Week 15 Discussion Animation

Group B and Grad Students post thoughts on readings/film here.  All others are welcome to comment on posts.

16 thoughts on “Week 15 Discussion Animation

  1. Charles Scott

    Video Games are a platform for creating interactive media. Various types of animation are important to video games because they are nearly always composed of visuals that are created from the ground up; this is especially true in reference to the earliest games and into the late 90’s. In the same way that animated films and television can create characters and environments that can be wholly new, or wildly transformative, video games can do the same while allowing the player to manipulate or interact with the “scene”.
    The earliest games, being limited by technical capabilities, required the player to be very imaginative with the visual stimuli they were interacting with. The animations were very minimal; maybe a blocky spacecraft would change shape slightly as it moved or when it exploded. these animations were very few frames in length but they did the job.
    As technology advanced the animations could be more advanced to the point of what we see today. And as an industry, game animation is equal with film animation in terms of employment, with lots of overlap.

    1. Jon Booker

      I feel Like your comment in general is a way of tying video games into the history of animation. Video games started out very crude and very simple like Pong, as time went on they became a little more complex. If you look at games like Super Mario or Donkey Kong, the games look like they could be stop motion animated films. The way video games work allow for them to fall under both orthodox and experimental.

      With the advancements in computer technology, much like film, video games have advanced in great ways. There are some video games that have better graphics and characters than most films. Also as you said many artists work on conceptual and visual art for both film and games. For artists its a very open field.

    2. Casey

      The gaming industry becomes so much more like the movie industry as time passes. In fact, gaming is the single largest entertainment industry in the world right now. Recent games, such as The Last of Us and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain utilized motion capture to get smooth animations, and their directors employed A-list celebrities in order to bring out characters and sell discs. Troy Baker and Kiefer Sutherland worked some of those titles. Another game, named Beyond: Two Souls, sees Ellen Page as the protagonist, and fights alongside her partner played by Willem Dafoe. I think, as virtual reality becomes more prevalent, audiences will see an increasingly blurry line between movies and video games.

    3. Jeremy Thurlby

      Do you think we were more capable of imaginative scenarios back then? As a whole with advanced animation and cinema techniques I think we have been conditioned to need the latest and greatest tech to be happy.

    4. Kenneth Christensen

      When I was young I always wondered how games were made. As I grew older, around six, I realized that the games were stories and began to make up my own stories and characters. I believe that a person who gets in tune with the story within the game is actually learning the skills of creating their own story in the long run. Video games themselves are a type of virtual reality in that they do allow people to interact and manipulate the scene in which they are in. The games also give the player a sense of control over the environment that they are interacting with. As time goes on, it is likely that the games will in and of themselves become an actual realistic scene in which the player can use all of their senses.

  2. Jeremy Thurlby

    The Wolf reading is very outdated as far as gaming as concerned. As the article was written in the 90’s it was on the cusp of the technology boom resulting in better gaming systems and graphics. Granted some of the games he was talking about were cutting edge at the time.

    I had the original NES when it came out back in ’85 and also had a Kaypro computer that you ran the text based games on via 5 1/4″ floppy. So I can relate to the systems and programs he is speaking of. It is interesting reading the critical review or breakdown of the technology of the time, verses just playing the games for what they were.

    As far as the “player” operator in Lara Croft being a cross dresser is a bit far fetched in my opinion. It is merely a game, not a system when a person is assuming the persona of the fictitious character.

    The game should be talked about more in regards to actions or abilities of the character. For the time frame the character’s movements or interaction with her surroundings were pretty advanced.

