Looking Back to Go ForwardThere have been some incredible technological strides made in the worlds of film, TV and gaming in recent years, with new innovations almost making it seem like anything is truly possible.
Settle down to watch a film on an evening and you have the chance to watch versions of The Jungle Book and The Lion King starring perfect digital recreations of creatures from across the animal kingdom. Alternatively, you can reach for your games console controller and switch on FIFA, which year after year features increasingly life-like models boasting the appearance and key characteristics of all of your favourite football stars.
Such progress is clearly impressive, but there are some signs that computer-generated ‘realism’ may not be the be-all and end-all when it comes to engaging the wider public. In fact, some recent successes on the big and small screen have shown that taking a deliberately old-school approach can pay off in major style these days.
Taking a different routeWhile some of the more recent Star Wars movies may have proven to be divisive with many fans, the Disney+ show The Mandalorian has been a major hit and has perhaps hinted that the much-loved universe could well have a big future in TV.
Interestingly, while the series was created by Jon Favreau – the man behind the aforementioned CGI-heavy remakes of The Lion King and The Jungle Book – its biggest success was probably the decision to make a key character a puppet. The Baby Yoda model used within the show reportedly cost $5 million to create but it looks to have been worth every penny, considering the character – known within the show as The Child – has proven to be hugely popular with fans and a merchandising success to boot. A similar approach was also taken on the Netflix series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, where again the creators chose to honour the original film by making use of puppets rather than simply resorting to computer-generated techniques to bring the characters to life.
Another brave creative decision which paid off in major style has been seen in the world of animation in recent years, with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse proving to be a massive success. While the web-spinning superhero’s adventures on the big screen have always tended to be live action, the animated film from Sony embraced its format by taking on a style that at times resembled a comic book being brought to life. Flourishes like having its range of characters represented by different animation styles also worked brilliantly, with the film beating competition such as Incredibles 2 and Ralph Breaks the Internet to win the Best Animated Feature Oscar in 2018.
Old-school gamingThis idea of finding a stylistic approach which either is different to prevailing trends or shuns the latest technological advances is something that can also be found in the world of gaming too. We have already touched upon how the FIFA series has attempted to achieve a certain level of realism and other titles like Call of Duty or the more recent Tomb Raider games have also taken major strides in terms of visuals.
However, games with a more retro design remain hugely popular with many people and this is perfectly illustrated by some of the experiences we offer to those who sign up and take advantages of promotions on our site. Many of the games we feature do not attempt to replicate the level and quality of graphics that are on offer in AAA titles, with the focus of our online bingo games being on a much more classic, retro style which fits the experience perfectly. In addition, slot games like Mega Cherry or Mystery Reels also take a similar approach and are more akin to something you might see in arcades or amusements. Considering such forms of online gaming are going from strength to strength at the moment, it is fair to say that many people are clearly keen on that style.
It is not the only form of retro gaming that is proving popular at the moment of course. Leading gaming companies like Nintendo have taken the step of launching versions of some of their classic consoles in recent years due to the demand for old-school forms of gaming. In addition, some of video gaming’s most classic characters continue to live on in a range of different forms. A prime example would of course be everyone’s favourite Italian plumber Mario, who has enjoyed significant recent success on mobile in the last couple of years thanks to versions of titles such as Mario Kart and Dr Mario.
Have we reached our limit?So, with more retro forms of gaming, puppets and comic book-style animation proving so popular in recent times, does that mean we have simply become desensitised to high quality, computer-generated visuals now? Have we reached the ceiling in terms of how much ‘realism’ we want to see? Well, not necessarily.
While there will always be a place for pushing boundaries and taking things further than ever before on a technological level, there is also always likely to be a certain appetite for more old-school approaches or situations where people take an original and unexpected path. While doing something ‘new’ can be hugely impressive, perhaps the most important thing in any form is engaging and having an impact on an audience.
Whether that is achieved through technological feats or a more retro feel, it probably doesn’t matter – and, in a way, that is fairly exciting. Ultimately, it means that games developers, filmmakers and everyone in between have a range of options to consider as they look to create new content to entertain us. Whatever form they take, it is only likely to mean great experiences for us in the long run.