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22 JUNE 2015

The Last Guardian: a game about the relationship between a boy and a giant griffin-like monster

"When the Japanese game designer Fumito Ueda was a child, he loved to capture and care for wild animals. He was obsessed with the way they moved; and later as a young game designer he imported a copy of the Amiga classic Lemmings, seeing in it something other than a colourful puzzler. 'I sensed life on the TV screen for the first time in my life,' he said.

Since then, he has become famous for games that explore humanity and companionship. After joining Sony Japan's development studio in 1997, he oversaw two of the most fascinating and beautiful action adventures of the PlayStation 2 era: Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. These doleful, reflective titles, with their hazy visuals and vast silences, showed us new ways to tell stories and invoke emotions through games. The moment in Ico where the eponymous lead character takes the hand of Yorda, the princess he seeks to rescue from an evil queen, has become one of the great images of the medium.

But then, after the wonderful Shadow of the Colossus – a game that brought themes of loss, grief and the fundamental importance of friendship to the standard monster hunting archetype – came the wilderness years. A game codenamed Project Trico, about the relationship between a boy and a giant griffin-like monster, was mentioned, and then officially announced as The Last Guardian at E3 in 2009. Then years of uncertainty as the project shifted from PS3 to PS4, and Ueda announced his separation from Sony Japan.

Six years later at E3 2015, Sony began its hugely nostalgic press conference with a revelation: The Last Guardian was definitely in production for PS4. We now know that it is a joint project between Sony Japan and a new studio, Gen Design, formed by members of Ueda's old Team Ico group. The release date is a tentative 2016. There is still much work to be done. But you get the feeling that Sony Computer Entertainment chief Shuhei Yoshida, always a fan of Ueda's work, will do whatever it takes to push this through. It is happening."

(Keith Stuart, Friday 19 June 2015)

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2016action-adventureadventure game • animal companion • atmospheric presenceboycompanion character • companionship • E3Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3)environment as antagonist • epic minimalism • fantasy character • fantasy games • friendship • Fumito Ueda • game designer • Gen Design • giant griffin • grief • griffin • griffon • gryphon • hazy visuals • humanity • Ico (2001) • invoke emotions through games • legendary creaturelossmonster • monster hunting archetype • mythological beingPlaystation 2 • Project Trico • PS3PS4 • Shadow of the Colossus (2006) • Shuhei Yoshida • Sony Computer Entertainment • Sony Japan • tell stories through games • The Last Guardian • treacherous landscapevideo game • wild anima

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
23 MARCH 2014

O Menino e o Mundo (The Boy and the World, 2013)

"'O menino e o mundo' é o segundo longa–metragem de animação de Alê Abreu, paulistano de 42 anos, também diretor de 'Garoto Cósmico' e autor/ilustrados de livros infantis. Para espectadores habituados a animações cada vez mais sofisticadas, aceleradas e dependentes de efeitos especiais, em um primeiro momento o filme pode causar estranheza por sua linguagem simples e econômica, ou por sua cadência tranquila, na contracorrente do mercado. Além disso, ele é atravessado por uma melancolia incomum no gênero, fazendo do olhar de uma criança veículo para uma inquietante crítica social–e confrontando o espectador com o desafio de pensar sobre aquilo que vê, coisa incomum no gênero."

(Luciano Trigo, 19/01/14)

Sofrendo com a falta do pai, um menino deixa sua aldeia e descobre um mundo fantástico dominado por máquinas–bichos e estranhos seres alienígenas. Uma inusitada animação com várias técnicas artísticas que retrata as questões do mundo moderno através do olhar de uma criança.

Suffering from the absence of a father, a boy leaves his village and discovers a fantasy world dominated by machines, animals and strange aliens. An unusual animation with various artistic techniques that portrays the issues of the modern world through the eyes of a child.

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20132D animation • Adriana Barbosa • Ale Abreu • alone in the wildernessboyBrazilchildrens book illustrationcolourfulcritical commentarydrawing • eyes of a child • fatherfilm • Gustavo Kurlat • hand-drawn animationhand-generated illustrationshand-painted stop motion animationhand-painted styleillustrationillustrative stylemodern world • Nana Vasconcelos • O Menino e o Mundo (2013) • quest • Ruben Feffer • social critique • The Boy and the World (2013) • villagervisual spectacleyoung children

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
05 JANUARY 2014

Interactive billboards that drop angels on your head

"There you are in the middle of the city, traffic all around, planes buzzing above and you notice a little boy on a giant screen pointing up. 'Look,' says the boy. And you look, and the on–screen boy is pointing at an actual plane flying in the sky. He knows its flight number, its destination. This is no joke. That is flight BA475 from Barcelona! He tracks its path with his little hand, and then, when the plane is gone, he dashes off. This is a British Airways display ad in London's Piccadilly Circus, and it's using to identify actual planes in the actual sky.

Digital billboards are stepping up their game. They are becoming . There's another stunning example at Euston Station (also in London) that shows a man furiously screaming at a woman who is clearly frightened. But you can help. If you have a cellphone, you can yank the man clear across the station, dragging him from screen to screen to screen until he's way on the other side of the terminal.

I've got one more. This time it's a fantasy experience available to anyone who steps into a marked spot in the middle of Victoria Station. (London's a happening place for billboard experimentation.) Once you're there, a holographic angel drops down from heaven and lands beside you. You can't see her in real space, but you and she are plainly visible on a screen that everybody in the station can see, and you are free to interact anyway you please."

