And now video games tell history…

In keeping with this weekend’s release of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, a comic book-turned-film which uses a surrealistic world based on the structures of video games as a metaphor for the trials of teenage dating, I would like to introduce you all to a remarkable music video that uses the same principle to describe history.

“A Complete History of the Soviet Union through the eyes of a humble worker, arranged to the melody of Tetris” by the band Pig With The Face Of A Boy is exactly what its name says: a history of the Soviet Union set to the theme of Tetris.  The “humble worker” who “arranges the blocks” that keep industry moving and society functioning is the narrator, and the complexities of the Tetris game serve to illustrate the frustration and repetition of the worker’s life.

In the visuals of the music video, the blocks are an even more active participant. Their shapes are used to frame various symbolic objects in the song, ranging from bricks and mortar to iron girders to tanks and even nuclear bombs. The stark rigidity of the blocks conforms easily and chillingly with the grim and often terrible subjects being discussed. The surreal blending of video game and reality is utterly seamless, and the game’s theme music is perfectly paced for the story being told. And, as an added bonus, the closing post-game music gives a similarly chilling snippet of post-Soviet Russian history. All in all, a magnificent piece.

G. D. Falksen is a great lover of history. Seeing video games teaching history and making songs warms his heart and gives him a sudden urge to rush out and play Tetris again. More information can be found at his Facebook and Twitter.


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