Sonic the Hedgehog- it’s a name that ignites the passionate hearts of the past and future. A mascot with attitude, he first appeared in the 1992 Sega Genesis game Sonic the Hedgehog. Then he appeared again in Sonic 2. Then in Sonic 3 (and Knuckles!). Then on the Dreamcast. Then the Gamecube. Then the Xbox 360/PS3. And then he appeared on the Wii.
You might be able to guess from
the above paragraph that the Sonic franchise has traversed an interesting road
over the years. Trust me when I say “Has it ever!” And not just from the rather
divided road of consoles- the franchise has also endured a war-burnt road from
the divided fanbase. I put emphasis on divided because it truly is.
For though many different desires
emanate from fans as time passes, the one thing the fans wanted more than
anything else was a return to classic style of gameplay. Last year, we KIND OF
got it with Sonic 4. I say kind of because SEGA admittingly swindled fans out
of a certain aesthetic design- that aesthetic design being what Sonic would
look like during the game. I have other opinions about this aesthetic design
choice and the implications behind it, but I’ll save them for another,
So understandably, the older fans
felt cheated, and for awhile, it looked like Sonic’s Genesis-era self woulodn’t
be playable beyond the games he was already in.
That was, until the teaser
trailer for this game came out. Behold, the Sonic Generations trailer awaits.
The trailer starts off with the
SEGA chime that children and people who think like children- such as myself-
grew to love and remember. Cut to an extreme longshot of a white space, with
absolutely nothing of consequence- until Sonic just jets in to this nowhere. An
extreme closeup of Sonic follows up, during which Sonic runs up to a whiting
Green Hill and jumps from ground-to-cliff-to-cliff-to-top-of-cliff.
As soon as he lands on the cliff,
the camera zooms in for a close-up. Then he runs through a tunnel, the camera behind
him as he slides under the crack. After that, we get a shot of Sonic going from
a slide to his continued jog. The camera then proceeds to both pan left and
zoom out to an extreme longshot of Sonic running to a loop-de-loop. For not
even one second, the camera shows a side view of the loop-de-loop, then
switches to a close-up of Sonic running up and jumping off the ramp (A backshot
And when Sonic jumps off the
ramp, in mid-air, in slo-mo, next to him…is his past self from the Genesis era.
The camera continues with a
zooming in close-up on the ground of this miracle, then a side view, then
extreme close-ups of the two Sonics giving each other a happy look, and
finally, a longshot of them slowing down, then speeding up. Then, the logo for
the game appears.
The day I heard about the trailer,
I couldn’t believe it. So I went on Youtube. And I believed. I found it
mysterious how Green Hill Zone looked so….white. (I’m not racist towards
video-game settings!) And the reveal of Genesis Sonic near the end…it just made
me happy. It made me reconnect my heart to the past and promised a great
future for the game and this franchise.
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Old people…what’s with them? They’re like a cracked mirror- they share traits with something, yet the image is distorted. Specifically, it’s young children that they reflect the heart, but not the body of. They make themselves noticeable when they feel the situation calls for it. It amuses people, surely, but it still looks unusual.
If only there was a person of immense age who could bring news of fun. Shkle would have to manipulate others into trusting shkler with minimum effort. The person would have to bring the fun and inspire others to boogie. Alas, there lives no-one with those attributes.Oh, other than the Six Flags guy, of course. His commercials hypnotize a sense of fun into the viewers. Commercials such as this one.
The video starts with an extreme high-ish angle longshot of a random neighborhood, a boy throwing newspapers on the lawns of many. A quick montage of many people doing chores plays, almost all of the shots being medium longshots. It changes when a mysterious bus stops by, to the longshot suspicion of a fat guy mowing the lawn.After the bus stops, a close-up of our main character’s hand commences. Then a close-up of his feet is shown. The commercial finally cuts the crap and has a longshot of the main character, the elderly Six Flags Guy (SFG), slowly wobbling out of the bus. As he walks closeup to the camera, afraid, a low angle close-up of a speaker commences, to the puzzled faces of two kids.
