Monday, March 31, 2008

I Love Process Part 5 - Al Jaffee, King of the "Fold-In"

For anyone who grew up devouring Mad Magazine, such as myself, you may be thrilled to hear Al Jaffee is approaching his 400th Mad Fold-In - the back cover gags that allowed the reader to line up the points of a picture and expose a punchline.

Al Jaffee is one of those cartoonists whose creativity knows no limits, and I'm am always happy to see that he is still so vital and creative in his old age. That's definitely something to aspire too.

Now the question is, when is Mad going to publish the page a day fold in calendar? I'd definitely buy that!

Link to the article at New York

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I Love Process, Part 4 - Rolito and Patapon

Few games have ever been based solely on the work of an artist or designer. Sony's Japan Studio has based the game Patapon on French artist Rolito (real name Sebastien Giuli) comical 2-D silhouette tribal eyeball like characters called Patapon's. A wild, and addicting romp of a game that shows just how much is still to be explored in the making games that have total immerse experiences in the worlds in which they create, and get the player involved.

Patapon is a key based rhythm game for PSP, like Pappa The Rappa or Guitar Hero/Rock Band. But it diverges from a rather simple setup that other rhythm based games have by adding elements of god games, and strategy play, all controlled by tapping out key patterns to infectious little ditty's that allow your tribe of Patapon's to hunt, attack rival tribes, or defeat large imposing monsters. The goal is to help your Patapons regain their once mythic glory.

This game ranks up there with other such unique game play experiences as Katamari Damacy, in which seemingly simplistic worlds offer a depth of insight into the characters you control. Where KD offered a world of seemingly infinite expansive obsessive collecting (that is until you have finished the game), Patapon offers a fun alternative to the music/dance/karaoke versions of rythm based game play that are popular right now.

Patapon offers a wonderful example of how games can act as a narrative as well as be just plain fun to play. Rolito's geometrically cute art work is reminiscent of online comics artists like Damian5 or the Japanese Neo style of drawing as seen in works like Matthew Cruickshank and Barry Baker (the sadly offline) re imagining of Mickey Mouse

Matthew Cruickshank and Barry Baker's Neo Mickey

With technology, we can bring the mountain to Mohamed, if you will. We can create a frightening Middle Earth in which all that is absent is the smell of the breath of the Orcs as their cast brought to life from the bowels of hell. Yes, we can do epic and monumental things that will always wow and captivate us. But it is moments like leading my Patapon's in a charge against the enemy that I truly value as an entertainment experience. Like reading a good comic book or doodling a character whose story comes to you as if they were alive, sometimes simplicity in narrative and form is better than "Gee Whiz" and "Bang! Bang!"

interview with Rotoli at Gamasutra