(Robert Krulwich, 04 January 2014, NPR)

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TAGS

2014advertising in public spacesaeroplaneangelawareness raisingbillboardboy • British Airways • cellphonecreative advertising • cute girl • digital billboardsdigital displaysdigital screens • display ad • domestic violence • e-motion screens • Euston Station • experience design • fantasy experience • flight number • flying • frighten • furious • get involvedholograph • interactive billboard • interactive digital displayinteractive displayinteractive installationinteractive screen • intervene • JCDecaux • London Victoria • Lynx Excite • manmobile phone • National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) • NPROgilvy Group UK • Piccadilly Circus • pointing • public spacescream • screen to screen • sky • surveillance technology • train station • Victoria Station • visual communicationwoman

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
23 NOVEMBER 2011

Limbo: beautiful 2D sidescroller puzzle game

"Though this is just an early teaser trailer to the upcoming Danish platformer, Limbo, it's already looking brilliant and I'm already thinking of the possibilities. An indie game to the core, Limbo is being produced by 1 extremely talented individual, Arnt Jensen, who is behind the art, concept and design. Limbo has recently received a healthy grant from the Danish government in order to continue the development of the game, more proof of the good that government funded innovation achieves."

(Playthrough.net, 26 September 2006)

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20102D • 2D sidescroller • ambientanimation • Arnt Jensen • artatmospheric presenceblack and whiteboychiaroscurodangerous environmentsDanish • Danish government • darkeerieexpressionismfantasy elements • film grain effects • game • gruesome • gruesome imagery • horror genreindie gameslighting • limbo • Limbo (game)monochromaticopen-endedphysics systemplatform game • Playdead (game developer) • puzzle platformerspooky woodsstripped-downteaser trailer • trial and death • video gamevideo game artvisual designvisual spectaclevisual stylevisualisationworld of the storyXbox 360Xbox Live Arcade

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
09 SEPTEMBER 2011

Welles and Toland's use of deep screen space in Citizen Kane

"It begins with young Charles Kane in long shot, playing with his sled in the snow. The camera then pulls back to reveal that it has been shooting through a window. This effect creates a visual metaphor. The boy playing in the snow is not as free as he at first seems. Just as his image is suddenly confined by a window frame, so his life will be circumscribed by a decision that is being made for him inside the house. Kane's mother appears at the window calling out to her son to 'Be careful,' and 'Put your muffler around your neck, Charles.' As the camera tracks back, wards from the window into the space of the house, it reveals Mr. Thatcher standing at the right of the window. He says, 'We'll have to tell him now.' Ignoring this comment, the mother replies, 'I'll sign those papers now, Mr. Thatcher.' From frame left Kane's father appears, saying, 'You people seem to forget that I'm the boy's father.' The camera tracks backwards as Mrs. Kane walks over to a desk in the foreground of the image and sits down to sign the papers, with Thatcher seated next to her. An argument ensues in which the father, who appears in the middle ground of the image, strongly protests the mother's decision to hand his son over to a bank and threatens to take the case to court. The mother is icily adamant in honoring the agreement she has made with Thatcher. In exchange for the bank's full assumption of the management of the gold mine (the Colorado Lode), the bank which Thatcher represents will assume full responsibility for all matters concerning the boy's education and place of residence. Mr. and Mrs. Kane will receive fifty thousand dollars a year as long as they both live. This last bit of information, which Thatcher reads aloud, silences the father, who mutters, 'Well, let's hope it's all for the best.'

Throughout the scene, while all this activity takes place, we can see the boy Charles playing with his sled far in the back of the image, in extreme long shot, framed by the window pane, and totally oblivious to the momentous decision his mother has made about his life. Because of the length of the shot and the careful blocking of the action, our eye is free to focus on whichever player we choose, or our attention can wander from one player to another, as if we were spectators in the theater.

At the same time, the camera places us sufficiently close to the actors in the foreground of the image that we can read their expressions with much greater clarity than would be possible in the theater. We can look for clues in the frozen but somehow anguished expression of Mrs. Kane for why she is so determined to separate herself from her son. We can wonder in observing the slightly exasperated and nervous expression on Thatcher's face what kind of guardian he will make for a young boy. Or we can observe the father's angry, worried expression and wonder why he backs down. The father's position further back in the screen space makes him seem smaller than his wife and Mr. Thatcher, his diminished size somehow appropriate to his lack of power to influence his son's fate. The crowning brilliance of the scene is the tiny image of Charles Kane far in the depth of the screen space. Although the film is about him and in later scenes he will loom large indeed, here he is a tiny speck. On first viewing the film, some may not even notice him. But his understated presence playing outside the window, shouting 'Union forever' as his mother is about to send him off into the world without her, is one of the most poignant moments in film."

(Marilyn Fabe, 2004, p.85–86)

3). Marilyn Fabe (2004). "Chapter 5 Expressive Realism" in "Closely Watched Films: An Introduction to the Art of Narrative Film Technique", University of California Press (3 Aug 2004)

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1941bank • blocking of the action • boycamera • Charles Kane • cinematography • circumscribed • Citizen Kane • Colorado Lode • composition • confined • deep focusdepth of the screen spacedesign formalism • diminished size • editing through selection • extreme long shot • fatefigures in spacefilmframe • frame-within-a-frame • framed by the windowframingfreedom • gold mine • Gregg Toland • lack of power • length of the shot • long shot • long takesmise-en-sceneOrson Wellesphotographyplayingscene • screen image • screen space • significant actions • sled • snowsnowballtheatrical spacetracking camera • union forever • visual designvisual languagevisual metaphorwindowwindow frame

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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