Then the song actually starts, and the viewing audience cries in terror as SFG suddenly becomes happy-very, very happy. SFG starts having a psychotic episode as he dances in a longshot in front of his bus. For some reason, this infuriates the black people. Soon however, the many angled shots of SFG’s dance brainwash the neighborhood and its boobs into entering his bus. SFG continues his entrancing boogie aboard the bus, as a longshot can attest to. Eventually, the abducted neighbors arrive to just a normal longshot of themselves exiting the bus and entering the arch marking the entrance to the park.At the park, the camera gives us close-ups of SFG enjoying the roller and belt-buckle chair-only coasters, as well as longshots of him on the teacups and water ride. SFG proceeds to possess the cahona needed to take a picture of the goddamn Batman, and possesses the gall to give an aside glance to the close-up camera. After a few longshots of him on other rides, the SFG demonstrates that no, he’s not above hypnotizing his Looney tunes friends to his beat. It all ends with a gradual zoom-out of an extreme longshot of SFG hypnotizing the entire park.
This commercial- just, wow and whoa. I just love the faces the guy makes, whether they happen as the song starts, or as he hangs out with the Warner Brother and DC Comic characters, or heck, when he’s on the actual rides! SFG and his actor help realize the message that anyone can have fun no matter what age they are, and that we’re not so different from each other in wanting to have fun.
Monday, March 19, 2012
The casual audience is attracted to violence. There’s no mistake about that. Why else would there be video game after sport after gripping novel that involves graphic detail, however quick or slow, dealing with battling others physically? The art of talking out problems, while providing more of a chance of settling things, just isn’t as visually intriguing as a high-action battle to save oneself.
What am I yarning on about? It would be the first Gears of War game which I bring forefront today.
The casual audience is also attracted to heavy music, like rock’n’roll. Several bands suckered by certain bigwig stat-gatherers rip their hearts and strings out, playing note after note, sacrificing their livelihood for the sole purpose of entertaining others. Among them, rock gets the heart pumped quicker than a gas station pumps a heart. The quiet, classic stuff, meanwhile, appears the sole target of past generations.Violence and rock in roll appear to go hand-in-hand, from what can be gleamed from the last two paragraphs. This exciting enclave even has the potential to make movie trailers exciting, or violent video game trailers awesomer. There’s one violent video game whose trailer makes due with more poignant music…and it works better than rock does.
What am I yarning on about? It would be the first Gears of War game which I bring forefront today.
It begins with a longshot of a soldier, tilting from his feet to his entire body. The soldier runs by the camera closely, and the camera pans around to a backshot of him. The next view positions the camera from an aerial, high-angle view of him running through the city.The view shifts to within a destroyed building, a panning longshot of the soldier running by, as a mysterious creature rises from its nap. Back outside, we first get a frontal medium shot of the soldier, then a zooming extreme longshot from his view. Cue eventual panning longshot of the soldier jumping into the building. Then a close up of him recovering and raising his head to see…
…a longshot of a pincerless arachnid rising from an abyss of the dark. It quickly cuts back to the soldier’s point of view, before the camera decides on an extreme longshot that zooms out as the soldier battle the ferocious freak mano-a-arachno.If this were a normal commercial for a normal violent game, there would be a rock track playing. Instead, setting itself apart from other commercials, a different, melancholy song plays…”Mad World”, by Micheal Andrews and Gary Jules. Or rather, a remake of the song plays. It certainly fits the somber craziness of the characters and world in the commercial. It also fills me with dread at what waits in the game being advertised. In other words, an artist can make any work of art give off any emotion with the right tools.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Kids say the darndest things. Or is it darnest things? Come to think of it, kids do the darnest things. We as a society let our kids do what they want, though, because it believes they don’t know any better. And when it comes to babies, society will let them make others feel bad directly, so long as the baby looks adorable doing it. Case in point? Charlie, the baby who bites siblings for no reason.
The whole video is shot from a medium-high angle, encompassing a medium shot of the toddler, Harry, and his baby brother, Charlie. At first, Harry is gleeful for his baby brother’s continuing existence, even saying the name of the video happily. Charlie then proceeds to give the most badass roar any piece of filming equipment has captured on the planet. This display of survival of the fittest gives Harry the not-so-bright idea to endanger his life by putting his finger into the mouth of the beast.
This does not go well for the boy.
For when he placed his finger in his baby brother’s mouth, Charlie began to bite around. The bite gradually got harder. Harry tried to fight this spurt of pain at first, but eventually, he cried in pain for his damaged fingers.
