Nerval's Lobster writes: Nearly 30 years after Super Mario Bros., video game graphics have advanced to heights that once seemed impossible. Modern sports games are fueled by motion capture of actual athletes, and narrative-driven adventures can seem more like interactive movies than games. But gaming’s increasing realism brings a side effect—a game can now fall into the “uncanny valley,” a term coined by robotics professor Masahiro Mori of the Tokyo Institute of Technology in 1970. John Brodkin talked to game developers, engineers, motion scientists and a variety of other folks about the "uncanny valley problem," in which (some) people feel revolted when confronted by a robot or digital character that doesn't quite look real. In games where human-like characters are necessary, the uncanny valley can be an even bigger problem than in animated movies; gamers control characters rather than just watching them, creating more opportunities for the illusion of realism to falter. New and better tools can help developers and animators deal with some of these issues, but crossing the "valley" successfully still remains a challenge. Or is crossing it even possible at all?