Learning from Disney to tell human stories through animal characters

Propelled by nature and elemental attributes, Quench’s tale of animal pilgrimage is actually ruled by human traits. It features a guidance system built around weather controls—tremors, wind gusts, and the like—that’s supported with flexible puzzle design. Different actions can surmount the same hazard, impacted by herd size, enemy presence, time constraints, and manually-recharged power. There are also consequences tied to each choice—the most obvious: indiscriminate use of lightning will start fires—with subtle effects tailored to each tribe (Elephant, Wildebeest, Zebra, and others). The creators at Axon Interactive hope a philosophy of openness will pave the way for emergent applications of…


Tron and its lasting vision of cyberspace

This is a preview of an article you can read on our new website dedicated to virtual reality, Versions. /// Here’s a fair question: How can a bomb from 1982 continue to impact the way we imagine cyberspace? It’s always grids and neon—synths and geometric shapes. When Homer Simpson found himself in this virtual dimension, surrounded by cones, equations, and clip art, he asked if anyone had ever seen the movie Tron. One by one, the residents of Springfield said “No.” Released the same year Disney opened up their futurist edutainment EPCOT park, Tron impressed critics but failed to speak to…

The Little Mermaid

New study outlines gender inequality in movie dialogue

When film critics discuss the limited types of roles available to women, it can be tempting to try to debunk their arguments by listing counter-examples. “What about Ellen Ripley?” one might say. “What about Furiosa?” Unfortunately, a few well-written roles cannot make up for an overwhelming systemic disparity. The difficulty with this type of counter-argument is that it assumes an all-or-nothing mindset, as if feminists are claiming there are no positive roles for women at all. Rather, feminist critiques often focus on disproportionate lack of opportunity, something that becomes clear in Polygraph’s latest study of how dialogue is distributed among…


The Furry takeover of media

It wasn’t until I was halfway through the Korean visual novel Dandelion – wishes brought to you – (2012), when I had already spent hours trying to get in the pants of a guy who had previously been a black cat, that I began to wonder if I was actually a Furry. Jisoo, the object of my affection in Dandelion, is not anthropomorphic in the traditional sense; rather, he is either in black cat form or, when under the influence of magic, a human body. Even in his human form, however, he retains his black cat ears, his love of…