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Archive for October, 2009

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I’m usually not a big fan of video games. I mean, I play them – when I have time…if I have time…when I USED to have time. But the standard 3D graphics have gotten stale to me. There’s something about the ‘shininess’, the surreal amount of texture detail, the hang-up on recreating reality (Look how real it looks!  Who cares? Have you ever looked at a  Van Eyck? He had hyper-surrealism/hyperrealism down in the 15th century. )

And I am not a fan of Flash as a development platform, an animation tool or whatever Adobe wants to sell it as this week. I do some work in Flash. But I rarely find it the ideal tool for anything other than hyperactive, marketing driven websites where the first thing you do is turn off the music, turn off the animation and try and find an HTML version where you can at least bookmark specific links… ANYWAY, the following post deals with a video game that’s done in Flash. So much for my cranky dislikes.

I saw this game on the Apple download page and decided to look into it and it’s really quite a cool game. The free demo works on OSX. The game play is pretty inspired. It’s not HALO – thank goodness – the body count isn’t the defining accomplishment but it’s fun to interact with, inspiring to look at and I wasted some time with it and it felt good!

amanitadesign_2

The company is from the Czech Republic (Is it still called a Republic?) . Their website is here and they have some fun point-and-shoot type games (look under FLASH GAMES at the top of the page). They all feature inspired art direction, intriguing character design and innovative interaction with the scenes. Wonderful, fanciful illustrated worlds that feature a great deal of humanity in the art. They give me a real sense of seeing things from another human beings perspective. And that, for me, is usually a defining factor in what makes Art. Show me something about how you perceive the world. It doesn’t have to LOOK like the ‘real’ world. In fact,  don’t let the real world interfere if you have a strong enough vision. That’s why this work feels special to me. 99% of video games out there have no interest in presenting a point of view that resonates beyond what we precieve as ‘reality’. Even the most ridiculous, outlandish constructs in video games are rendered with the upmost care to make sure they look JUST LIKE WHAT WE SEE all the time.

This company has been doing work for quite some time and once again I am behind the times. Nothing new in discovering that. But it’s new to me and I really enjoyed it.

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A review of The Book That Eats People in Publishers Weekly. They call it the greatest book ever made, EVER. The best story ever told, EVER. And the most amazing looking book ever…OK. I lie.

They don’t say that. But they give it a very good review and, once again, don’t make fun of the illustrations which means I can sleep a little easier.

Publishers Weekly Review of The Book That Eats People.

And here is the review if you don’t want to ‘click’ or ‘jump’ or ‘hyperlink’ or whatever you kids do now days on the internet tubes.

The Book That Eats People John Perry, illus. by Mark Fearing. Tricycle, $15.99 (38p) ISBN 978-1-58246-268-4
From the grim warning on the first page (“CAUTION! This is a book that eats people”) to the advice at the end (“Never read this book with syrupy fingers. Never read it with cookies in your pocket. Never turn your back on it”), Perry’s debut soldiers on with a Lemony Snicket–like straight face. The histories of the book’s previous victims are given in gory detail (“Sammy pulled as hard as he could, but the book ate him. Then it coughed up his bones and they clattered across the floor like wooden blocks”). Fearing draws the book-within-a-book with blood-red covers, heavy-lidded eyes and a mouthful of fangs, packing his collage spreads with torn and crumpled papers (which take on an especially gruesome vibe in this context). Perry also covers the book’s perverse appetites (“if you hear a sound like an octopus in a tub of yogurt, that’s the book’s empty stomach”), tactics (it “traded covers” with a book called All About Dolphins, to the delight of one young Victoria Glassford) and eventual (if ineffectual) incarceration. It’s all irresistible. Read it. Carefully. All ages. (Oct.)

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There’s an interview with John Perry, author of The Book That Eats People, and me – the illustrator posted at the 7 Impossible Things website. There’s also some other art samples posted. I didn’t say anything too dumb. I think. I hope.

7 Impossible Things – The Book That Eats People

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The author of The Book That Eats People offers a video about the dangers of the book.

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