This week’s Media Consumption, a weekly column which seeks to find out what our favorite game developers have been listening to, watching, reading, and playing, speaks to Abigail Goldsmith, Lead Animator at Wayforward Technologies.
Goldsmith’s animation credentials go far beyond videogames, having once worked as an intern on Nickelodeon’s "Hey, Arnold!" animated series, as well as having created a number of independent animated shorts. Until recently she survived as a freelance animator, having contributed to X-Men: Next Dimension
and Backyard Wrestling
for Paradox Development, as well as a handful of licensed projects for Wayforward, such as Barbie: The Princess and the Pauper
and SpongeBob Squarepants: The Movie
, both for the Game Boy Advance. Obviously pleased with her work, Wayforward hired Goldsmith as a Lead Animator this year, and she has contributed work as Lead Animator on both Sigma Star Saga
and, more recently, the Game Boy Advance version of Tak III
. Here’s what’s been on Abby’s virtual plate as of late:
: "The genre categories have never been important to me," said Goldsmith. "I listen to film scores, hip-hop, game music, even ragtime." A quick glance at her current Winamp playlist revealed songs from Ghost in the Shell
composer Yoko Kanno, a handful of film scores including Danny Elfman’s work on Sleepy Hollow and Spider-Man, nu-metal transcenders Snake River Conspiracy, and a fellow who goes by the name of Doctor Steel
and produces audio that can best be classified as…experimental.
: "Not long ago, I would go to the movies every other weekend," said Goldsmith, "but the trend of remakes and done-to-death formulas are putting me off. The last film I saw in theaters was The Brothers Grimm. It was utter weirdness; the most famous Grimm tales mashed together in one illogical plotline, but with enough good acting and great imagery to hold it together." Much like a previous "Media Consumption" guest
, Goldsmith recently enjoyed the bird documentary March of the Penguins. "Of course, I watch almost every animated film that comes out, and most of the special FX extravaganzas," she says, because I'm an animator. I'm excited about Tim Burton's Corpse Bride.
: Goldsmith is something of a fanatic for Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series of novels, hosting what she describes as an "embarrassingly large fan section" dedicated to the series on her website
. "I buy the new books in hardcover, because I need to find out what will happen to the characters!" she said. Another recent consumption is Lois McMaster Bujold’s sci-fi saga, Vorkosigan. "People have been recommending this series to me for a while," she said, "but the cover art always made me pass it by in bookstores. I know it's space opera, or pulp fiction, or a choose-your-own derogatory term, but it's a page-turner." Favorite authors of Goldsmith’s include Stephen King, fantasy author George R. R. Martin, and Neal Stephenson.
: "I have a lot of fondness for the old-school pixel art games," she said, "which I, coincidentally, work on." The classics kept close to her heart include Super Mario World, Final Fantasy II
, and F-Zero
. "I genuinely enjoyed game testing – yes, you heard me right – [Wayforward’s] Shantae
for Game Boy Color. My tastes have mostly shifted to puzzle games," she said, "I play them to unwind from stress." Favorites in this genre include Tetris, Jawbreaker
, and the Windows-standard Free Cell
. "I've played a few hours of games like Oddworld
and Burnout 3
here and there," she said, "but when I lose interest, I don't come back to it."
[Frank Cifaldi is a Las Vegas-based freelance author whose credits include work for Nintendo Official Magazine UK, Wired, and his own Lost Levels website.]