Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Crushing Blow

One of Disney's cool new attractions is Turtle Talk with Crush. Crush was the dudical sea turtle from Finding Nemo. A movie-quality version of Crush appears on a large monitor and interacts with the audience. Really. Not only does he ask questions and give generic responses, but he remembers your name and refers to you by name (he called out an audience member for trying to confuse him between Jammin' Jerry and Jamaica Jim), answers your questions, and with only a few preprogrammed controls does a very impressive job. It's a great schtick.

So I got a chance to ask Crush a question and thought I'd see just how flexible this program is. The convo, where I spoke in my most fluent Turtle, went something like this:

C: So, Dudical Derrill, what's your question?
D: Do you have, like, a totally awesome recipe for, like, Turtle Soup?
... (Crush's mouth dropped open in shock for a moment while the crowd tittered. He then fled behind some rocks on the left. Peeking out, he said)
C: Duuuuuude, TELL me that you are just kidding!
D: I mean the soup that turtles eat, dude.
C: ... That would be sea water..... There's a lot of it.... Everywhere... (He's still hiding, though). So what do you eat, and DON'T say Turtle Soup.
D: Pizza.
C: That's cool. (He came back out.) When I eat the sea greens, it turns my skin a righteous green color. Does your skin turn pizza color?
(I thought about the times I've spilled pizza on myself.)
D: Sometimes.
C: (Crush thinks about that for a second). That's good. That means you're eating enough pizza.

At the end of his show, he was making a pun about avoiding an enemy/anemone, and when he had too much difficulty saying anemone correctly, said "avoid Derrill" instead. "He eats turtle soup."

It surprised me that he reacted so strongly to my question. I mean, I thought he was a more seasoned actor than that. Thyme, marjoram, bay leaf, some onion and celery..... I think I set back human/turtle relations several Pixar films.

This attraction comes highly rated. Just don't tell him I sent you.

1 comment:

Rick P said...

This sounds like great fun! I'd be curious to hear how many Disney 'Imagineers' are pulling strings from behind the scenes, and how much they've actually turned loose to act on its own.

If you think about the last few game systems that have been coming out, one of the major features is these high performance graphics cards (nVidia, ATI Radeon, for example). The companies have been majorly successful and primarily driven by the gaming industry. Seems a logical direction they are moving is to provide as close to real-time rendering of the game experience, such that you truly feel as though you are part of a real time, interactive, high quality movie, rather than a predetermined thing. (And not just a part of it, but the central character!)

Also seems that the latest batch of game consoles offer spectacular potential, but the software engineers aren't keeping pace as well with the capabilities. As such, there's a bit of a lag between the console release and the games which could take full advantage of what is offered. (Maybe I'm in the wrong field?) Then the gaming industry gets disrupted by this wierd Wii thing, which abandons all attempts at pushing processor speed or graphics benchmarks, and finds a very innovative manner in which to enchant their users.

It will be interesting to see whether the gaming industry makes the last few leaps to produce truly immersive games (fully interactive movies), or whether they redirect themselves because the programmers are stumped by how many features they've been offered!