought for the morrow” (qtd in Skidelsky 6). Keynes imagined not only a new world of more leisure, but he also imagined that the country would grow more morally to reflect the view of virtue of the Founding Fathers. A final aspect of the good life was the association of own unique personality. Ralph Waldo Emerson was a great advocate for pursuing your own unique personality. In his famous “Self-Reliance,” Emerson states that “to believe your own thought, to believe that what is true in your own private heart is true for all men,–that is genius” (259). He believed that self-reliance meant living for yourself, not just living to fit into society. Today, materialism has led to conformity. People desire mass produced items such as the newest iPhone. In the epilogue to The Epic of America, Adams pointed out how dependence on mass production has led to a lower quality of thought and expression among men (409). Technology can inhibit people from thinking on their own and cause them to blindly follow information that they hear on the TV or internet. I believe that education also plays an important role in selfreliance. As Jefferson explained in his letter “A Crusade Against Ignorance,” education is important to make sure that people do not become manipulated. Education can also teach people not to follow the crowd. I believe that the more educated people are, the more capable they are to think for themselves and be confident in their opinions. Education plays an important role in staying true to your own unique personality. In order to have a fulfilling and enjoyable life Americans need to recognize the importance of the quality of life. Aspects of the good life such as education, health, and own unique personality all play a role in creating a better and fuller life. I believe that if people begin to focus on these values, instead only material prosperity, it will broaden the scope of the American Dream and make it more available to all people. I do not believe that people should stop viewing economic prosperity as an aspect the Dream, but they should incorporate the ideas of economic success with the good life to achieve the Dream. When looking at the Dream from a broader perspective and incorporating both the aspects of the good life and economic prosperity, it becomes clear there are many different ways people can pursue their Dreams. It is also important to note that the American Dream is different for different people. What brings fulfillment to one person may bring stress or unhappiness to others. What makes the American Dream so great and unique is the freedom for anyone to pursue their own personal Dream. Colleges and universities are a great representation of living a better and fuller life. Many colleges offer the opportunity for people of different race, ethnicity, culture, and economic background to come together for the ultimate goal of achieving a higher education. An education not only prepares students for the future, but it also teaches them to think for themselves. College is the first time many students are independent from their parents. Many students live away from their families and are able to make their own decisions. This independence allows students to practice self-reliance and develop their own unique personality. During college students also have the ability to meet new people and make new friends, as well as form relationships with their professors and professionals in their career

path. Certainly not all colleges are as diverse as others and not every student is independent and breaks out to make new friends. Everyone college experience is different. However, I do believe that no matter what university students attend, all universities offer the opportunity of a higher education for those who desire it. Another way that I believe the American Dream is expressed today is through local community markets such as Cincinnati’s Findlay Market. Findlay Market offers a diverse background of people of all ages that come together to share the experience. The vendors are able to find self-fulfillment and expression through their food, crafts, and music, while the buyers are able to spend their time leisurely, walking through the market enjoying the different foods and items for sale. The market is an example of how economic prosperity and the good life become intertwined to create a better and fuller life for many different people. The people at the market work hard to sell their products, but they are also able to find satisfaction from what they produced. The majority of buyers at the market worked hard to be able to afford the variety of food and other goods at the market, but they are not continually working. They are able to relax, come together with friends, and enjoy their time at the market. I believe that universities and local markets are sites where the American Dream is alive today. Both places present a broad and more balanced scope of how economic prosperity and the aspects of the good life work together for people to obtain their Dream. The examples of universities and local markets show that the American Dream is alive today, but people must also realize that the American Dream is not equally available to everyone. The wealth gap in the U.S. has excluded many people from the Dream, and the focus on materialism has left many people unsatisfied with achieving the economic aspect of the Dream. The American Dream does not fare well from an economic perspective. However, the Dream is alive when the ideas of the quality of life are intertwined with economic prosperity which is presented in the Findlay Market example. I believe the American Dream will fare better and be available to the

most people if people embrace the ideas of the Founding Fathers and scholars such as Emerson and James Truslow Adams who advocated for better education for all, a greater sense of virtue, and awareness of the importance of health and leisure, and self-reliance.

Bibliography Adams, James Truslow. The Epic of America. 1931. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2012. Print. Adams, John. The Political Writings of John Adams. Ed. George A. Peek, Jr. Reprint Ed. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 2003. Print. Bellamy, Edward. Looking Backward. Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin Press, 1995. Print. Carroll, Margaret D., et al. “Products – Health E Stats – Overweight, Obesity, and Extreme Obesity Among Adults 2011-2012.” Web. 30 Nov. 2014. Cohen-Marks, Mara A., and Christopher Stout. “Can the American Dream Survive the New Multiethnic America? Evidence from Los Angeles.” Sociological Forum 26. 4 (2011): 824-845. Domhoff, William G. “Who Rules America: Wealth, Income, and Power.” Web. 28 Nov. 2014. Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Emerson: Essays and Lectures. New York: Library of America, 1983. Print. Fortin, Roger. “The American Dream” Seminar Course. Smith Hall 250, Cincinnati. 30 Sept. and 14 Oct. 2014.

