The Girl and the Robot ruins its own fairy tale

I feel like I’ve been playing this game all my life. I check the time—I’ve been trapped in this particular hell for probably two hours longer than necessary. And it’s all been on the same boss fight, running in seemingly endless circles as a small girl and her robot guardian. For a moment, I ponder the sweet quiet of death. Either mine, or the evil witch lady and her equally villainous robot friend that are pummeling me into the ground. Whatever comes first, really. For a game with its sights set on the solemn adventures of Ico (2001) and the…

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild

An iconic anime permeates The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Acclaimed animator Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) is a story of learning to live in harmony with nature—without destroying it. It’s whimsical and heartfelt, an unmatched adventure fantasy unlike any other animated film of its time. Nausicaä predated the continued magic that animation powerhouse Studio Ghibli (co-founded by Miyazaki) has produced over the years, including Miyazaki’s consistent environmentalist-focused fantasies and the low-key realism of Isao Takahata works. It stands as one of the single-most influential animated films of all-time. In the first full-trailer and gameplay footage of Nintendo’s highly anticipated The Legend of Zelda: Breath of…

Mable & the Wood

Pixel art exploration game gets its moral ambiguity from Studio Ghibli films

Mable & the Wood is a 2D exploration game about a young red-haired girl with the ability to transform into other creatures. The idea is to get her through the titular colorful woods. However, the more you use the girl’s powers, the more you take from the forest, slowly destroying it—regardless, it’s the only way to reach some areas, and it’s the only way to beat the enemies you meet. The idea behind the game was born in April 2015, as it was made for the Ludum Dare game jam that month, which carried the theme “An Unconventional Weapon,” hence the shape-shifting. Now…


The beauty of Hayao Miyazaki and VHS glitches

The first time I ever watched Princess Mononoke (1997) was on a grainy bootleg from a relative. I was a kid, maybe nine-years-old, but the otherwise beautiful film’s terrible quality was ingrained in my psyche. Since I was only nine, its fuzziness didn’t bother me. It wasn’t until I was much older, and more appreciative of the crisp existence of blu-rays, that I was able to rewatch the film and re-fall in love with it all over again. Still, that first grainy take on the film rests as my first “true” experience with a Hayao Miyazaki film, and was my gateway…


Explore the dense world of Spirited Away in 8-bit theater

“I do believe in the power of story. I believe that stories have an important role to play in the formation of human beings, that they can stimulate, amaze and inspire their listeners.” – Hayao Miyazaki The above quote could easily apply to any of the stories woven by Miyazaki and his animation studio, Studio Ghibli, which have been formative to so many people across the globe. Visual artists in particular have used the storyteller’s colorful worlds to inform their own original work and tributes. From woodblock prints to art nouveau, artists have translated the Japanese filmmaker’s stories into other…