I’m What! Too Cartoony!

Yep, that’s my main hanging with her crew, the Ramen, ah, Rakimin, Ramekin, oh shoot you know the Cat People. They are pretty tight now she finally got Exalted with them. They were all a little upset about something I’d told her I’d heard while playing Rift.

“Wow is too cartoony.”

“I’m so glad to be here in a world that looks real.”

Anyway, I heard many variations on that theme just not stated that politely.

I’m sure this debate has been going on for a long time but during my brief stint in Rift it was the first time I’d heard it. I’ve never been sure what makes people feel the need to vehemently put down their previous game, sometimes it’s so emotional it’s sounds like the bitter anger of a jilted lover, geez dudes, get a grip.

I hadn’t really thought about this much before and WoW’s graphics are undeniably much less realistic than many other games. If I thought about it at all it was the gratitude I felt at the low system requirements. When my computer went belly up I would have had to spend a week without WoW if I hadn’t been able to load it on an antique Mac, I couldn’t do much because of the framerate, but I was still able to login to Azeroth.

I thought about my time spent  in other, more realistic games and how I’d felt about those worlds and characters and realized that for me at least it was much easier to become immersed in the world in WoW than it had been in some of the more “real” worlds.

I think because WoWs characters are cartoony their movements always look “right” to me. I never get that creepy feeling I sometimes did in other games when a realistic character moves … well … just wrong. Sometimes just a gesture could knock me right out of the virtual world to the other side of a computer screen where I have vacuuming to do and I so don’t want that to happen.

I looked around and I assume in my case the problem was related to the Uncanny Valley. A piece on movie animation on NPR seems to explain my feeling of wrongness when a realistic character moved or acted in a way I perceived as not quite right.

So I guess I’m comfortable with cartoony. Not to say I don’t get creeped out by WoW occasionally, these very much creep me out, badly, even my Undead warlock gets twitchy around these.

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7 Responses to “I’m What! Too Cartoony!”

  1. This is a fascinating piece. I feel like you about realistic characters and worlds (especially in MMORPG’s) – I just can’t ‘believe’ them. Whereas I can suspend my disbelief quite easily in WOW. Same goes for zombies. Everyone I know loves zombie movies because the zombies really creep them out (which is what they are designed to do), but they do nothing for me except take me out of the believability zone. I wonder if that makes me more empathetic, or less empathetic than my zombie creeped out friends? Interesting!

    • That’s interesting about the zombies. I can’t think of anything in RL like that for me but I’ve always wondered why in-game anything demon is just not scary to me but abominations just give me the creeps. I mean big demons should be scary! I guess you have zombie immunity and I have demon immunity!

  2. Most people don’t believe me when I say it, but the Cartoony look is what sells me on WoW. It’s a visual aesthetic that is both consistant and lends itself well to a fantasy world…

    …and I suppose I’m also a total nut cartoon fan. Sure that doesn’t help.

  3. I understand that some people can find it cheesy or kitsch with the huge nature-law defying weapons or weird looking tier gear even. Sometimes I think the comedic style is exactly that though, funny. So is a lot of the quests, they are references or just really silly stories, but I actually enjoy it.

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