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The thin line between art and gaming

September 6, 2010

One of my older blogs has a few entries regarding flash gaming and ideas within flash, and being lazy I thought I’d import the posts across. However, after re-reading the post, I’ve decided to make some changes and update some of the info, so technically it is a new post, especially if you never encountered the last post which is highly likely as it got around 3 hits before I got bored with the blog and abandoned it like a baby in a cardboard box.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love the ideas behind the blog, but I think I was just addicted to customising the blog and playing around with the features over creating content. I’ve spent pretty much equal time playing with the display setting on this blog than I have creating content. This is probably not going to change.

Interactivity is a new medium in the world of art. Since the early nineties, exhibitions have been featuring artworks that audiences can interact with at an increasing level. As the technology grows, so does the level of interactivity.

Flash takes this trend and opens the floodgates because the artist is freed of the constraints in the physical form. This basically means that Flash allows interactivity without having to rely on physical technology aside from a computer. It also turns the computer into a virtual gallery.

But where do the concepts of video game and artistic expression set their boundaries? Are they completely independent of each other? If so, then you can easily look at any flash application and state whether it’s a video game of a piece of art. Look at the following applications and decide for yourself which it is.

Music Catch 2: This is an ambient game where all you do is catch music notes as they fall. There is a score, but getting a high score is really not the point of the game. Art or Game?

Starlight: What do you see in the night sky? Rotate the view to form the shape. Is this really a game? To me, this is more an exploration of dimensions. What do you think?

Duckstazy: You’re a duck. Not just any duck, you’re a pill popping partying machine duck. Eat the pills to get high. This is definitely a game, but I feel it’s also something more. Something about an experience that is translated through the building of the music.

When I play games like Treadmillasaurus Rex I can feel that behind the fun, behind the pretty graphics there is always something more, a discourse into our lives, an exploration that deserves greater attention and analysis. Perhaps this is an aspect of my own predilection to over think things, but considering the amount of time people have commented in agreement instead of instant dismissal perhaps I’m not making something out of nothing.

In those three examples you’ll notice the simplicity of the controls, the lack of any storyline context and yet when I played them, I felt there was something more there than the regular game-play experience. Something hidden. This is one of my mission statements, regardless of whether I’m correct or right, I intent to bring forth this idea into the light, a poeisis if you will.

Writing that down, the spell check just went ballistic telling me it’s not a word. Well, my friend, yes it is and I intend to make great use of it because I have too much time on my hands!

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