And when Charlie turns his head around to see the face of emotional trauma on his brother’s face, what does he do? Why, he laughs about it, like a murderer laughing about someone’s death. Twisting the knife even further, at first Charlie almost looks bad about his vile crime of hurting his family member, but then, almost as quickly, he proceeds to laugh even harder.
It doesn’t end there. Harry looks as though he hopes Charlie was kidding about it, reminding his baby brother about the pain of the body and betrayal…and then, seconds later, Charlie attempts to gorge once again on his unfortunate, oblivious victim.
But you know what? For all the awkward talks that are sure to happen in the future for these two youths, it’s still precious to see two youngsters hang out with each other. It also serves as a reminder of what Harry and Charlie will do to weave the future in front of them. This is all I can say for them: keep your sense of optimism, Harry, and use those teeth wisely, Charlie.
Monday, March 12, 2012
If I recall correctly, I talked a bit about the Nintendo 3DS commercial earlier on this blog. Nintendo sure crafted quite a work of mechanical art, with the 3DS’ weird screen and the commercials morbid sense of humor. With a sense of inventiveness like this, Nintendo’s advertising future is sure to be one of success.
Nintendo’s past in terms of commercials bears no colds, either. When they want to brainwash their costumers into wanting their products a lot, Nintendo makes commercials showing children wanting said products. One of these commercials involved their prime mascot, Mario. The product in question that deserved advertising was none other than the Game Boy Advance remake of Super Mario Bros. 3. And boy does this commercial get across how desirable it is to have this game.
It starts off with an extreme close-up of a clock. Jump cut to a zooming-out extreme longshot of a teacher, aghast, in an empty classroom.
The commercial then cuts to outside, where the parents await their children with open arms…only for the kids to JUMP OVER THEM. Cue a close-up of one father, confused and frightened of his child’s demonic abilities.
Another extreme longshot establishes the armada of kids beginning their run through the city. A low angle shot from within a van frightens car collectors as one kid uses it for jump air. We then arrive at a very low angle shot of all the kids jumping from roof to roof, followed by an angled longshot in the subway.
After more extreme longshots, the third one from the air, we get a close-up of a store owner slowly turning around after putting up a sign. His eyes are greeted by a panning longshot of many costumers wearing Mario masks. It all ends with footage from the game.
This commercial is just over the top. All those kids, rampaging through the city, just to get their hands on a Game Boy Advance remake of an NES game…something about that just brings me a smile. I also liked pretty much every adult characters’ reaction to the behaviour of the hooligans. Especially the confused father. Here’s to hoping that more Nintendo based commercials are made this way.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Quick: what’s the first thing that tells you the identity of a given company? C’mon, tell me what it is. Don’t be shy. Any day now. I’m waiting.
OK, maybe I should give my inhumble perspective as to what makes me remember a company: it’s the products they sell. If I like a product, I tell people all about it. Depending on what the product is, I even let others try it out. Products that fail to meet the expectations of the many, however, get their reputation spread further than peanut butter in a lake, courtesy of me.
It’s impossible to deny that another kind of unique creation gives consumers the ability to tell which company makes which product. This creation would take the form of the logo. Because they are meant, by nature, to distinguish one company’s wares from another, logos take on shapes that reflect the company agenda, and say a lot about what kind of products a company intends to sell. They are, truth be told, characters of a sort.
But though these logos help to make each company line unique, a common question lends itself to discussion: what would happen if these logos were characters slash entities in a crafted fictional world? Artists have wondered this for decades, but until the advent of the internet, we never received an answer.
Then someone did…in France. Thankfully, they put it on Youtube, so now, many can have a laugh at the mania and commercialism of LOGORAMA.
This animated short gave me quite a laugh in how the logos & mascots weave into the world; from the MGM lion serving as a main zoo attraction, to the Big Boy acting like nothing more than a spoiled brat, the Michelin Marshmallow guy keeping the peace as police officers, and Ronald McDonald as a two-cent criminal. There’s even a great gag involving the Jolly Green Giant & a tilting low angle shot, which serve to create a hilarious joke I’m surprised no-one else thought up before this.
