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Posts with tag actors

15 Minutes of Fame: Azeroth to Westeros with Game of Thrones' Kristian Nairn

From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

If you've read the books behind the spellbinding new HBO series Game of Thrones, you'll instantly recognize the character portrayed by the bearded beast of burden above -- yes, that's Kristian Nairn as Hodor, on the set with young passenger Isaac Hempstead-Wright (as Bran Stark). While you may not recognize Nairn yet if you're new to the gritty fantasy series (he hasn't been onscreen yet), the show itself has been hard to ignore, debuting amidst a deluge of publicity and earning a renewal for a second season after only a single episode. Luckily for us, Nairn's enthusiasm for the World of Warcraft proves to be as capacious as both the series' success and his own 6'10" frame. The Belfast resident, who's also a professional DJ, plays on both US and EU servers (yep, he's that enthusiastic about the game), and once we'd covered the basics by email, he felt there was still so much left to say that we wound up chatting on Skype a few days later.

So Hodor -- no, not Hodir, Hodor ... although come to think of it, they're both rather remarkable in stature, and ... awww, heck, set thy nose to the page if you haven't yet read George R.R. Martin's best-selling Song of Ice and Fire series and you don't know who Hodor is. These are characters that'll grab you by the short hairs -- it's the ride of a lifetime. In the meantime, settle in with us for the first of two interviews with Kristian Nairn, from Azeroth to Westeros and back again.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

WoW Mountain Dew ad was directed by Tarsem Singh

A number of sites have done a post-mortem on the Mountain Dew WoW Game Fuel ad (featuring two ladies battling it out through their WoW characters in a live-action supermarket), and they've uncovered a really interesting fact: the ad was actually directed by Indian director Tarsem Singh, one of my favorites -- he not only did the visually stunning sci-fi/horror flick The Cell a few years ago, but more recently made The Fall, which is an very well-done kind of mirror-life fairy tale. He's directed a number of commercials before, including some for Nike and Levi's, and teamed up with a company called Zoic Studios (they've done a few other spots for video games already) for this WoW commercial.

The original CGI models for the ad did come from Blizzard (I'd guess that they're the original models from the WoW CGI trailer), though they were spruced up quite a bit by Zoic to add facial expressions and dynamic costumes and hair. They were then connected to motion captures from stunt artists (which were probably also tweaked to seem a little more than human, and then composited all together in the supermarket scene.

Very cool stuff. This isn't the first time WoW characters have been used to sell soda, but hopefully we'll see more fun sequences like this come out of the deals between Blizzard and their partners.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, NPCs

Roleplaying is a wave of the future


When you look at games like World of Warcraft versus games like Dungeons and Dragons, you can see that in some ways they are just the same, while in others they are vastly different. Thematically, they're both about romping through a fantasy world having adventures, and depending on the kind of activity you enjoy most in your games, the actual content of either one can be very similar. The difference lies in the user interface: WoW takes over your computers screen and presents you with intensive graphics, while D&D relies on paper, dice, and your imagination.

While WoW is obviously a child of the early 21st century, all the practical tools used in D&D have existed for thousands of years. One might well wonder: "why didn't Plato (or any other suitably wise old figure out of history) ever think of putting together a dungeon adventure?" A recent Escapist magazine article asks that very question, and then provides us with a bunch of theories about what roleplaying is and why people do it. All these are interesting in themselves, but they leave me wondering "but wait... why didn't Plato ever think of it?" The answer I think the article is trying to give is that roleplaying is actually a form of social innovation that couldn't have existed before, because the culture and ideas to give it form hadn't developed until the '60s.

So tonight when you get home and log into WoW, especially if you are logging in to roleplay your character, remember that you are participating in an activity that is on the growing edge of human civilization. Just as, all those hundreds of years ago, it was a great innovation for the Greek playwright Aeschylus to bring two actors onto the stage at once as opposed to letting one actor and a chorus carry the show -- in our own era, the way players get together today to collaboratively create worlds, characters and stories with one another is a new and exciting innovation that never existed before. Roleplaying itself is one of many brilliant and beautiful examples of how society and culture continue to evolve and progress well into the the future... and beyond.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, RP

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