Blog 4: The little people inside your computer

Imagine, if a group of people were residing inside your computer and basically, doing all the normal stuff we do like eating at a local diner or riding a bicycle in a park. Think, this is crazy. You’re right, but in the world of Mainframe Entertainment’s (now called Rainmaker Entertainment) Reboot, however, there are whole cities with people living inside a computer just like mine and yours. Reboot is about the adventures of Bob the Guardian, Dot Matrix, Enzo Matrix, Frisket, and Phong (see list of characters) as they battle the evil autocratic Megabyte and his chaotic loving sister, Hexadecimal (see picture of both computer viruses below), who has a love/hate thing for Bob.

Reboot, which came out in 1994, is considered the first animated series to use computer graphics imagery or CGI, according to’s article (written by Rogier van Bakel), “Before Toy Story there was Reboot.” When you first take a glimpse into the CGI world of  Reboot, you will see a world filled with lots of imaginative characters, computer related humor, and visually colorful graphics. Despite this though, Reboot does have a few kinks with regards to the animation in the early days (i.e. characters look either too block-like or not realistic and little or no shadow effects). A lot of these problems were rectified as the series progressed. In the end, Reboot is a charming series with lots of good characters and wonderful animation.

The episode, I selected is an episode, I really like because it highlights the creativity and imaginative storytelling of the series, really well. The episode is called Painted Windows and it starts out with Hexadecimal breaking into the Princple Office’s archives and stealing an old paint program to cause mischief and mayhem. Within a matter of  moments, Hexadecimal causes complete chaos to the city of Mainframe (the city where our heroes live) by flooding the streets with paint, turning Megabyte’s lair into a place to hold sun flowers and him into a jester (she also pastes Megabyte onto the sky), erases Phong’s face and replaces it with a green apple (Phong too, ends up pasted onto the sky), and Enzo ends up turning into a VidWindow (VidWindows act as a form of face-to-face communication).

Bob comes up with a plan to undo all the destruction that Hexadecimal has caused, by tricking her into giving an interview with Mike the TV (see picture below), while Bob quietly sneaks off and undoes all the problems. At the same time, Dot and Enzo head to the Princple Office and wait for Bob’s signal to break the link between the archives and Hexadecimal’s lair, where she is controlling the paint program. Hexadecimal, however, soon gets suspicious and realizes that she has been tricked and targets Bob.  When Bob sees her coming, he freaks out and uses the paint program to remove her mask, not realizing that by removing Hexadecimal’s mask, her powers become unstable and could obliterate Mainframe.

Realizing his mistake, Bob tries to use the paint program to re-paste Hexadecimal’s mask, but is thwarted by Dot, when she broke the link after Bob fixed all the mess that was done to Mainframe. Thinking quickly, Bob uses his key tool called Glitch to close the file that contains Hexadecimal’s mask and than copy and paste it back onto her face. The removal of the mask caused damaged to Hexadecimal’s already fragile mind and Bob decides to leave Mike the TV behind to keep her company.

Overall, Reboot is a fun and imaginative series filled with quirky characters, computer related humor, and visually colorful graphics. The episode, entitled, Painted Windows, in my opinion, does a good job at highlighting, the creativity and imagination of the series because of the use of computer based humor and colorful visuals, especially with regards to Hexadecimal hijacking a paint program and going wild with it, in Mainframe. In the end, I recommend Reboot for people who enjoy computers, good CGI animation, and lots and lots of humor.

ETA: I commented on Megan Pettry’s blog, Andrew Steward’s blog, and Danyeal Hughes blog.

ETA 2: I thought this video memorializing the late Tony Jay (voice of Megabyte and Judge Frollo from Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame) was very touching.


7 comments on “Blog 4: The little people inside your computer

  1. Animating a world beneath our mainframes is an interesting concept. The animators took components of the motherboard and turned them into characters. It is interesting to see the choices the animators made for the design of the “computer world” environment. The landscape looks very futuristic. Technically the animation reminds me of that in a video game. This helps create the illusion of a world beyond the computer screen. Additionally, the animators use of color helps create the illusion of a foreign world. The animators’ use of green, purple-eyed people help further create the sense of a alternate universe.

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  3. This show does seem very neat and imaginative. I know there are not things inside my computer living their life, but it is interesting to think this way. To be honest I love things that get this creative without crossing the line into weird. It kind of reminds me of Horton Hears a Who in that sort of sense. By the way, I like your Superbowl post, having been born and raised in New Orleans moving 9 months after Katrina, it is nice to see people are still rooting for us.

  4. Looking back at Reboot I am rather amazed at how impressive it was for the time. Toy Story wasn’t out at that point so it must have been pretty amazing to see CGI character on a made for television cartoon. (which usually don’t have the largest budgets) I find that the style of animation really fits in with the series, what better animation for a cartoon about computers than CGI? I also find the primitiveness of the CGI to be quite tolerable as the world inside of a computer should look artificial.

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