Wednesday, September 25, 2013

They say - Bad Influence. I say - Inspiration.

From Jack Thompson, FOX News, and recently - my country's (Malaysia) media. From time to time again whenever violence occurs, they'd point fingers to video games. Most notably with Grand Theft Auto as the primary suspect.

" I told my mom that we're going to library to study. Tee-hee~"

 I remember back in the 90s, the world was shocked and awed by an extremely violent video game that made parents, the media and parents of media people drop their jaws. The game featured the ability to tear off limbs, impale people on spikes and shit loads of blood that could fill a swimming pool. That game was Midway's Mortal Kombat. Parents warned their kids not to go to the arcades to play Mortal Kombat and banned them from purchasing a home console copy of the game. Still, they did it anyway (exhibit A: moi).
But looking back, the gore of yesteryear's gaming was very cartoon-y and quite laughable. Also interesting to point out that the media and parents did not say anything about Wolfenstein or Doom which was released even earlier than Mortal Kombat.


Indeed, video games gives you the sense of experiencing what we can never do in real life but that doesn't necessarily have to do with only violence. Role playing, exploration, fantasy, adventure, horror, simulation and so forth. There's plenty of elements that makes a video game what it is, but the most common one that gets nit-picked is always violence.

In reality, gamers see more than meets the eye whenever they dive into gaming. For me, its inspiration.

I'm a graphic designer (in before "generic gamer profession ever!"), and most of my designs are influenced from gaming. The art direction that comes with the game are done by extremely talented people of the industry. From character design to interface design - all these gave me great sense of inspiration for my creative work. These inspire me to keep up, innovate or try harder.

While game graphics are always the eye catcher, I look more into the detail. From the architecture, colour selection, fashion, fictional or existing cultural references and influences, user interface and even in-game graphic designs. Most video games are rich in these details and almost impossible for me to ignore.

Bioshock and Fallout provides a retrospective feel to its world and its interesting to see how modern designers imitate retro-like poster and commercial item designs for the games.

Source: Pre-war search engine called "Google"

Futuristic/Sci-Fi games such as Wipeout and Deus Ex extends one's imagination on how future graphic and interface designs would look like while maintaining the current modern-style design.

Wipeout's futuristic influence is much more unique. In the 90s -The Designer's Republic, the creative team behind the original Wipeout actually imagined how graphic design might look like in the future. Although its not 2048 yet, but for a mid-90s design, they totally nailed how designs look like in the 21st century - single to three tone colours and minimalist. Even in the current time, Wipeout's graphic design is still great to look at.

Behold! Graphic design porn!

The user interface used in games are generally inspiring. I loved the futuristic art style and interface designs in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Persona 3 and 4's user interface is much more pop, funky, cheerful and colourful. Gran Turismo's has a more sleek, modern and technical taste to it.

Yes, this is a screenshot of a loading screen.

Mirror's Edge had a lot of great architectural, colour and graphic design influence. Bright colours upon an isolation of whites. Minimalist at its finest. The city, the posters, billboards and logos was a feast for my eyes.

Keep running. I'm sure theres a M somewhere in all the C, Y and K.

Character design also provide plenty of inspiration for me. The uniqueness and detail of the costume, accessories and weapons. Hyung Tae-Kim's design is one of my biggest influences and his sense of bizarre yet unique costume design is brilliant. All of his characters are distinguishable on their own and have their own appeal.

HTK's designs is most likely an after effect from taking shit loads of LSD

An interesting note on my behalf aka THE MOMENT YOU ALL BEEN WAITING FOR - bizarre and uniqueness has its limits and the one that's trying too hard with his designs is Tetsuya Nomura. I've always hated most of his designs. His designs varies from being overly ridiculous (BELT N ZIPPERS! oh and have you seen Lightning's new costumes lately?) and to totally uninspired (place Snow Villiers and Seifer next to each other). His imagination is built from belts, zippers, one face template, recyclable-but-don't-make-it-too-obvious fashion, light grey and emotional facebook status updates which he later used to base his characters upon.

Left - Snow Villiers, Right - Seifer Almasy ....wait

Its not the blood, the massacre, the gunfire or the car jacking that made me who I am and what my career path is today - Its the beautiful details found in these games. These treasures hidden in plain sight and usually ignored. Treasures consisting of art and design.

And if asked during an interview or a regular conversation, I will answer that my major source of inspiration for my design and artwork has always been video games.

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