Many medium close ups serve to highlight the character’s reactions to a certain event that begins occuring at the end of the short, creating a sense of care & sympathy (and maybe empathy) from the audience. I found myself especially frightened by an extreme closeup of Ronald McDonald’s face when his story arc takes a turn for the better as he finds some leverage for his situation. Several extreme longshots accompany the many locations, such as the bushy zoo, sprawling city & desert-like countryside, highlighting their many unique features and creating the feeling of an authentic world. One of the best shots in the short involves an extreme longshot that continually zooms not in, but out.
There’s no way anyone could watch this and say no care went into making it. Because that would be a lie. And lying about someone’s identity, especially that of a company, is bad.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Art evolves. First, humans had the simple 2D image. Then, we had a sequence of moving 2D images. After that, we invented stuff like the camera and editing programs to create interesting worlds that we could be immersed in, within the second dimension.
Things got real after that, when people got the great idea to introduce the third dimension as an extra source of room for entertainment. Of course, limitations existed. Ridiculous glasses of scientifically explainable, yet physically unfashionable structure were needed to decipher the third dimension within entertainment outlets. It’s a surprise that not much was said of 3D contact lenses.
Which we didn’t need, funny enough. For in summer 2010, in Los Angelos, at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, in the centre room, on front stage, six feet from Nintendo of America’s president Reggie Fils-Aimes (Fees-uh-mes), a giant screen introduced a device that could show 3D without any help from extraneous glassware.
That device? The Nintendo 3DS.
This trailer? A work of exciting horror.
It all begins like all good stories do- with the President of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata, playing video games in an abyss of white. He looks on down from a high angle, proud of the power that he possesses, not just as the highest member of the biggest video game company in the world, but also as the player.
Then Mario emerges from the 3DS, like a panda surfacing from water.
Satoru is amused at first, the medium shot providing him much comfort, but then the fat, yet tiny, plumber pops a mustache upon him and dives back in to the 3DS to avoid losing his lives. With his terrifying plumber powers, Mario then telepathically controls the machine and drags Satoru in with him, leaving behind a high angle medium shot of the 3DS looking innocent of its crime.
Cue the master of creating video games, Shigeru Miyamoto, entering the scene, a medium close-up examining his suspicion of the room or dimension, whatever it is. He finds the 3DS in the chair, and during a series of shots that settle on a close-up, a dog emerges and jumps upon its prey, bringing Miyamoto great joy and happiness.
And then the dog brings Shigeru terror as it drags him with it back into the world of the 3DS.
This is followed up with, in general, close-ups and longshots of the 3DS vomiting out items from various Nintendo games. An extreme longshot ensues when, just after retaining an immobile position, Reggie Fils-Aimes enters the room, optimistic yet confused as to how these props came into the room without a delivery truck. As if to answer, the 3DS belches some coins and a Mushroom.
Reggie picks up the 3DS, and he laughs as his Japanese coworkers run for their real life from the furious claws of King Bowser Morton Koopa in a backwards-trucking longshot. This burns him to three degrees when the King of Monstrous Turtles emerges from the 3DS in a shot transtioning from a medium shot to a high-ish angled close-up, having presumably eaten Miyamoto and Satoru.
This commercial was, and still is, phenominal. At lot of Nintendo stuff is referenced. All the actors react to the CGI effects and other SFX believably, which is amazing considering their main profession isn’t acting. Of course, I can’t forget, how the commercial makes light of the 3DS’ immersion in such a fun, yet literal way. This commercial convinced me I would get sucked in to the experience.
Sometimes, we all need a laugh to distract us from the surrounding misery. Other times, we get bogged down with obstruction and wish things were simple. Therefore, when obstruction appears and misery swipes at us maliciously, we need the ultimate solution: a simple laugh. Thankfully, this video can provide it.
It all begins with a medium longshot from behind the subject in question. It stares, beyond, wondering, thinking, scheming. Then, almost suddenly, it turns around, the camera zooming in for a close-up of the true insanity that it bears upon its face. That is the very definition of a dramatic chipmunk.
This combination of camera movement, as well as the species of the subject in question, combines to make a terrifying demon force. The music then transforms terror into laughter, making this nightmare feel over-the-top, therefore not able to be taken seriously, and therefore relaxing. The laughs continue to pile up when the beasty stares at the camera for a prolonged amount of time, making the viewer wonder what's going on. All this, in 5 seconds.