Yesterday was kind of a big deal, celebrated quietly inside my own heart.
It was the 10th anniversary of the day I completed a labor of love that changed my life for so much the better.
Three years previous, I was hanging with some pals when I discovered the Library of Congress had nothing in its archives about something that is very close to my heart. To all of our hearts, actually.
I was astounded that one of the greatest libraries on the planet had no stories to tell about a game that is such a huge part of us all, regardless of our background, where we grow up in the world, or what our situation is.
I blurted out:
“The LoC has NOTHING about TAG? Someone should FIX THAT!”
To which my pals replied:
“Why don’t YOU fix that?”
I spent the next year-and-a-half evolving a likewise meager entry into Wikipedia. I entered in everything I knew, everything I could find, everything I learned from listening to anyone who would listen and answer my questions about the game.
By 2006 it had quickly grown into one of the largest entries on the platform. There is no way I could have known that when they upgraded their infrastructure after their first major fundraiser that year that I would lose all my effort. It was as much my fault as theirs. I made no backup of my work, took no screenshots. I was disappointed but that only seemed to make me more determined.
When my pleas to them over several months to help restore what had been lost fell on deaf ears, I decided to make a podcast about the game. Then, over the next two years it turned into a short movie.
The final edit was completed on January 28, 2008, effectively completing the project save for one small detail. It needed to be submitted + accepted into the LoC. It took a few stamps, some transmediating the project onto a few different types of media (they wouldn’t accept a download at that time), a few months and a heaping helping of persistence. When the dust settled, TAG had officially made it into the LoC.
Submitted along with the project in multiple formats, including Cassette, VHS, DVD, CD, MP3, FLAC, WMA, AAC, AIFF + Ogg Vorbis, I wrote the following into the synopsis, with gratitude in my heart and astonishment in my eyes that we’d actually done it:
TAG transcends culture, age, gender, race, politics + beyond.
Even long after childhoods become shadows in the bright light of adulthood, this game, one that no one needs to be taught, plays a huge role as we discover our identities + earnestly engage in the pursuit of careers + relationships – our own, unique definitions of success – literally chasing our dreams – for the rest of our lives.
This all started out as an austere labor of love, made over three years with a simple goal: make something to represent TAG in one of the world’s greatest libraries: the Library of Congress, which surprisingly had nothing in its archives on the game when this project began. That seemed like something that needed to be corrected.
Mission accomplished, thanks to all the kids + grownups from cultures around the world who graciously participated + made it a life experience I shall never forget. No small thing.
When asked how long a game of TAG takes to play, the average of more than a thousand answers was 21 minutes. So, that is the movie’s total running time.
Hearing challenges? Please turn Closed Captioning on/off by clicking the small CC symbol near the bottom-right-corner of the video + choosing the captions. My apologies that these only exist in English at present.
Vision challenges? Click here for audio only.
Please enjoy. TAG, you’re it.