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Artistically Speaking: The Lovely Art of “A Hat In Time”

Platformers are games where the main appeal is moving a character in a space to get through levels. In this sense, think Mario or Sonic, where the focus of one is his jumps and the other is his speed. Sounds pretty simple and can be but it can also be much more memorable than that. A Hat In Time is exactly that! Taking clear inspiration from platformers that came from the 90’s, it’s a journey where you move a small kid known as Hat Kid through many different worlds to get Time Pieces, for Hat Kid to get home. The game was made by a small company named “Gears for Breakfast” who got crowdfunded by fans of the genre and while usually games that go through that process don’t end up that well, Gears For Breakfast followed through with their plans! The game isn’t perfect but the personality of the game shines brightly like a diamond in the rough. Through the logo alone, you can tell it’ll be a journey to be had.

Hat Kid enjoying the sights of what looks to be a new adventure!

The goal of the game is to collect hourglasses known as “Time Pieces” to help Hat Kid get home. First, you go through Mafia Town, a small island that is overrun with big burly men who constantly refer to themselves as the “mafia”. Their design is based on mafia men in Italian culture, albeit a very goofy interpretation of them. They wear an apron, blue suits, sometimes a red tie and they’re bald. They don’t do much to stick out from one another which may very well be the point, ringing true to an actual mafia. But they are nice ways to incorporate what an enemy is to Hat Kid. They tend to only bully the residents and Hat Kid in small ways but also are admirable in their own way, attacking you when you’ve attacked them and are willing to talk to you in some cases. 

The title card of every level shows a bit of personality of Hat Kid and the situations she gets in to.

On the note of designs, Hat Kid’s is a very unique one. She wears a mostly purple attire which definitely helps differentiate her from other 3D Platformer mascots. A top hat with a coat, it has a distinct yellow cape and an oversized zipper, beige pants and little brown boots. If you weren’t really looking at her, it would all feel natural. But that’s the brilliant part, none of what she’s wearing feels out of place, despite her being a female. Often in cases like these, the main female character has a bow, a dress and other accessories that make her feel like a little girl. But Hat Kid feels comfortable to look at while not wearing traditionally known female clothing. And just like most of the other designs within this game, it portrays exactly who that character is. Like Mustache Girl for example, she’s a small girl in the game just like Hat Kid, which makes you feel safe but when she decides to fight against you for the rest of the game, you realize she’s the exact opposite of you. She has the same distinct yellow features as you but wears red to signify her more oppressive and rude undertones.

After the first boss, Hat Kid and Mustache Girl convene with one another as the Mafia runs away.


I’m only talking about the character design but I promise there is so much more to love about this game. From the worlds, to the music, to the even cuter details down the line, it all comes together all to help you love what many loved about older games before it. And I’m so happy this game is much more than just a homage. 

A little collage of stickers I collected of Hat Kid and me making her look like a worn out crazed old lady.

Monday Media Minute: Manyland

This one might be more than a minute… not that I ever count how long it should take to read these things. Anyways, the other day, I was watching one of my favorite Youtube animators known as Spicevipe. He has an original series known as RTTMOT (I’m not telling you what that means) and at the end of one of his videos, he left a link to a website called Manyland.com. At first, I thought it was something he created specifically for fans of the show, so I went and explored it. I got lost and was also very confused on what I was supposed to be doing. A lot of directions were thrown at me and I didn’t understand any of them but I knew two things: I had an avatar and that I wanted a new avatar. I went searching for anything to change my skin and slowly I realized that this world was much bigger than I had imagined. 

Manyland is a user-made website where you can create pretty much anything you want. One thing I did was just travel onward for hours and I could not see an end for as long as I was on. It’s mostly an endless vast space of creativity from artists all around the world and it truly feels like you’re travelling through the internet. It’s amazing seeing all the things young artists have created understanding the website. I couldn’t at all but if you’d like to explore it like me, here’s a link: http://manyland.com/ 

Artistically Speaking: The Mitchells vs The Machines

One animation studio that has really stood out in the crowd of others has been Sony Animation Studios. They’ve created plenty of animated movies before but in recent years, especially after the release of “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” they have been able to create such amazing movies that are astounding to look just as they are memorable, and that’s no different with their most recent entry “The Mitchells vs The Machines”. It’s a movie that has such a creative take on standard movie films like this, and you can just feel all of the love pouring out of it. 

It’s about a girl named Katie and her family going on a road trip to her new college (prompted by her utterly misunderstanding dad) which gets interrupted by the robot apocalypse. Using their overall weirdness and a plethora of purposely outdated memes, they fight against the forces of technology to save the world. 