  3. Fiona Finnigan

    In her article Does Laura Croft Wear fake Polygons? Gender and Gender-Role Subversion in Computer Adventure Games, Anne-Marie Schleiner look as various interpretations of representations of women in video games. I found her female video game avatars as a form of drag or gender role experimentation view to be particularly interesting, particularly in light of the way that modern adventure games typically allow players to choose not only the gender, but many of the physical features of their own avatars. The ability to choose the gender and physical features of a playable character are interesting because, unlike in older games like Tomb Raider where one must play as Laura Croft or not play at all, players are given the option of choosing a gender for their avatar.
    In some ways, this would tend to seem like a reinforcement for the idea of viewing female game avatars as a form of cross dressing. However, it seems to me that while a male player choosing to create a female game avatar is in some ways choosing to explore the world from a female perspective, it is not entirely true to think of this as simply digital cross dressing.
    There is a social aspect of dressing up as another identity, whether that identity is based on gender, culture, profession, or something else, that is lost in single player video games. After all, identity is composed both of how you react to other people, and how other people react to you. Therefore, while dressing up in drag is a public exploration of another identity, playing a video game with a female avatar is a private exploration of another identity.
    For course, all of this assumes the person playing said video game is in fact male. This is understandable, given that the majority of people who play these types of adventure games are male. However, female gamers do, in fact exist. Much time is spent interpreting video games from the point of view of the male gaze. I think it would be very interesting to do a similar survey of female gamers, in an attempt to also consider video games from the female point of view.

  4. Alejandra Vargas

    Reading Schleiner’s controversy about gender roles in video games, I felt there were parts where I agreed and also wanted to disagree. For instance, I understand the argument here where there was very few women in the gaming industry during the early production stages, and it seems that they don’t get an opinion or say to how the female characters should be designed. If so, I’m sure Lara Croft would’ve looked slightly different. However, this article seems to disregard other popular female leads (even before tomb raider) that are not over sexualized at all. This includes Princess Peach and Samus in Metroid, both having their debut in the early 1980’s.
    Although Princess Peach was a damsel in distress in her early years, I believe that this still shows that she wasn’t sexualized even as a female. In Street Fighter as well, we have both men and women displaying unrealistic bodies that some may idealize, such as Chun Li’s strong legs and Ryu’s muscular build. So in this case, my argument here is that although this reading may be true that Lara Croft was possibly the first female fetishized game character, we also need to recognize that men’s bodies in games were also fetishized. My earliest example would be the playable psycho, Krieg, in Borderlands 2. He seems to be the only playable character showing the most skin, as he is shirtless, has a long torso, and plenty of abs.
    Reading this article, I also thought about the controversy of Blizzard’s new first-person shooter, Overwatch. There was speculation on how some of the women’s poses in the game were overly sexualized, by how they looked over the shoulder to extend their butt out and show a “butt cleavage.” This led to the designers to apologize and change their poses, however I felt it was entirely unnecessary since it’s not as though the women are dressed in skimpy outfits like that of Lara Croft’s. Even if that were the case, there will still be female cosplayers itching to dress up as them and embrace their ‘sexiness’.

  5. Connor Strehl

    I agree that the animation aspect is very important to the video game industry. I would even go a step further and say that the reason animation became so important to the video game industry is because of the demands of the consumer. In order for video games to sell the graphics had to attract the video gamer. The audience demanded more complex/realistic graphics and the video game industry responded and this is the reason why the two industries have near equal employment.

  6. Dennis Hinton

    While reading Wolf piece about inventing space it made me wonder a lot how games has advance to fit me on the screen. Since Atari to now the space that is available to create a game is almost endless. Look at games like Skyrim where the possibilities are almost endless to how far you can go in the game. The space is huge and this is the norm with video games.
    The thought process of wolf is what lead me to my presentation of virtual and augmented reality. Wolf was talking about the space the game gives the user on the screen. But now we have technology that is bringing the space to you. Creating 3d images in your environment with the augmented reality. Like with the hololens and even someone brought up pokemon has a game where you can catch become depending on where you are located in real life, that they “appear” in reality. To me personally that is amazing. Game creators are shattering the mold with new ideas for inventing space.
    After reading the lara croft article and from the discussion in class I learned a lot about the female orientation in video games. I myself want to be in the video game industry and not once have I really gave concern to the woman portrayal in video games. This weeks discussion and readings were definitely an eye opener. I always knew about the damsel in distress troupe rather it were movies, tv shows or video games. But I never really paid attention to the constant repetitiveness in the video games. I was a avid Mario fan I never really realized over 20 years of existence peach was only a playable character once. That is mind blogging how she is never really infused in the storyline as a prominent helpful character. Then going on to Zelda the game is freaking called the Zelda and she is never a main playable character as well. Don’t let me get started on the star fox swap. I can see how it would be a better idea to reinforce an old ideal more of a guarantee of money but come on the switch completely downgraded the character.
    I believe that video games are getting better with giving female characters some form of shine but progression is very slow to almost a stand still. Most games that are “female oriented” are domestic forms of games and very stereotypical. Where on the other side there is now “male oriented” video games.

