Personally speaking, I would find attempting to show reason to those who would immediately disparge all forms of electronic media as a “wasteland” a tedious, and primarily useless, endeavor at best. It is the same people that would say Facebook is ruining the youth of today’s social abilities (disregarding that you are now able to stay more connected to people then in any other point in history, which is fairly nice since you no longer have to sever all ties or resort to depending on the U.S. postal service just because someone moves less then 100 miles away) or that “Selfie Culture” has inspired a new wave of vanity (because all of those statues and portraits that people had to pose for days for are definitely not considered art or culturally significant in any way, shape, or form) that I assume would make such a silly, and rather shallow-minded, assessment; but, I digress.
Should you be so inclined to locate their walkers and ask that they stop yelling into the night sky about their confusions regarding modern technology, you will pleased to know that you make look no further then a lovely video game called Never Alone as an example of why electronic media is important. Never Alone is an indie game developed by a studio called Upper One Games. The game itself is a simple puzzle solving platformer, and tells the tale of a young Inupiaq girl named Nuna and her arctic fox companion. The game contains 8 chapters that you must go through as you play, and each chapter includes a variety of elements straight from Alaska Native mythos. Nuna’s village has long been enveloped in a never ending blizzard, which, if not stopped, will surely eradicate her village entirely. As such, Nuna and her fox set out to find the mysterious source of the blizzard, and to seek help from a variety of famous Alaskan characters such as the Manslayer, the rolling heads, the Sky People, and more. Even better then it’s actual existence is the effort and detail that went into creating the game; story writers spent two months trekking from village to village and learning about the different legends from elder members of different tribes through the traditional method of oral communication, meaning that the game is not only (feasibly) as accurate as it can be in it’s retelling, but is a unique platform in which legends can continue to be passed down.
All of that being said, the game itself is remarkably beautiful and does much justice to the amazing stories that it retells, which isn’t particularly a platform I thought I would ever see Alaskan Native heritage take. I am, however, extremely happy that it did, because as our current society draws more and more away from non-electronic based forms of communication, it is an unfortunate side-effect that many oral based cultures may be left in the dust; however, to see something like this game (which has sold extremely well and been met with a variety of positive reviews) really take off in the way that it has gives me a bit of hope that even though we may be drawing away from tradition, perhaps tradition can simply be resculpted, if you will, rather then simply done away with entirely.