Reading 06

Imagery as far as video games and film are concerned is the primary mode of communication of the medias message to the audience. There are other important elements too, very important elements like sound and motion, but without imagery a film can’t be a film and a video game can’t be a video game. It was stated by Marshall McLuhan that ‘the medium is the message’ which means that what is stated is inextricably intermingled with how it is stated. Imagery in film and video games can take on a number of different styles; live action films, animated films, platformer games, first person games. Each of these needs to take into account how to present there overall targeted experience for the viewer or player and because imagery is the medium special care must be taken so that sensible imagery is used.

Computer graphics has acted as a powerful tool, giving artists and designers abilities in expression that was barely imagined decades before. But while CGI has an immense amount of flexibility, it also seems like there are other forms of graphics that can created certain responses that CGI can’t make. We still have a Nostalgia for hand drawn animation and pixelated graphics, these still act as alternatives to live action and high fidelity CGI. But CGI can reproduce any great degree of intensely realistic looking yet fantastical scenes, don’t we want are movie and video game experiences to be more and more believable?

Here I would like to argue that it is not always the case that the images we¬† see in are consumer media are always more enjoyable when more realistic looking. Like I said before, the medium is the message, so when you want your game or movie to create a specific experience you need to accompany it with the correct form of imagery. This does not just include what things are present in an image but also in what fashion or style they are pictorially represented. As an example I would like to draw upon a contemporary example, there is a cute indie game currently out called Cuphead. it is a two dimensional platformer with while really good controlling and gameplay, has its main selling point of being entirely represented by 1930’s cartoon style animation. The art of the game was meticulously hand drawn and had to pass a high standard of quality. The graphics are not ‘realistic’ but the standards of realism yet the game itself was extremely popular. How do we account? The style of the game matched what it was trying to convey, the game was fun and whimsical and oozed charm. The silliness of it matched the story and gameplay extremely well and overall created a unique experience.

Working forward on this idea that graphical style should match intended experience, we can reapply it to the idea of misappropriation of graphics. So if in the case of CGI we use CGI in a scene in way that would not fit what we are trying to represent than it could actually detract from the overall experience and suffer as a result. An example is in the case of uncanniness, occasionally uncanniness can be a result of CGI that hasn’t caught up to modern expectations. If this uncanniness accidently finds its way into a scene that we are expected to take seriously then the effect may be more hilarious or creepy.

This week I played Super Mario 64, I had originally played Super Mario 64 as a remake for the Nintendo DS and enjoyed it quite a lot. I was never able to find the final star though. Overall the game was really cool and had this interesting form of level travel and game progression. For some reason the game felt really surreal at times and occasionally was quite lonely. The navigation between levels was done on at a hub which itself was a level and story progression wasn’t very clear but was mostly up to the players discretion. The game was a major step in 3D graphics for games and was the first 3D Mario game.