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Kingdom Hearts II videogame traversal

William Huber and Lev Manovich, 2009.


This visualization: Kingdom Hearts II videogame (2005).





The data are the game play sessions of the video games Kingdom Hearts (2002, Square Co., Ltd.) and Kingdom Hearts II (2005, Square-Enix, Inc.) Each game was played from the beginning to the end over a number of sessions.


The video captured from all game sessions of each game were assembled into a singe sequence. The sequences were sampled at 6 frames per second. This resulted in 225,000 frames for Kingdom Hearts and 133,000 frames for Kingdom Hearts II.


The visualizations use only every 10th frame from the complete frame sets:


Kingdom Hearts: 22,500 frames.

Kingdom Hearts II: 13,300 frames.





Japanese role-playing games such as Kingdom Hearts can take from about 40 to over 100 hours to complete.


Kingdom Hearts game play: 62.5 hours of game play, in 29 sessions over 20 days.


Kingdom Hearts II game play: 37 hours of game play, in 16 sessions over 18 days.





Frames are organized in a grid in order of game play (left to right, top to bottom).



Kingdom Hearts is a franchise of video games and other media properties created in 2002 via a collaboration between Tokyo-based videogame publisher Square (now Square-Enix) and The Walt Disney Company, in which original characters created by Square travel through worlds representing Disney-owned media properties (e.g., Tarzan, Alice in Wonderland, The Nightmare before Christmas, etc.). Each world has its distinct characters derived from the respective Disney-produced films. It also features a distinct color palettes and rendering styles, which are related to visual styles of the corresponding Disney film.


Like other software-based artifacts, video games can have infinite varied realizations (since each game traversal is unique). Compressing many hours of game play into a single image and placing a number of such visualizations next to each other allows us to see the patterns of similarity and differences between these realizations. Such visualizations are also useful in comparing different releases of the popular games – such as the two releases of Kingdom Hearts shown in the two visualizations.


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Taken on October 23, 2009