Way back in the 1990s, as violent fighting games like Mortal Kombat were enthralling kids and worrying their parents, one series tried to buck the trend. With their roster of goofy circus-freak characters, Clayfighter and its sequels poked fun at the seriousness of the genre.
Key to the games’ wacky style was their choice of animation medium: the characters were modeled with clay, photographs of which were then animated in stop motion. This approach, while not unique in gaming, is far less common than animation based on 2d pixels or cg rigging. Did it work for Clayfighter? That’s the question asked by Rebeltaxi, a Youtuber who comments on animation and gaming, in a new video:
While applauding the series’s anarchic humor, Rebeltaxi maintains that the games never quite managed to demonstrate the full potential of stop-motion gaming. He shows some love for the original 1993 Super Nintendo game, animation for which was directed by Ken Pontac at Danger Productions, but argues that the sequels were rushed, and in any case limited by the hardware available to them. The result: they looked basic and played awkwardly.