The Next Big Drive: Gaming Transforms Itself Again
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"The game entertainment expansion simply gives animators many more options throughout their career paths," says Oddworld's Lanning. "Not that long ago, if you were an animator you either worked on Saturday morning shows or you worked on feature films. Game animation has greatly expanded the traditional industries, creating an entire new industry of opportunity."

After many months of development, the Oddworld franchise switched platforms from the Playstation 2 to the X-Box. © Oddworld Inhabitants.
Top selling console game, Tony Hawke Pro Skater 2. © Activision, Inc. All rights reserved.

One thing that stays consistent from genre to genre is that game animation requires that animators have all the classic skills in their toolbox. The ability to draw and animate, add lighting and texturing are talents that cannot necessarily be learned. However, the technical aspects of getting a drawing from paper to game machines can be learned.

"The most valuable people are the ones that have nurtured their classic talents, have persevered through technological limitations and ultimately manifest great work in spite of technological shackles," Lanning says. "Many of the most talented animators coming out of schools today are also gamers and they are heading straight to the game industry. For computer animators, nobody who's hiring cares if they worked on games, movies or TV. The determining factor is the quality of their work. If their animation is great, it will be great for any industry."

At the end of the game, the final story is that gaming is a valid commercial medium that will not be discounted by academia, the mainstream media or the entertainment industry for long.

A bit of on-line surfing shows that almost every game and console developer has some on-line interactivity element already, with all of them promising more as the next gen platforms and broadband entertainment delivery options expand.

Inspired from the popular Pokémon franchise, Nintendo's N64 unit called Pikachu Nintendo 64. Photo courtesy of, Feature Photo Service.

Gaming has been with us, in one way or another, for a very long time, and according to Pearce, it's not liable to go away anytime soon. "Just like rock 'n' roll, which was similarly discounted, it is a cultural force that will not go away and is going to become increasingly important as broadband entertainment grows."

Jacquie Kubin, a Washington, DC-based freelance journalist, enjoys writing about the electronic entertainment and edutainment mediums, including the Internet. She is a frequent contributor to the Washington Times and Krause Publication magazines. She has won the 1998 Certificate of Award granted by the Metropolitan Area Mass Media Committee of the American Association of University Women.


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