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21 SEPTEMBER 2015

Life Is Strange: episodic video games prove as addictive as episodic television

"In another important respect, however, Life Is Strange is quite on-trend: it's being released episodically, every six weeks, in two- to three-hour instalments. The premiere episode arrived on 30 January; episode two followed at the end of March, and the next is set for May.

Dividing a title into chapters and publishing them in succession has become something of a phenomenon in the gaming industry in recent years. It started as a low-risk alternative to the usual blockbuster release strategy – and of late has begun to yield many games that, like Life Is Strange, might never have been green-lit under the traditional system.

Simon Parkin, a freelance writer on games for the New Yorker magazine, believes the popularity of the episodic approach has been 'facilitated by the rise of digital distribution methods', which have made it 'much easier and cheaper to release any number of titles'. Instead of pressing and shipping costly discs to brick-and-mortar stores, publishers can now upload a title to online marketplaces like Steam and Sony's Playstation Store, where players can download them instantly.

That ease of digital access has all but revolutionized the dissemination of games."

(Calum Marsh, 26 April 2015)

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2015 • adolescent female • awkward adolescence • branching options • butterfly effect • choices • digital distributiondistribution models • Dontnod Entertainment • episodic format • episodic interactive drama • episodic structurefemale protagonistgirl • graphic adventure • illustrative style • inner struggle • interactive narrative • Life Is Strange (2015) • Maxine Caulfield • media distribution • memory and identity • memory and nostalgia • Michel Koch • nostalgia • photography student • PolaroidPolaroid camera • Raoul Barbet • reverse timerewind time • Square Enix • third-persontime manipulationtime rewindtime-based game mechanic • travel back in time • video game

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
17 DECEMBER 2014

Remembering childhood and the nostalgia of home

"Quand on grandit on decouvre que les endroits et les objets qu'on connaissait avant sont beaucoup plus petit que dans notre souvenir.

Запах бабушкиного борща возвращает память в далекое счастливое детство."

(Natalia Chernysheva)

Natalia Chernysheva (2013). "Le retour" (The Return). Produced as student of the La Poudrière course at école du film d'animation.

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2013 • accordion music • allegoryanimated short film • borscht • broth • buschildhood memorieschilds perspectivefamilyfemale protagonist • French animation • granddaughter • grandmother • growing uphand-illustratedhand-painted stop motion animation • homecoming • illustrative stylein perspective • International Animated Film Festival KROK • kiss • La Poudriere • Le retour (2013) • memory and nostalgia • Natalia Chernysheva • one minute film • poignant memories • returning homerural liferusticsmellsoupstudent films • yearning for past times • young girl

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
26 NOVEMBER 2014

Never Alone: Could a Video Game Help to Preserve Inuit Culture?

"'Kunuuksaayuka,' an Iñupiaq tale that was recounted by the late Iñupiaq storyteller Robert Nasruk Cleveland. In its traditional incarnation, the tale recounts the adventures of a boy – the product of a nomadic society – who goes on a quest to save his community from an apocalyptic blizzard. After securing the consent of Cleveland’s daughter, Minnie Aliitchask Gray, the development team in conjunction with representatives from the Iñupiat community reworked the story until they settled on a script that would become the basis for 'Never Alone.' (The game’s Iñupiaq sub-title, 'Kisima Ingitchuna,' translates to 'I am Not Alone.')".

(Simon Parkin, 17 November 2014, The New Yorker)

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2014adventure gameAlaskaAlaska Native peoplearctic circle • arctic fox • atmospheric presence • aurora borealis • backstory • Black River People • blizzard • call on spirits • coldcompanion charactercontemporary interpretation • Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) • cultural heritage • cultural insights • cultural myths • cultural traditions • cultural translation • digital storytelling • E-Line Media • endless blizzard • engaged learning • environment as antagonistfemale protagonist • folkloric fantasy characters • folktale • foxindie gamesIndigenous peopleinteractive playInuit • Inupiaq • Kisima Ingitchuna (video game) • Kunuuksaayuka • magical bola • Minnie Gray • native tribes • Never Alone (video game) • nomadic cultures • nomadic people • Nuna (character) • oral traditionpuzzle platformer • Robert Nasruk Cleveland • Sean Vesce • spiritsSteamsurvival storyThe New Yorker • traditional art • treacherous landscape • Upper One Games • video gamevideo games and Indigenous peoplewind

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
25 OCTOBER 2012

Te Wei's Feelings of Mountains and Waters

"Shan shui qing ('Feelings of Mountains and Waters') finished production in 1988. This water/ink animation was Te Wei's [特伟] fourth and final major production, and is in many ways fittingly so. 'Feelings of Mountains and Waters' is a masterpiece. The film runs slightly under twenty minutes, moving the viewer through an emotional journey cleanly articulated by deep and vivid imagery, wrought with incredible artistic purity.

The film's subject is a young girl, whom ferrying an aging man across a river, generously nurses him to better health after witnessing him collapse on the shoreline. In 'Feelings of Mountains and Waters,' Te Wei uses earthy watercolors and craggy puffs of ink to maneuver hillsides, paths, valleys, and waterfalls. He uses the high–values where the ink ends and the paper begins not as an artifact of the landscape, but as the landscape itself. The watercolor paintings move and flourish, the water and ink are the animation; and the rosy–cheeked girl, through muted conversation with the humble old man, learns to play a plucked, string instrument under the quiet and almost sentient backdrop of the mountainous milieu.

Te Wei served as general director for 'Feelings of Mountains and Waters,' and retired after its completion, at the time well into his seventies. The film deservedly earned multiple awards, including high honors from international film festivals in Montreal and Shanghai. In 1995, the global professional animation community ASIFA honored Te Wei with a Lifetime Achievement Award."

(Aaron H. Bynum, 12th February 2010, p.3, Animation Insider)

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19882D animation • aging man • ancient instrument • animationblack and whitecreative practicecultural heritage • earthy watercolours • emotional journey • Feelings of Mountains and Waters • female protagonistfish • folk narrative • folk story • folk tale • folkloregirlhand-drawninklandscapemark makingmonkeymonotonemusical instrumentmusiciannational cultural identities • national cultural identity • national heritageold manpaintingpaperPeoples Republic of Chinapioneering animatorriver • Shan shui qing • Shanghai Animation Studios • Shanghai Film Studios • Te Wei • traditional painting • traditional techniquesvisual designvivid imagerywater and inkwater/ink animationwatercolour painting • whistle • young girl • zheng (instrument)

CONTRIBUTOR

Guannan (cassie) Du
09 OCTOBER 2003

Michaël Dudok De Wit's Father and Daughter

"A father says goodbye to his young daughter and leaves. As the wide Dutch landscapes live through their seasons so the girl lives through hers. She becomes a young woman, has a family and in time she becomes old, yet within her there is always a deep longing for her father."

(Animation World Network)

Fig.1 & 2 Directed by Michaël Dudok De Wit; Produced by Claire Jennings; Willem Thijssen; Written by Michaël Dudok De Wit; Music by Normand Roger; Denis L. Chartrand; Release date(s) 2000; Running time 8:30 minutes; Country United Kingdom; Belgium; Netherlands; Language no dialogue.

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20002D animationAcademy Awardafterlifeallegoryanimated short filmanimationboatcontemplating mortalitydaughterdeathdramaDutch animationfather • Father and Daughter (2000) • female protagonistfilmhand-illustratedhand-painted stop motion animationillustrative stylelandscapelifelossmemorymetaphor • Michael Dudok De Wit • mortalityNetherlandspathosremembrance • riverbed • seasons • sepia • sepiatone • storywatercolouryoung girl
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