The Buzz Lightyear Video Game as a Rhetoric Learning Tool





Those who design computer games must have a good working knowledge of reading and writing.  Such games require carefully organized step-by-step narratives. These detail the function of game characters.  This exercise deals with watching the various moves the animated Buzz Lightyear performs during playing of a video game.  After watching a sequence of Buzz moves, you are requested to fill in the blanks listing what you have observed.  In this way, you will be describing for future players steps to be taken to duplicate Lightyear’s actions. 


When astronauts train in the operation of the space shuttle remote manipulator system (RMS), they use animated models akin to those present in the Buzz Lightyear game.  They must understand, and be trained in operating controls similar to those which move Buzz about the game display.  Rather than the keyboard’s arrow keys, spacebar, and Ctrl key, they tele-operate the RMS via a hand controller.  In order to “pick-up” a payload in the shuttle cargo bay, they must go through a pre-planned hand-controller procedure much like Buzz performs to move about Andy’s house, defend himself from space aliens with his laser gun, and deploy his wings to escape harm.  The video clips are from the Toy Story 2 Action Game, a Disney * PIXAR,  product.



The above picture is a screen capture from a video clip of Buzz deploying his wings.

Click here to watch the animation.


In the video, Buzz has two adversaries, one a heliocopter flying villain armed with a laser gun, the other, a similar enemy who lacks flying skills but has jumping talents able to overcome Buzz. However, Buzz rises to the occasion dispensing with the nefarious opponents.


Compose a narrative summarizing the action scene shown in the video clip. Describe the scene of battle, the moves of Buzz and his opponents as well as Buzz's trek through Andy's house. This is a general summary that need not include every jump, rotation, or movement of Buzz or the two evil beings intent on harming the Disney hero.

(Note: The animators have Buzz making a statement prior to the battle. What is it? How does Buzz deal with the actions of the grotesque creatures' response to his statement.)



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