Saturday, March 25, 2006

A tote bag of miscellaneous ramblings

3 AM, work tomorrow morning, and still not sleepy. Curse you, Sunkist, for making your orange soda so tasty.

Something that I didn't elaborate on in my admittedly crazy post on games and animation as art was that something that is still holding games back from being truly immersive is the ever-elusive goal of attaining total immersion. By this, I mean how there is still much fine-tuning to be done in games to make them look less glitchy and more realistic. I'm still seeing cinema scenes where character's heads clip through their collars. As smart as ragdoll physics are, there are still many incidents with them that make deaths look just silly. And, of course, there's the immortal problem of a lot of dialogue being given looped body animations and flapping mouths instead of lip sync. Wether or not this problem will ever become much less noticeable really depends on how much the industry grows and how much time and money a company is willing to spend.

But enough rambling. Let's talk about stuff everyone else cares about.

While I attempt to get the hang of Ghost Recon on the 360 (my first go at trying a realistic squad-based game), I am getting hooked on the newly-released Arcade game Astropop. The visuals and soundtrack are very slick, and the gameplay structure is both very original and challenging. And while many puzzle games offer different playable characters, this is one where the one you play as actually makes a difference- all four characters have different special attacks to charge up that can blow up blocks in an emergency. The game has also been out on the original Xbox's Arcade and the PC, so go try out a demo.

In making Wario Ware Tooned 4, I am continually frustrated by my utter inability to make decent-looking backgrounds. I've basically been forced to stick with stylistic UPAish stuff because I can't do any better- perspective and I have a long and bitter history. On the other hand, the episode is shaping up to be better-written and better-paced, and once again co-written by the very funny Sean of Still no clue of the release date, as not even all the voice recording is done.

I finally got around to purchasing Laputa/Castle in the Sky, and it is still my favorite Miyazaki movie. So I am excited that it will finally get some real nationwide exposure by airing on Toonami next Saturday. If you haven't seen this movie but like any sort of animation, or film in general, watch this. It is perfectly paced, genuinely exciting, and skillfully animated. The only problem is the English dub, something even Mark Hamill couldn't save.

There's a small fortune to be made cleaning out your shelves for eBay selling.

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