    1. Daniel Vincent

      The thing that I found fascinating about the StarFox swap is that this is definitely not the only time Nintendo changed an original IP to become a spin-off property of something already existing. The most recent example I can think of is Kirby’s Epic Yarn, which begun development as an adventure starring Prince Fluff, but Kirby was forced into it to try to make better sales. The fate of Dinosaur Planet is doubly sad: Nintendo lacks a new solid female protagonist to go along with Samus, but it also lacks a new IP in general, instead forcing StarFox Adventures to be a bizarre one-off departure for the StarFox franchise.

  7. Dionte Bolling

    Both of the readings dealt with video games. The Schleiner piece was about the famous heroine Lara Croft. Schleiner talks about how Lara Croft’s body is made in a way to satisfy male gaze with her Barbie-like proportions. It even got worse when the “Nude Raider patch” came out and players can play the game with a naked Lara Croft.
    She then goes on saying that Lara Croft can be used for negative and positive roles and also Lara can help live out the fantasies of many players. The Wolf reading was about the evolution of video game space. The early video games were limited due to not having advanced technology to display their idea. And now centuries later there is an advance in technology developers have ten times more space than the 19th century. With the more space more animations for animated films and video games and better stories can be told.

  8. Joey Burrow

    In the “Inventing Space” article, Wolf explained how video games and cinema have many of the same elements. Much like how film uses Diegetic sound and non-diegetic sound, video games use these different sound elements to convey certian experiences. Games are also similar to cinema in that the audience is able to immerse themselves and can get lost in the vast possibilities of the different worlds that are displayed on screen.

  9. Tiffany McLaughlin

    Throughout the decades television and film have paved much of the way for video game success. I don’t know much about the games discussed in the Wolf reading other than what he explained, but I now understand the concept of the space and the off screen, on screen explanation.. Story developments in the games have improved as well love time, giving characters more life like voices and personalities, almost like actors and actresses. Visual effects, sound effects, technicalities and overall themes of games have thoroughly improved over time due to technology enhancement. I myself am not a gamer but I am familiar with the movie themed games such as Resident Evil and some of the Batman games. With every new action packed blockbuster comes a video game to go along with it these days. It’s like the films are what make those matching video games possible.

  10. Evan Swiech

    Wolf’s article discusses the unfortunately little scholarly study of video games. Truly, there should be more study of the medium. Not only have video games grown aesthetically, but the use of famous actors’ voices and body movements for virtual characters confirms the need to evaluate video games as an art form. I appreciate Wolf’s comparison of early video games to the Lumiére brothers’ films in which the camera remains static while the action occurs within the plane. I would say that early video games are also similar to Thomas Edison’s films in that they feature action occurring against a black background. The films released by Edison’s company might not have been aesthetically pleasing, but they were only considered a novelty at that point in time. Their sole purpose was a new technology that offered quick entertainment.
    It sounds like releasing video games with movies was a new concept when Wolf wrote his article. This is standard practice now. I am even more amazed that video games have not received all the scholarly consideration they deserve, because they have developed so much since Wolf wrote his article.
    Anne-Marie Schleiner’s article discusses the gender dynamics of Laura Croft, the heroine of the game “Laura Croft: Tomb Raider”. I have never played the game, so I looked it up online to find an image of the protagonist as she first appeared. The first thing I noticed was her sharp, pointy breast. I assume the creators could not design soft edges at the time, but they definitely went overboard by designing such a massive… bust. Although I occasionally disagree with Laura Mulvey’s famous article, I would completely agree with anyone who said Laura Croft’s body exists for straight male viewing pleasure. In spite of the fact that her body could not be realistically rendered, she was still sexualized.
    I think Schleiner has a point about cross-dressing in games. I know that, when I used to play video games, I used to play as female characters pretty often. I am a male, so I thought it would be fun to play as a female character. I realized that my choice would not effect the game in any way, but I did it anyway. I also appreciate Schleiner’s multiple analyses of Laura Croft. It is important to realize a game can be analyzed several different ways and it has to potential to be developed several different ways as well. These analyses could someday shape the next incarnation of Laura Croft.

