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Posts Tagged ‘Video Games’

Something different since Halloween has past. Actually put some thought into my costume this year instead of pulling something half-assed, last-minute. I guess you could call it Cosplay…

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Yep, me in costume (Naked Snake c/o Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater). Lot of love went into this and it will get some use in other things. Also that’s me camera (Nikon D90 with 35mm) and I hate doing pics like that, but didn’t have many options at hand. Ah well.

 

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Whhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaa~!

This week is a quick (sort of) follow-up to last weeks Rock Band edition. In a contest between Rock Band 1 vs Rock Band 2, the latter was better able to steal the show. It had a better track list, and it had a better guitar that was a lot easier to use to play the game and totally rock out. And on top of that, pretty much everything carried over to the second game to make your track list EVEN MORE EPIC. Hmm… Tis’ the season for a Rock Band Party…

Modest Mouse – Float On

A quirky video to say the least. The concept is neato, but not a neato keen. It’s a bit hard to follow and I guess those three sheep are on acid or something and taking a magical journey to do something. What I do not think I want to know.  And as much as it was 2004 when the video was made, it looks a tad flash animation-ish, but that could just be me since this is the future now.

System of a Down – Chop Suey!

This is much typical video of the rock band of the early 2000s. Very much in line with what Limp Bizkit and Korn were doing at the time as well. But not what I was expecting, given that the B-Side video for this prominently featured Theodore the Tugboat with lots of other craziness. If you can find that video, please link me would you kindly?

Lit – My Own Worst Enemy

Bowling? League Bowling? Now that’s badass. Not to mention dated. People don’t bowl these days. Forget Bowling, and move on to Lawn Bowling at the seniors club. This has a bit too much of trying for the Big Lebowski feeling to it. And the ending was pretty weak.

Beck – E Pro

Well, it’s Beck, so there’s really not much more I have to say about why it’s so weird yet so awesome at the same time. The design and direction is pretty awesome. You don’t see wireframe graphics like that used as much in things. As much as it seems like it should be classified as 80s looking, there’s a quality to it that makes it better. Add on that the ending is pretty lulz worthy, and you have yourself a decent music video. (If you’re interested the video was basically assembled by a collective known as Shynola who are also responsible for a similar looking video for Radiohead (Pyramid Song))

Interpol – PDA

Hey wait a tic, didn’t we already see this video some where? Where are the Sheep! No matter, this is actually a bit more interesting in its design, animation and they way things are shot. Seems easier to follow and coherent. What’s going on in the video, I can’t tell besides a Big Brother kind of thing going on and lazers.

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Cover - Animal Farm

When I’m out to buy a new book to keep myself occupied and I have no idea what’s awesome, recommended or will be a good worth while read, I do the faux pas thing and nab a book purchase based on its cover. Ah the old adage ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover’ comes out ringing loud and true. No you can’t exactly make that judgement call, but what I can do is enjoy the cover of a book then read the nice summary on the back and make a choice.

There’s a very good reason why publishing companies go to good lengths to make a book cover visually appealing. Primarily you’re enticed to have your eye caught on the book for purchasing prospects. Secondary is that it needs to help convey what the story is about (most of the time). And finally you’re suppose to have something pretty to look at and less utilitarian and generic sitting on your shelf.

Book cover art is serious business. This is something that gets printed tens of thousands if not a million times. A.J. (Aimie-Jane) Hateley is an artist who is serious about making book cover art. And she’s doing a damn fine job at it.

Limbo

What really caught my attention to her work was her combination of artistic skill, love of video games and her clear enjoyment of making book cover art. She’s working through a project entitled ’30 Days of Videogames’ which is basically her creating minimalistic book covers for book which have some representation to famous videogames over the years (such as Half-Life, Silent Hill, Metal Gear Solid, Katamari)

Many of them are a bit tongue in cheek when referencing their specific games, while others tend to stand out in the obvious. All of them are good homage to the legendary games they’re supposed to represent. And to sweeten the deal, some covers are available for purchase as cards, prints and shirts.

Final Fantasy 7

Videogame book covers aside, Hateley has done alternate covers for George Orwell’s book Animal Farm. Admittedly they are very abstract and a little bizarre from what you would expect to be the cover for Animal Farm but over all I would call the project a great exploration to expand a classic.

