The Uncanny Valley

After class on Tuesday, I was puzzled by our discussion on Lara Croft and her…ehem…bodily proportions. So, in an effort to understand why this matters so much to some people, I started looking for pertinent articles. Thus, the reason for my first link. This article┬áis a simple discussion on the effects of video game characters’ appearances on players. In it, Lara Croft is mentioned, as well as how increasing muscularity in male characters┬áis affecting male players. At the end, the term “Uncanny Valley” is mentioned. Having absolutely no idea what this was, I again started searching for an explanation. This leads me to my second link, another article that explains how we perceive video game characters in terms of how human they appear. Just read and you’ll understand.

Of course, you all probably don’t want to read another article. So, here is a very funny video that also explains the “Uncanny Valley.” Enjoy!

Video Games and the Uncanny Valley on YouTube

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5 Responses to The Uncanny Valley

  1. Jason Ko says:

    This reminds me of an article I read somewhere on the internet which was discussing the sexualization of characters in video games. Everyone talks about the sexualization of female characters, but the author of this article stated that male characters are far more often sexualized and no one takes offense. Take for example Marcus and Dom from Gears of War, or Duke Nukem, or any other similar space marine character. These characters represent a hyper-masculine physical ideal which few people could attain without the use of steroids. Still, the “adolescent pandering” of the breast physics of Dead or Alive get much more negative press.

    Definitely something to think about.

  2. Lauren says:

    Yeah, I never really thought about how men are portrayed until I came across this article. I agree, it’s defintely a subject worth investigating since the majority of video game players are male.

  3. cole says:

    Speaking of the uncanny valley, Rockstar games is making a new game called LA Noire. They are using impressive technology to get , and get over the uncanny valley.

    • Jason Ko says:

      I’m really interested to see how that pans out. Unfortunately, it’s still a bit odd, as now the characters’ faces move in sync with the vocals, but the rest of the body language is still lost. Subtly of the shoulders or other parts of the upper body are still not present in much of the footage I have seen.

  4. The uncanny valley is really interesting to think about, though some recent research has suggested that its impact is very much overblown if not altogether non-existent. In any case, we’ll be talking about the uncanny valley in a few weeks when we talk about realism in games.

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