  11. Evan Swiech

    It wasn’t until yesterday afternoon that I decided how I would spend today. I knew I have a lot of assignments to work on, but I wanted to help out. I knew I didn’t want to take part in the strike. I just didn’t feel like I knew enough about what the strikers wanted to align myself with them. When I heard about the formal discussions on campus, I decided that sounded more like something I would want to attend. Even if I couldn’t think of anything to add, I could listen. A group of fellow MCMA students invited to document the strike with them. After some consideration, I made my decision.
    I messaged several of my friends of color and told them that, if they felt unsafe walking to their classes, they could contact me and I would walk with them. I figured that was the best way I could help, if needed. (Fortunately, none of them needed my help.) As soon as I woke up this morning, I prepared a bag in case of tear gas at the protest. I didn’t think that would happen, but I wanted to be prepared for the worse-case-scenario. I wasn’t expecting events to turn this sour on campus, so nothing would have surprised me at this point. The bag contained a water bottle (to flush out eyes), some paper towels soaked in canola oil (to wipe on faces), and peroxide (to follow the oil). My original intention was to find out when the discussion sessions would occur and just go to one of those after my 10:00 class. I figured I could text the people documenting the strike and only come out if they needed me.
    As it happened, I didn’t have enough time to check e-mail before I left so I didn’t get the chance to find out exactly where the sessions would occur. I barely had enough time to drop off the oiled paper towels to the leader of the documentation group before I ran to class. She informed me that they would not be leaving until 12 so I would have enough time to join them. I didn’t really want to join but I thought I probably should join them regardless; at least I could watch out for people’s safety. I went to my 12:00 class because I could not afford to miss it. Afterward, I met up with the other people documenting the strike.
    It was 12:30 when we set out and campus was pretty quiet. I heard and saw the protesters on my way to class so I was surprised. By the time we got to the fountain, we saw everyone. I think all three of us were pleasantly surprised that there were so many police officers around and that they were all standing calmly. The protesters we speaking but they weren’t rioting. I had been afraid things would become violent because of the aggressive videos, so I was very happy to see that the event seemed to be very controlled. I was especially happy to see administrators and faculty in the crowd.
    All the protesters who spoke had important things to say. They just wanted people to listen to them and take them seriously. I was very pleased when Dr. Brown spoke because I knew he would have something important to say. I was also happy that some speakers told the protesters to remain calm. “They want you to be violent and angry so they don’t have to take you seriously. Don’t give in to them.” Recently, I had been concerned that there are more hateful and ignorant people on campus then well-informed and caring people. This protest proved that there really are more well-informed and caring people and I, for one, was very happy to discover that.
    There were a few gadflies. First, there was a man with a Donald Trump sign who, apparently, interrupted a speaker. Then, there was a man in the crowd who began a “Fuck the police!” chant immediately after a speaker told the crowd that they should not hate all police officers. Finally, there were some idiots who thought the whole thing was a joke. (Granted, they never interfered or tried to stir up the crowd, but they were acting like fools; and foolishness is pretty dangerous in a protest.) The speakers handled all of these gadflies, reminding the crowd to listen before chanting and to love before hating. It ended on a very hopeful and peaceful note.
    After I left, I took part in a brief discussion with some faculty, including the Dean. It sounds like there are so many people who want to listen to each other. Hopefully that can help in the future. At least I can see that the people who take this seriously are approaching it rationally. That’s most important.

    As side-note, my favorite humorous quote from the protest would have to be: “Pay no attention to the man behind the iron curtain!” Movie reference, history reference, political reference… I give the man points for that.

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