I think this movie is particularly amazing because it uses meme culture appropriately and also definitely represents an accurate depiction of what any weird person is like. Moments of awkward silences and (while cat related things on the internet in media is overused) cat filters on just the right places make it feel like this movie was made for people of our generation. Like it was made for me! 

Hi, local weird person here, and I have to say that I really enjoyed this movie because of how none of its charm felt like it was forced into the movie. Don’t get me wrong, the plot of the movie is pretty generic and hits some of those standard family film tropes, it’s the characters and scenarios that create a magical experience. So if you have Netflix, go watch it and make sure to be ready for some nostalgia and a bit of cringe, because this movie’s really that relatable.

Artistically Speaking: New Characters In Persona 5 Strikers

Have you ever seen something great and wanted to see what could make it greater? There’s plenty of aspects that can make any sort of media even better, and one of those things is adding new characters to your media. New characters open up to new perspectives on the same story and add to a formula that could make it work or fix it entirely. 

Persona 5 Strikers preview: A thrilling new adventure for even new fans |  Windows Central

In Persona 5 Strikers, we follow the journey of the “Phantom Thieves”, a group of teenage high school students who were given the power to change the minds of the corrupt after awakening to their “personas”. They fight within a cognitive world known as the Metaverse, and along the way meet two new additions to the game, Officer Zenkichi and an AI named Sophia.

Zenkichi is a part of the police force, and while his overall goal is to imprison the Phantom Thieves, he plays a big role in aiding them from his position. Sophia is an AI that’s lost its memory, only knowing to serve the purpose of humanity’s companion. They both play off of the narrative in two completely different ways. 

Zenkichi acts as an adult perspective for the kids, understanding the importance of acting legally and being able to handle extreme situations with a stern mind. While the Phantom Thieves aren’t new to the sick nature of the world, they still get taken aback by Zenkichi’s serious yet honest way of thinking. As for Sophia, she’s a cute and clueless robotic friend, who doesn’t understand how the “heart” works and seeks to learn more by helping the Phantom Thieves. She shows a more naive perspective of the world, always asking questions about emotions and what’s just or morally right. 

It’s a great dynamic that helps the player and the narrative in an interesting and seamless way. Persona games have a way with always making all their characters work well in their plots, and I recommend checking out more of their other games, too!

Monday Media Minute: Art Fight

Art Fight is an online competition where artists of all sorts go and draw each other’s art characters, also known as Original Characters (OCs). Artists are split into two teams with different themes, such as Sugar and Spice. By drawing another artist’s OCs, you “attack” them and gain points for your team. This event has been going on for years and it’s a great way to introduce yourself to different art communities and challenge yourself personally. Although there tends to be a fluctuation of people, it’s not hard to make friends if you connect with them on different platforms, such as the Art Fight Discord! Go here and check out Art Fight on the website or join the Art Fight Discord server today:

https://artfight.net/

https://discord.com/invite/A37XTm3

Editor’s Note: This is probably the worst time to post this but to next year, I suppose! It’s still a great community to surround yourself with!

Malcolm Ford – Senior Exhibition

Star Cruel

Art comes in many forms and has a very inaccurate way of being created. For example it’s easy to call anything “Art” but it always seems to be up to the viewer what falls into these classifications. If I had to choose a constant theme I more than likely couldn’t as these were all done at different times in different head-spaces. I mainly just create what seems interesting to me in the moment. For this show, I wanted to focus on digital art and showcase the skills and techniques I’ve learned over my years at Greensboro College. 

Many of the pieces were particularly challenging for me as my color theory still needs improvement,  but the only way to move forward in art is to get over your shortcomings and work towards improving them while making strides towards something better in the next piece. A large portion of these were first sketched then digitized, excluding the animations. There is still much I am not familiar with and there are so many possibilities within the medium of digital art so I definitely plan to continue this work after graduation.

Titles for the artwork posted above, in order:

  • Thorns Theatre
  • Zed Cubed
  • Voied
  • Atlantis to Interzone
  • Jevil
  • No
  • Ex-pired
  • Death Bringer
  • Cheshire
  • Chained Expression
  • Captured Heart
  • StarCruel
  • Reapers 6
  • Darza
  • Tortured Soul
  • Ozcar
  • Chained lfrit
  • Skeletal Wish
  • Ozcar Darq
  • Fox

Animations

  • Knives
  • Running Blazt
  • Never Bloom
  • Zeh Door

Character Sketches

Artistically Speaking: Suicide Squad (Kill The Justice League)

So, I may have missed a day unfortunately and even a post last week, but this week, I’ll make up for it! This choice was a bit of an odd one though, as it’s only a trailer that BARELY any news as of recently. But I caught this trailer yesterday and I had to ABSOLUTELY talk about it. The fantastic animation, the build up to what the story could be, all of it was executed way too perfectly for me to ignore. Alright, so let’s get into it. Here’s the trailer:

Starting off, this is a trailer for a video game. When I had first come across this trailer, I had been confused on whether or not this was a sequel to that interesting mediocre movie from 2016. Gladly, I was indubitably surprised to hear that it was a game, and even moreover, it was a game being made by Rocksteady. For anyone unfamiliar with them, Rocksteady is a video game company that’s been profoundly successful, especially due to the Batman Arkham series. 

Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League—everything we know | PC Gamer

Regardless, the quality of the animation is astounding, just because at first glance, you can’t really tell if it’s a live action film or not. Everyone moves realistically and fluently, and lighting and tone really matter in this setting, as it’s first set in Metropolis. So it’s really fun to see them move, but I really want to talk about how they act. The characters are Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, King Shark, and Deadshot. The casting of the actors is perfect, as the actors themselves do a REALLY good job with giving a feel for the characters they play. Tara Strong as Harley will never be a bad cast, and while Captain Boomer and Deadshot don’t have confirmed actors yet, King Shark is voiced by Samoa Joe, who is a WWE superstar. 

But the part I’m most concerned about is the story. There is PLENTY of foreshadowing going on within the trailer, even if the title is “Kill the Justice League”. Amanda Waller, director of the Suicide Squad tells Harley that “Air support is being cut to pieces” implying that the threat is in the air. The entire group does not want to do whatever Waller is telling them to, despite the seriousness of the situation, and this is entirely portrayed with how they act. Boomerang just sitting down, Harley playing around with Waller, and Deadshot gearing up for the next battle. King Shark finding interest in balloons…? They joke around with one another, giving us some very great character interactions, and then Waller demands them to pursue their target. they start fighting together. All of them are killing foes left and right as if it were nothing, while music is bumping in the background, and they fight all in sync. 

Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League' Revealed For Next-Gen Consoles

Then, as the music fades out, they come to a building where Harley begs the question of who it is they should be fighting. A helicopter is destroyed right before them and when all the smoke is cleared, you see Superman holding a pilot. At this part, the trailer takes advantage of what you know about him and portrays his stance to be heroic and noble. King Shark even exclaims that the “mighty Superman saved” the pilot. But after the fanfare, there’s a tonal shift, and Superman KILLS the pilot. My favorite detail is that if you look back before the crash, you’d actually SEE the silhouette of Superman zooming through helicopters, just like a missile. 

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Could Set Up a Superman Game

There’s SO MUCH more I’d love to get into about this trailer, but this is already WAY too long of an article. But THIS is how you present a trailer. Great setup, and wonderful build-up, while also world building in between, for a fantastic pay off in the end. Game trailers have been done for years and some serve as homages to the games they are for, others do not do what this one has. So I very much appreciate this one and look forward to what the game has in store!

Only Breath by Ali Banisadr

By: Malcolm Ford

Only Breath by Ali Banisadr
2020 (oil on linen)

This image gives off an overall creepy overtone. It almost seems like a masked specter is floating about creeping down the street. The figure appears as if they’re cloaked or draped with something shawl-like with a polka dotted undershirt, drifting through what I can only describe as a mix between a forest or perhaps a bridge with a fog, a bed of chaos or some spark of activity leaving a mist or veil in front of the figure.

https://bombmagazine.org/articles/finding-hope-in-the-chaos-ali-banisadr-interviewed/

Love and Pain by Edvard Munch

By: Malcolm Ford

Love and Pain by Edvard Munch 1895 (oil on canvas)

This painting evokes a great sadness, everything about the pose screams this is a hug meant to quell a great agony. A shared sadness between the two figures maybe a loss or tragedy has befallen them and this is the only way that seems correct to comfort one another. Even though we see very little of these characters’ faces the emotions are clear and you can almost hear the muffled sound the man sobbing might make. As well as the quiet consolation of the woman holding him.

The Caravan by Ali Banisadr

By: Malcolm Ford

The Caravan by Ali Banisadr 2020 (oil on linen)

This image evokes a lot of emotions from the sporadic and bold use of these wild and swaying brush strokes to create such an interesting abstraction. It “looks” like a caravan by some stretch of the imagination, maybe even a circus caravan by the wheel in the lower half of the painting and the bars on the cage that appear near the middle of the painting. It seems to be more composed of figures and shapes perhaps to accentuate the constant and frequent movements of its members, though a large number of these shapes and forms look monstrous or figure like to me.

https://bombmagazine.org/articles/finding-hope-in-the-chaos-ali-banisadr-interviewed/