Monday, 23 March 2009

Creativity, part II

This blog is a follow-up to our previous discussions on creativity. Last time, we established that creativity is a means of producing original ideas which have value, i.e. a purpose, or are highly skilled. It is something that applies to every role or career, and should be encouraged and nurtured to develop from early on in a person’s life. Applied specifically to art and design, a piece of work is generally considered to be 'art' if it either shows a highly refined skill, or evokes some emotion in the viewer of the piece. Then in theory, art should be accessible to anyone with no room for elitism, but we know that's not the case.

After doing some research as to what other people define as creativity, specifically within video games, I came across this article which cited Little Big Planet as a game which stood out concerning Sony’s creativity, as opposed to Playstation Home which wasn’t as successful as it’s competitors. I've only played LBP game recently, and although the concept of a side-scrolling platform game isn’t original anymore, there are small aspects that stood out such as the variety of minigames, and how you can ‘stamp’ your character and home with pictures or animated objects, or how you can control your character’s individual limbs and expressions. The whole visual style of the game has a sort of universal appeal which has attracted a variety of age groups of both genders.

I liked how the game tries to promote creativity, though the limitations do provide the easy option of making random choices rather than creating ‘original content’. Although this does seem to be possible, it isn’t the main focus or most accessible part of the game, and is more evident in games like ‘Drawn to Life’ for the DS. I also appreciated how LBP didn’t have an obvious bias towards either gender, which is a step towards getting rid of the mentality of ‘girls’ games and boys’ games [although, I think most of these are fine for young kids].

It’s also stated that the best ideas are ‘coincidental’, are usually simple, and have a tendency to stick with you. There is a problem with this theory when it comes to real life, as the ideas you come up with entirely off your own back, as a passing or reoccurring thought, are usually so personal only you yourself would find them interesting. There’s a very low possibility of these types of ideas actually appealing to other people and being recognised as valuable. Valuable ideas are formed by reworking these passing thoughts over and over, by doing research, and surrounding yourself with similar things. That’s why being surrounded by other creative people doing a similar thing to you at University is more motivating than being at home, and keeping up with the art scene and games industry is beneficial, I think, as it is usually quite inspirational. I think it’s important to be critically aware of the industry you want to go into [conerning games, this is something I need to work on].

On a slightly related note, if anyone’s interested in Superflat, I watched a short animation recently by Studio 4 °C, who are probably one of the best commercial studios right now, in my opinion. Their stuff has this amateur feel to it which reminds me of indie festival style anime. Thought I'd share!

Director is Daisuke Nakayama, this one really does look like a hiphop-influenced Imaishi [Dead Leaves, Diebuster]. I do spend quite a lot of time watching cartoons, so when something stands out from the 90% of rubbish Japan produces, I get excited. I’ve never actually wanted to be an animation student though, I know I get too caught up on the small details to churn out the amount of storyboarding, etc that’s required. Of course, Game Art is probably more difficult..!


toma li said...

ZOMG thts cool, never heard of 4 degrees before but ive been outta the loop a bit.

watching that makes me wonder why they havent made a tank girl animation, their styling has hewlett written all over it.

good find tho.

Doyora said...

I love studio 4°C

this is great. I hope it becomes a full series.