Hi! My name is Cédric Bozzi, I make websites and iOS apps, and this is my blog about technology (mostly a Twitter archive, really).

17 May 2006

@games@

Collision Detection further documents its obsession with the Uncanny Valley:

The concept is simple: When we look at a cartoon-like drawing of a person, like Charlie Brown, our brains fill in the missing information, and the cartoon seems warm, cute, and lifelike. But when an animated version of a human becomes incredibly close to being real, we start focusing instead on the tiny details that aren’t right. […] Paradoxically, the more realistic the human becomes – the worse they look. […]

The Uncanny Valley effect has become painfully, itchingly obvious in today’s video games. Whenever a game comes out with cartoonish and stylized humans – like the anime-style Final Fantasy series – they look wonderful and lively. But whenever the game designer gets obsessed with being “cinematic” and “superealistic” and producing “cutting edge graphics”, woof woof, meow meow, the results are just unwatchable – as with, say, the “lifelike” characters in Half Life 2 that cavort about like a corpsetastic army of zombies.

After hurling themselves against these shoals and crashing again and again and again and again and again, wouldn’t you imagine that game designers would learn their lesson?

But no. […] They’ve trudged in ever deeper. Check out this clip, in which a young girl does a “casting call” and delivers a long monologue into the camera. Prepare to scream and scream again.

Okay, that one is a particularly awful example (seriously, it takes some effort to make an animated face that horrible), but this post sums up the same thought I’ve had every time I’ve seen a 360 or PS3 game trailer. It is indeed getting worse and worse — and contributes to making me want to buy a Wii.

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