Moving beyond book cover design, like all artists, A.J. Hateley has other artistic pursuits but I find them to be less strong as her latter work has been. Primarily it seems to be highly repetitious and doesn’t exactly give me the impression she’s got the capacity to expand or evolve her work. This is the same for the book covers, yes they all take on a different game, but I feel there’s a lot of cookie cutter work design happening between them beyond the usual need to unify them via similar or common elements.

Flee - AJ Hateley

And on one final note, her tumblr. site was one of the ones responsible for me not entirely getting ripped shit pissed at the fail community known as tumblr. She’s got a good theme and layout going and actually knows how to use it better than a large majority of tumblr. users. However, as a gallery tool, tumblr. does not work well for presentation, which makes me a sad panda. Her older works can be found at her abandoned Deviantart Website.

Also if you’re really interested in owning some of her art, her print shop is open for business and prices are reasonable.

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Well technically a game studio and not really an artist or artist group, thatgamecompany (tgc) does a lot of work with their games that could be considered art or interactive art. Unlike a lot of other game companies, tgc seems to start with the art and aesthetics and then move on to game play which has been evident since their first games.
 

 

flOw (PS3 Version)
My first run in with flOw was actually the online flash version and it was really nifty. Things floated around, you could see the layering that happened and it was a really chill game to relax and play out on. When it was coming to the PS3 I was totally stoked to get my hands on it, more so since it was going to use motion controls instead of mouse movements. In addition the artistic graphics and audio were pumped up to 11 and with more creatures to play as the experience was made to be phenomenal. It’s a game that is best tried rather than read about.

Flower
So flOw was  a great and fantastic game to play and how do you follow something as magnificent as that? You give the player the experience of being a simple flower pedal on the wind. It’s not exactly the most complicated idea or concept, but it’s an effective one again combined with artistic graphics and music /audio to go with it.

The game is simple and basic, you’re a flower pedal on the wind and you have to collect more pedals or activate specific ones to advance. Motion controls are used again, and no other way would allow for a smooth flow of game play.

Journey
And finally, keeping with the tradition of one word game names, thatgamecompany is getting set to release by the end of this year. Currently a closed beta testing of the game is underway and I was hoping to get as I met the criteria, but didn’t. Still regardless, this game is shaping up to having the most interesting multiplayer experience. From what I know, the plot involves you working with another person to solve challenges and get to the top of this mountain.

What’s different about the multiplayer is no names and no real way to communicate. It’s an interesting way of forcing players to work together and cut out the typical bullshit you get from the general online populace.

thatgamecompany is very much worth watching for in terms of their ability to create such artistry via the video game medium. Their attention to artistic styling is outstanding and they’re pushing the boundaries between video games, art and the buzz word ‘interactive media’. I look forward to their next game as well as future games they plan to produce. Perhaps someday they will get past barrier and prove to the masses that video games can be art.

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It’s no big surprise that I do enjoy the occasional video game from time to time. I grew up with them from games like Centipede to Bubble Bubble, and Sonic even to modern ones (not that trash COD however). Anyways most video games of the mid and late 90s have managed to make themselves iconic for the music. Music was such an important factor in being identifiable as a video game and it’s a little less now, but there are still some games that aren’t Mario, Sonic, or Halo that do get remembered for their killer sound track.

I digress a little bit. What matters here is that a gent going by the name of Team Teamwork has combine a love of video games, rap and hip-hop to bring some killer remixes to the masses. Mostly it’s been of games from the mid and late 90s with music of the late 90s and early 00s which is basically a high point for both games and music.

Ft. Artists like Outcast, Jay-Z, Ghost Face Killer

When I had come across Team Teamworks music it was when he had remixed his Vinyl Fantasy 7 album (based on the game Final Fantasy 7 in case one did not know) and it really hit it off for me. It has a good sound to it and I still love listening to it.

What’s even better is that he’s also released a new compilation of Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis game sound tracks with artists like Ludacris, Biggie Smalls, Kayne West to music from Super Metroid, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Earthbound. The best part about all his remixing is that nothing seems to be forced or badly mixed. It show how thought out and meticulous his process is going into the creation process and the results that come from taking that time and effort (alas I only wish I had those skills).

90s Gaming meets 90s / modern Rap.

His works are free to download and I remember he had a bit of trouble when Vinyl Fantasy 7 dropped. Turns out some rappers get all up in peeps business when they get their shit stolen from them. However, you are able to donate to pay for the music he puts his creative efforts into. Take a listen and enjoy. (Super Nintendo Sega Genesis is added below for your listening convenience.)

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