Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Piñatas; a dedicated essay on sentient paper animals

Bejungled will go through a major revamp soon. The header and background, and possibly the colours, will change. On top of that, I'll be adding ads for some extra moolah. It'll be worth it! As I'm officially a game art student now, it means my posts will improve too. Now, on to the article...

Having been playing and watching all material available of Viva Piñata recently, I thought it would be interesting to elaborate on the sentient piñatas that inhabit Rare's extended universe. This article spans both the cartoon and the games.

1. Anatomy

Piñatas, by definition, are hollow forms of paper-maché, dusted with crepe paper, usually in an attractive shape. They are a popular party game, notoriously in the Americas.
The piñatas in Viva Piñata seem something unique altogether. All species are similar to earth species of animals in some kind of manner, fictional or otherwise, but follow the standard piñata model closely. They have nubby limbs, and only rarely do they possess digits. Yet, they can sort of curve their "hands" so they can hold stuff or make sassy gestures. (In one episode of the cartoon, Langston miraculously grew a single thumb to give a thumbs-up... I'm not sure what that was all about.) Their limbs are stretchy to make up for the short length.
As implied by some episodes of the cartoon, and by sick piñatas in the game after ingesting a certain weed, they possess inner workings of some sort. They sneeze, bleed, and defecate candy.
In one episode of the cartoon where the cast is shrunk to go inside Hudson Horstachio's body, it is shown first-hand how ingested fruit turns into candy as soon as it reaches the stomach. It can be argued that ingested food has effect on the candy's flavour.

For whatever reason, they're waterproof. All species can withstand the rain just fine in both media and there are some (semi-)aquatic piñatas. It's unclear what this is all about.

They can lose limbs, heads, and whatnot and not experience any negative effects, still having full control of all parts. However, some parts of their body still have a mind of their own and might cause all sorts of ruckus, as one does. (Hudson's body, for one, is stubborn and fond of baking. Fergy's gravitates towards thistles and away from Piñata Central.)
In the game, every piñata has a Life Candy within them. The description for any and all of it is beyond amusing. ("Sorry if you already knew this, but piñatas have candy in them.") If a piñata is smacked within the garden or preyed upon, they burst and leave candy, including their life candy, which is only eaten by predators of the species that had it. I initially figured the life candy substituted the brain and the heart, and went along with playing with their location in the actual piñata, sort of playing with a Steven Universe-inspired idea that it hints at their personality and contains their life essence. However, piñatas in the show are depicted with actual brains much like humans, but this might be exaggerated for comedic effect. Hearts are never depicted, so life candy might still be canon to the show. I personally think fatalities during parties can occur but is mostly prevented for the life candy is hidden very well within the papery body.