In defense of company adage

Recently, I have repeated a few old games, carefully handling the grated slices that have been around for a few years. And what I have discovered is that, at least for me, the games that are best reviewed year after release are usually those that use the artistic style we know as company celebration. Sometimes it is called a display screen, because when using flat and bright colors with black lines in the characters of the characters and objects, the final look looks like a cartoon. As I recall, games with company adherence in the collective imagination continued with the publication of Jet Set Radio in 2000. At that time, it was something so new and so powerful that it attracted attention like & # 39; gimmick, but this is not the case. In fact, the appearance of today seems to be a certain timeless quality.

It's funny how it works. You may think that a game with colors that stand out so much on the screen can be extremely striking, but nothing is further from reality, probably because most blockbusters of the past decade have a gray And having a dim look and making the worlds with past shadows is emotionally more attractive and transformative. I didn't expect it to be in the Jet Set Radio Future 2002 review, one of the funniest weekends I remember playing a video game … since I first played at JSRF.

And not just JSRF, other cell-shading games of the past decade have left a similar impression. Ubisoft's forgotten XIII, based on a Belgian graphic novel published in the 1980s, also looks fresh today. Crazy type cmics overlap the company shadow on key moments in history, and words with onomatopoeia are drawn only when the sound effect sounds, as if we are reading an interactive novel. I have no problems comparing it to other well-known shooters like GoldenEye or Half-Life, especially if they have voice actors like David Duchovny, Eva or Adam West. This is a class product. Capcom also strongly advocates this style, with Killer7 (recently released for PC), the Viewtiful Joe series or the motorsport game with a cell screen Auto Model List.


Cell-shading has a strange effect on video games. Everything becomes a little more convincing, and even a little more spiritual. The Prince of Persia of 2008, for example, was inspired by ancient Zoroastrian religion, basing his faith in a unique and transcendent god and in the presence of an opposite and catholic force. It's not something that is new to a video game, but as each frame looks like a pretty picture, it's much more emotional. The game seems to have a foot in the world of abstraction or metaphor.

And does Jet Set Radio Future play with its big urban environments with sharp lines and brightly colored textures? It made me believe in the reality of a particular Japan, the Japan of my dreams. The bright colors and colors capture the aspects of Japan that I find the most fascinating: urban lighting and dense architecture, the immense complexity and variety of unique influences. JSRF embraces all these tourist dreams and combines them with an energetic and detailed imagination, which makes a flash of reality next to the fantasy of that place.

But the impact transformer of company adoration may be the best example of two installments of the Zelda saga: The Wind Waker and Breath of the Wild. It is difficult to imagine the controversy that caused Windwaker's visual style when the game was first presented. The former Zeldas embraced the abstract gloss of Japanese art, with simple lines and bright colors. The small and stubborn characters in the game, on the other hand, are reminiscent of Japanese animated films from the sixties, such as Wanpaku Ōji no Orochi Taiji, and were very strange to people accustomed to the Ocarina or Time link.


But Wind Waker caught the world of Link even more powerfully than in the previous games, which was slightly more realistic. Your simplified world allows you to lose it more easily. Everything becomes an idealized version of itself; the bright blue ocean, the torches that illuminate like a pin the dark night of a fairy tale.

Zelda will return to company celebration with Breath of the Wild, though the effect may no longer be. If Wind Waker uses cell shading to become abstract and introduce us to the nature of a fairy tale, use Breath of the Wild to get us out of it. With its oscillating grass and its distant mountains, the shades of flat color shaded indicate a corporate approach that approaches Impressionism. It is a world we see through perceptions and perhaps memories. It shows that snakes, often associated with Jet Set Radio's urban skaters, have a depth that goes beyond the beauty of the surface.

In recent years, company adolescents have shown themselves in the games of Telltale Games, but there are signals that other developers are returning to. That's why future titles like Sable, Void Bastards or Manifold Garden are so appealing to me, and it seems we've played a new wave of bats that aren't just limited to customizing cmics.

Meanwhile, you still have to play Jet Set Radio Future as much as you can. It's fun to anger, but it also tells us that the classics we've talked about continue to influence current games, despite how difficult it is to find and play them at times. With an industry increasingly aware of the need to appreciate the art and history of games – and it is even more aware of its possible impact on future creations – corporate recognition is an important reminder that some Ideas that they anchor after a certain time can escape from being fresh and exciting.

Translation by Josep Maria Sempere.

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