Before you even think about reading this post, go check out some pictures of Child of Light on either Miiverse or the internet in general. Get the highest resolution pics you can find, and open them up on your computer. Done it yet? Good. Let’s begin.
Since I was a wee lad, I’ve always loved cartoons. Yes, they’ve evolved over time and my tastes have changed as well – from Robin Hood, to Garfield, to Ninja Turtles, to X-men, to Lion King, to Simpsons, to Rick and Morty, to…..you get the point. 2D animation has been around for a long time, and it has a place in everyone’s hearts in some way. For instance, think of a cartoon Disney movie right now. How long did that take you – about 1 second? The world we live in now is full of computer animation and 3D visual spectaculars to stimulate our senses, and, seemingly, 2D animation is fading into the background.
Video games have become a solid facet of the entertainment market, and if you don’t agree with that, check and see how GTA 5 sold compared to the rest of the market in its entirety. Gaming has become a global phenomenon, spanning oceans and cultures to reach out and inspire our creativity, bringing forth child-like memories to the surface of our mind. In addition to entertaining our minds and testing our hand/eye coordination, gaming has moved into another realm, similar to entertainment, but not necessarily the same: artwork.
The unique characteristic of video games is the combination between interactivity, cinematic quality, and artwork. Enter the reboot of the Rayman series, starting with Origins. Ubisoft created an engine named UbiArt to give an artistic perspective on their goofy games. These games (Origins and Legends) gave the gamers not only amazingly crafted gameplay (interactivity) and immersed them into these fictional worlds, but also gave us something to look at and truly appreciate from an artistic viewpoint. They are beautiful games, with animation and visuals that charm all ages, much like older 2D Disney animated movies. Over the years, games have also grown closer to cinema in some ways – creating active visual art, whether it be live action or animated, and captivating the audience (gamer). Look at some of the most anticipated games last year: Bioshock Infinite, The Last Of Us, and Tomb Raider. What do these games all have in common? They are story driven games that are riddled with creative cuts, edits, and planned storyboards. Sounds a little like what goes into making a film, doesn’t it? Anyway, these games pushed the boundaries of art within a story driven game, and gave a whole new perspective to both gamers and non-gamers. My wife watched me play through the entirety of The Last of Us – she didn’t want to play it, but if I began to play when she wasn’t around to watch, she legitimately was angry with me and told me to wait. She recognized the artistic quality in the game (not just the visual art, mind you), and she enjoyed it greatly. Gaming has grown as an art form over the years, and is beginning to be accepted fully as works of art.
Child of Light is Ubisoft’s latest journey into the UbiArt engine. As soon as the title screen appears, it is clear that the game is gorgeous, and will only continue to grow in its beauty as the gamer progresses. Much like the Rayman games spoken of earlier, the visuals are simply stunning, reminding the gamer of an actual work of art that could be hanging on a wall selling for copious amounts of money. However, where Child of Light differs from those games is that in is incorporating interactivity, art in cinema, and visual/audio art. Child of Light introduces a unique fighting system to set itself apart from other games, and creates a world to explore (and that we actually want to explore); thus giving us interactivity. The game also looks like an animated painting, beautifully drawn out and smoothly constructed, combined with a piano-driven soundtrack that can strike various types of emotions; thus giving us visual/audio art. Finally, where Child of Light excels past the previous UbiArt games is with story-telling and cinematic flair throughout the experience. It is exactly that: an experience. You follow a young girl named Aurora as she grows into womanhood, and experience her story in a way that is artistically mature and well done.
Video games have evolved from a means to simply take our minds off of reality to experiences that can, instead, grip our minds and leave memorable moments we can relate to or share with others. Child of Light is an experience you won’t want to miss, and it is a shining example that 2D animation, if done correctly, will never be obsolete, nor fail to capture our hearts and imaginations.