A work-blog for the Zipper PSP digital manga

Monday, October 03, 2005

Why The PSP?

Why is it that ZIPPER is being created specifically for the PlayStation Portable? Fair question. There are plenty of mediums out there (PDF, CBR, etc.), and it is quite possible that upon launch, they will be addressed. For now though, ZIPPER is PSP-specific.

I myself, own a PSP and became excited about the possibilites the PSP opened up. Though, at first, to be honest, I was skeptical about reading manga/comics on such a device. I don't have the best of eyesight, so small print tends to, literally, all but put me right on top of the media. My fears of this were confirmed by content providers such as GO MANGA*, whose offerings, while certainly has great appeal to a number of readers with its "Shonen Jump" style work, were only digitized versions of manga they have already published.

The work simply is not formatted for the PSP. That is to say, it is formatted for printed, full-page viewing. The PSP on the other hand, works more on the panel-level, which is approximately a third of the size of a traditional comic book page. When you try to mash whole pages into panel-sized screen format (the PSP's screen is only 480 x 272 pixels), you get work that is unreadable. Readers are forced to cursor around a single page to get the full effect of the work. Moreover, readers must flip their PSP vertically to enjoy single-page illustrations; something I found personally annoying.

When I discovered NYC2123: DAYENDER by the Allen brothers, my perceptions changed. Here was work created specifcially for the PSP, and it was spot on. It didn't keep me flipping my PSP, it didn't make me zoom or cursor across the page to read it, and it utilized a considerably smaller space (than a full-page of a traditional comic page) in a very, very effective way.

The Allen brothers inspired me to work on ZIPPER, showing me that it could without having to follow the rules of a traditional comic if I had an effective imagination. In fact, the rules of traditional comic writing had to be broken, or rather re-invented to fit the new format. In truth, the PSP has its limitations, namely the panel-level based style that I mentioned earlier. It is not possible to do those really huge full-page illustrations that can strike at the heart of a reader, creating a strong, lasting impression. But everything has pros and cons, it's a matter of managing them to work for you. Something that I hope ZIPPER will be able to effectively accomplish. As with all new medias, only time will tell.

-- Made in DNA

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* - I however applaud GO MANGA for bringing manga titles to the PSP. I certainly do not think ill of them as a company at all.

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