The Uncanny Valley & Video Games

27 10 2008

An editorial at The Wire claims the Nintendo Wii actually benefits from its technical inferiority. The Uncanny Valley is an issue we have discussed before: character models that are almost life like but lack a certain pizzazz that renders them creepy to humans

The E3 trailer for Heavy Rain showed a character that would fall within the Uncanny Valley. See below.

Author Shawn White claims that no Nintendo Wii title will be capable of life like characters (that fall within the Uncanny Valley), thus removing the possibility of protagonists that creep out the character and negating all possible emotional detachment — this is true (as far as we know). However, not all next-generation games will take full advantage of the technology, nor will they all try for life like animation.

Games like Metal Gear Solid 4 have amazing character animations without rendering its audience uneasy. See below.

Essentially, the decision is that of game design, not entirely of hardware — that is the biggest flaw of his argument. It is up to the developers to realize when a character design is lifeless and creepy. Some developers may try for naturalism with Wii games — is it really wise to say the Wii will probably fail?




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