« rhizomes.13 fall 2006 | Main | netcase #1 »

December 21, 2006

Arty games with an agenda


Spring-Alpha + The People Speak +

[Also see Political/activist/radical, The war on terror, and Serious Games.]

Simon Yuill’s Spring-Alpha project (which actually consists of several games) is a simulation game (like the Sims). What is particular to the game is that it is ‘open source’ and the player is allowed to modify the code of the game. Hence, the game is double-sided. On the one hand side it is about playing a simulation-game but on the other hand side, it is also about creating a simulation-game – it is a ‘design game’ where the players / the programmers, through the inscription of rules for behaviour, negotiates the perspective of the game. The object of the game is not only to provide an entertaining game simulation but also to make the player contemplate the simulation, its perspectives, possibilities, and its limitations. In addition, the game is inspired by the works of artist Chad McCail, and it is nice to see that computer games actually are capable of having a graphical expression which strives for something else than simply imitating the real world.

The exploration of the possibility of using games to stage hidden structures and hidden social relations can also be used outside the world of the monitor. The People Speak is a group of artists who in one of their projects used the quiz show as a set-up in a design process of a mural in a social housing area in a East London. The quiz show enabled them to involve a group of people living in the area that are usually very difficult to contact under normal circumstances.

Runme.org is a database for software art curated by Olga Gurionova og Alexei Shulgin. If you are interested in games that experiment with the game world as a distinct artistic expression, this is the place to look. Featured articles follow several of the software art works in the database and they generally serve as very good introductions. Especially the game Sowjet-Unterzoegersdorf/the adventure-game, by the Austrian artist group Monochrom, is rather amusing. In the game, it turns out that the last Soviet republic is actually a village in Austria. It is definitely always worth visiting Monochrom’s website when surfing on the internet. [blogged by Christian Ulrik Andersen on Digital Experience]

Posted by jo at December 21, 2006 07:19 PM