Jefferson, Thomas. Jefferson: Writings. New York: Library of America, 2011. Johnson, Heather Beth. “Inequality and Ideology.” The American Dream and the Power of Wealth: Choosing Schools and Inheriting Inequality in the Land of Opportunity. 129-155. Web. —. “The Wealth Gap and the American Dream.” The American Dream and the Power of Wealth: Choosing Schools and Inheriting Inequality in the Land of Opportunity. 118. Web. McMahon, Darrin. Happiness: A History. New York: Grove/Atlantic, 2006. Print. “Moving On Up: Why Do Some Americans Leave the Bottom of the Economic Ladder, but Not Others?” The Pew Charitable Trusts. Nov. 2013: 1. Print. Skidelsky, Edward, and Robert Skidelsky. How Much is Enough?: Money and the Good Life. New York: Other Press, 2012. Print. “The World Factbook. Country Comparison: Distribution of Family Income – Gini Index” n.d.Web. 29 Nov. 2014

By: Madeline High


 By John P. Read

L is for “laughter” we had along the way.
O is for “optimism” you gave me every day.
V is for “value” of being my best friend.
E is for “eternity,” a love that has no end.

 I Love You

By Shannon

You look at me as if I’m the only girl around.
You make me feel important and never let me down.

You’ve shown me how to live,
How to smile, what to say.
You’ve shown me what it’s worth
To love someone each and every day.

So this poem goes out to you
For everything you’ve done,
And I hope now you understand
That baby, you’re the one!

I love you!

My Heart To You

By Alan

When you smile at me, I lose myself.
You give me this feeling that makes me overwhelmed.
When your hand is in mine, I feel totally fine,
And that’s the reason I had to make you mine.
Forever and ever till the end,
I will be by your side through thick and thin.
I love you more than you’ll ever know.
I just wanted to say I’m never letting go.

Video games level up life skills

Playing games in a group can strengthen abilities such as communication and resourcefulness

When gamers band together to defeat a three-headed zombie dragon boss, they may not be thinking much about school or work. Still, they are likely building skills that will come in handy in the real world, a new study finds. Researchers in Scotland found that playing video games in a group can improve young adults’ communication skills and resourcefulness. It also can make them better at adapting to new situations.

Sharpening those skills can help someone get a job or advance in a career. “Employers want you to think for yourself and adapt to changing situations,” says Matthew Barr, who conducted the new study. He studies video games and gamer culture at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. He also played a lot of video games while growing up.

From his own experience, Barr knows that video games demand quick thinking. “Games are always keeping you on your toes. You have to be able to figure out what to do if you’re just dropped into a situation,” he says. Multiplayer games also require good communication among players.

Barr wanted to know whether these gaming skills carry over into real life. So he recruited 16 university students to play eight different video games. The students played in a computer lab over an eight-week period. They could come and go whenever they wanted to, but each had to play for a total of 14 hours.

Another group of students did not play any games at the lab. This was the control group. To understand the effect of a change in behavior, scientists must compare at least two groups. One or more groups will change their behavior. The control group, in contrast, makes no changes.

The games covered a variety of genres. For example, Borderlands 2 is an action-packed role-playing game. Players work together to defeat enemies and collect loot. Minecraft is a game about gathering resources and constructing a world. Portal 2 is a puzzle game that requires creative thinking. Six of the games in the study included ways for players to work together in the game itself. Two of the games were single-player only. But the students talked through these games as they played. So all of the games prompted conversation and cooperation.

Both before and after the study, students in both groups filled out three questionnaires about their real-life skills. One measured their communication skills, such as talking and listening. Another measured adaptability. This investigated how well people deal with changing situations. The third questionnaire looked at resourcefulness. This includes problem-solving  and knowing when to ask for help.

Each questionnaire included a series of statements. Participants rated how true each statement seemed. One statement related to communication skill, for example, was “I feel nervous in social situations.” A statement related to resourcefulness was, “When faced with a difficult problem, I try to approach its solution in a systematic way.”

Barr found that after two months of playing video games regularly, students’ scores on all three skills improved. Resourcefulness scores increased significantly for 81 percent of the gamers. Adaptability scores increased for 75 percent. And communication skills scores increased for 69 percent of gamers.

In contrast, fewer than half of the students in the control group improved their scores in each of the three areas.

Barr’s results appear in the October issue of Computers & Education.

Part of the team

Barr also interviewed the study participants about the experience. Several students told him that playing games on a team helped to not only break down their anxieties but also to build their confidence. In that sense, he believes sports and video games may build similar life skills. “It’s kind of like joining the hockey team,” he says.

Barr thinks schools should have video games as extracurricular activities — just like sports. A school could set up a video game room, for example, or start a gaming club on campus.

Beverley Oliver is an expert in education at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. She wasn’t involved in the study. She isn’t convinced that schools should add a video game room. “Playing games develops skills,” she says. “This is no surprise.” But that’s not only true of video games. The game could just as easily be hopscotch or Monopoly, she notes. And there are other ways to sharpen the same life skills that might also improve with gaming.

