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Guillermo Del Toro

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Now in its 25th season — with a 26th on the way — The Simpsons has taken to producing elaborate homages to other works of entertainment. In October, the show's creators recruited Guillermo del Toro to put together a lengthy Halloween-themed intro sequence that toasted classic horror films and referenced the director's own work. Now The Simpsons has created a similar tribute to the films of Studio Ghibli's Hayao Miyazaki.

Miyazaki bid farewell to film-making last September after the Japanese release of Studio Ghibli's The Wind Rises. The director and animator is best known for his work creating anime as iconic and well-loved as My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away, and the short Simpsons segment above — part of forthcoming episode "Married to the Blob" — is packed with references to his 11 movies. Highlights include Otto's stint as a Simpsons-ized Catbus, and Patti and Selma riding broomsticks borrowed from Kiki's Delivery Service. You'll be able to see the whole episode and pick out additional nods to the esteemed director and his influential animation studio this coming Sunday on FOX.

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While title sequences come in all shapes and sizes, it is of course inevitable that similar topics and themes will emerge from the pile. These don't necessarily have to be genre-specific and in fact, their ability to transcend film genres is part of the lasting appeal. Consider the Saul Bass school of graphic animation and the many genres that particular aesthetic has been applied to, from comedies and romances to thrillers and capers. The detail-oriented montage is another example, where the audience is introduced to themes in a film or information about its players through relevant close-up or overlapping imagery.

Whether by accident or due to a trend, these categories are born from ideas with universal appeal and are often broad in scope: graphic animation, nostalgic influence, situational type (in which the titles are integrated realistically into live-action footage), photomontage, and so on. Microscopic and inner worlds are also...

Read the full The Inner Workings article at Art of the Title.

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Music and sound are important tools in framing player expectations on what is happening in a game. In this article I explain how Portal 2 did things both right and wrong with its use of audio.

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Art historian Diana Poulsen takes a closer look at the "are games art?" discussion, bringing in an academic perspective steeped in knowledge of games to help untangle the thorny question of what art, precisely, is, and what relationship games have with it.

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