Oliver also worries about the potential downsides to video gaming. For example, spending long periods staring into a screen without moving could lead to health problems. The violence in some games also concerns her.

Barr points out that other skill-building activities, such as traditional sports, aren’t for everybody. Video games may be a more fun or effective way for certain students to gain the same kinds of skills. In his opinion, the study results are a perfect excuse to get your game on.  

Power Words

More About Power Words

adaptability     How well a person or organism can change itself in response to a changing condition.

anxiety     A nervous reaction to events causing excessive uneasiness and apprehension. People with anxiety may even develop panic attacks.

behavior     The way something, often a person or other organism, acts towards others, or conducts itself.

control     A part of an experiment where there is no change from normal conditions. The control is essential to scientific experiments. It shows that any new effect is likely due only to the part of the test that a researcher has altered. For example, if scientists were testing different types of fertilizer in a garden, they would want one section of it to remain unfertilized, as the control. Its area would show how plants in this garden grow under normal conditions. And that gives scientists something against which they can compare their experimental data.

culture     (n. in social science) The sum total of typical behaviors and social practices of a related group of people (such as a tribe or nation). Their culture includes their beliefs, values and the symbols that they accept and/or use. Culture is passed on from generation to generation through learning. Scientists once thought culture to be exclusive to humans. Now they recognize some other animals show signs of culture as well, including dolphins and primates.

questionnaire     A list of identical questions administered to a group of people to collect related information on each of them. The questions may be delivered by voice, online or in writing. Questionnaires may elicit opinions, health information (like sleep times, weight or items in the last day’s meals), descriptions of daily habits (how much exercise you get or how much TV do you watch) and demographic data (such as age, ethnic background, income and political affiliation).

social     (adj.) Relating to gatherings of people; a term for animals (or people) that prefer to exist in groups. (noun) A gathering of people, for instance those who belong to a club or other organization, for the purpose of enjoying each other’s company.


Journal:​ ​​M. Barr. “Video games can develop graduate skills in higher education students: A randomised trial.” Computers & Education. Vol. 113, October 2017, p. 86. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2017.05.016.

About Kathryn Hulick

Kathryn Hulick is a freelance science writer and the author of Strange But True: 10 of the World’s Greatest Mysteries Explained, a book about the science of ghosts, aliens and more. She loves hiking, gardening and robots.

Will the NFL Make Changes After Damar Hamlin Injury?

CINCINNATI – There was a scary moment that happened on Monday Night Football that brought every NFL fan to tears. The injury was almost a tragedy. It was the quick, heroic, and fast reactions of doctors that saved a life. Bills Safety Damar Hamlin appeared minutes or even seconds away from death at the age of 24. Hamlin appeared to be hit in the chest by the helmet of receiver Tee Higgins. After that, Hamlin immediately fell down, appeared to lose consciousness, and stopped breathing. Doctors performed CPR for nearly ten minutes.

Paramedics took Hamlin to the University of Cincinnati hospital and the doctors there did everything they could to make sure Hamlin stayed alive. They put a tube in his nose which helped him breathe. Eventually, doctors took it out and Hamlin appeared to be on the long road to recovery.

It looks like Hamlin will make a full recovery. However, what happened on Monday Night was a reminder that these players do more than put their bodies on the line. They actually put their lives on the line. Even though such injuries rarely result in death or even close to death, this reminder caused us to rethink how we look at the game of football.

Will this eventually lead to the end of the NFL? It’s unlikely such an extreme will occur. The NFL is more diligent than ever in protecting the health and safety of the players.

It’s important to remember that one NFL player died on the field back in 1971. It is the only case of an injury resulting in death. However, it serves as a reminder that this can happen. It’s important to remember that whenever anyone questions how far the NFL goes in terms of initiating more rules for player safety. It’s not just the threat of lawsuits. The issue is a whole lot bigger than that. However, some fans who saw what happened to Chuck Hughes back in 1971 probably had flashbacks and immediately thought of that.

Players on both the Bengals and Bills showed immediate concern for Hamlin as they weren’t sure if he’d live or die. Seeing a teammate, opposing player, and fellow human being on the field, struggling to survive brought them to tears and created feelings of distress.

Is it possible that the NFL will go as far as setting career limits in terms of how long a career can last? It’s important to remember that the older players are, the more likely devastating injuries to likely to occur. The short answer is no. The NFL players’ Union would have to agree to such a measure which is a long shot. It’s almost a zero percent chance both sides will agree to such a rule. A decision on the length of a career is up to the players. Some doctors may intervene and tell players they need to seriously consider retirement depending on the type of injury or injuries sustained.

The most likely course of action other than more rule changes would be educating players on the dangers of longer careers and also advising players on what happens to their bodies over the course of multiple years of playing football.

This probably already happens. The NFL may make recommendations on how long a career should last before the health and safety of the players begin to decline. That is likely as far as the NFL can go in addition to any rule changes the leader makes. The bottom line is there is only so much the NFL can do.

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