“Night Journey” is one of the first experimental art games in history.
It was created in collaboration with video artist Bill Viola and the Game Innovation Lab of the University of Southern California. It uses elements of both computer games and video art. The player enters a surreal and dark dream world, which refers to the human journey towards enlightenment.
Visually, the game is inspired by Bill Viola’s video art. The texts are based on the writings of historical figures, the 13th-century Islamic poet and mystic Rumi, the 18th-century Buddhist poet Ryokan, the 16th-century Spanish mystic and poet St. John of the Cross and Plotinus, a 3rd century Greek-speaking philosopher.
The game takes place in a mysterious landscape on which darkness is falling. There is no one path to take, no single goal to achieve, but the player’s actions will reflect on themselves and the world, transforming and changing them both. If they are able, they may slow down time itself and forestall the fall of darkness. If not, there is always another chance; the darkness will bring dreams that enlighten future journeys.
The project stands as a milestone in the search to expand the boundaries of what game experiences may communicate through their game mechanics and world design.
2065 | Lawrence Lek
A futuristic vision of 2065 in which the widespread adoption of artificial intelligence created a post-worker society with an endless appetite for entertainment and cultural content. When work is done by algorithms, people spend all day playing video games with AI.
The medium of the game becomes a field of thought experiment on the future art history of the Sinofuturism movement – a fictional idea created in the style of half conspiracy theory, half didactic manifesto. Lawrence, arguing that the collective forces of Chinese technological production constitute a form of artificial intelligence, asks whether the thinking values of a Western humanist can be relevant to AI.
2065 is conceived as a physical portal to a vast virtual world where the audience enters the game itself. The “game” is not really a game, but rather a kind of interactive, speculative text or essay about a video game. Unlike a world with a more linear and structured gameplay, 2065 is an ever-evolving video game with an open virtual world, i.e. one in which the player is free to explore, approach goals and be active participants in the narrative.
How to Disappear | Total Refusal
It is an anti-war movie in the true sense of the word, searching for possibilities for peace in the most unlikely place of an online war game. A project by an Austrian collective known for their artistic interventions in video game spaces, it is a tribute to disobedience and desertion – in both digital and physical-real warfare.
Shot in the picturesque war landscapes of “Battlefield V”, the hyperreal graphics become the backdrop for an essay-like narrative. The film revolves around the history of deserters – a part of human history which has seldom been illuminated. Performances and creative interventions explore the scopes and limits of the audiovisual entertainment machine.
Other places | Andy Kelly
The computer game worlds created during the last ten years have been carefully designed down to the very last detail.
Scenes that may only be perceptible for seconds in the game take months of work to produce. The writer and graphic artist Andy Kelly celebrates the spectacular aesthetics of computer game worlds under his pseudonym Ultrabrilliant. In the form of short films, he shows these worlds from the perspective of a disembodied spectator. The results are stunning panoramas and detailed views. Contact with Other Places changes the perspective on the design of computer games. The work includes scenery from many famous games: the underwater city of Rapture from BioShock (2007), fantasy worlds from Skyrim (2011) and the third part of The Witcher (2015), as well as the satirical representation of California from Grand Theft Auto V (2013).
The work is in the form of films shot in virtual worlds. It’s a celebration of video game craftsmanship – by avoiding distractions such as characters, enemies, goals, and action, you can fully appreciate the work that goes into creating these amazing places. To create Other Places, Andy Kelly used hacks and other tricks to gain access to virtual cameras that are inaccessible to players.
Elegy: GTA USA Gun Homicides, 2018–2019 | Joseph deLappe
Modification of Grand Theft Auto V, built on the basis of US gun homicide data for a period of one year from July 4, 2018 to July 4, 2019. Daily updated data was downloaded in real time from an online archive of firearms violence and then entered directly into the project. The project, while live online, was a standalone data visualization system in the form of a modified version of GTA.
The project began on July 4, 2018, when there were 7,293 homicides with firearms in the United States – by the end of 2018, this number had risen to 14,730. Elegy, recreates these deaths as a stand-alone version of GTA, showing the viewer the scale of deaths from wz. slow shot back. The work is accompanied by a looped soundtrack from the first radio recording “God Bless America” sung by Kate Smith in 1938.
The work is a pilot project to investigate data visualization using computer games.
The Graveyard | Tale of Tales
The game, awarded with the European Innovative Games Award, was created in an avant-garde Belgian studio created by Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn. A game captivating in mood, in which the player plays the role of an old woman wandering around the cemetery. The player’s journey becomes a reflection on death and passing.
The game has caught the attention of the community, especially because it highlights a problem not yet addressed in games. The cemetery was shown not as a horror movie, but as a moving spectacle of silence that provokes reflection.
The Graveyard was one of the inspirations for the Tibetan village scene in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.
The Endeless Forest | Tale of Tales
Relaxing online multiplayer game in which everyone takes on the role of a deer with a human face that can meet other players in a virtual forest. The Belgian duo Tale of Tales drew inspiration from local Flemish art and it was their first playable project.
The game is unusual in that it has been stripped of its genre-specific features: gameplay, purpose, and chatting. There is no plot here, although there are many things in the forest that inspire you to come up with a story. In addition to the configuration menus, there is also no language, as the developers wanted to prevent the word abuse that is too common in online games. The players, as avatars of beautiful deer, do not even have names. Conversely, if they choose to register (which is not necessary for the game), they can win a unique pictogram to distinguish their avatar. Character personalisation, the basis of online gaming, is designed here as a fun social feature – you can change the appearance of other players by casting magic that can be earned when your deer avatar rubs against trees, eats mushrooms, keeps a sleeping deer company, or sleeps in a mushroom circle. The latter feature is a holdover from the early days of the game, which was also a screen saver – when the computer was asleep, it logged into the forest and looked like a sleeping deer.
The current version of the game has been developing for 10 years. Despite the niche and eccentric theme, the game gained popularity among some players. There are currently 170,000 registered players.
ARTCORE | Masterskaya 15
A computer game in the form of an art project, created on the Roblox platform, where the player can create his own digital graphics and exhibit them in the most notable museums or create his own collection or gallery. In other words, Artcore is an art market simulacrum where you can not only exhibit works in the most famous museums, but also sell and buy them, expanding your own collection.
A philosophical game in which the unattainable goal is to meet the Absolute – the ultimate reality. It is accompanied by the awareness of quantum entanglement, the truthfulness of every mathematical thesis, which cannot be defended by referring to the environment of other primary theses, Planck’s constant, Holding’s equation, orders of magnitude Pablo Carlos Budassi and, finally, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. The philosophy of St. Augustine regarding the concept of time and Master Eckhard about the unwavering seclusion in eternity and infinity.
The game begins where it ends, so it is a loop of a journey through parallel realities. The player chooses the path of irreversible penetration into parallel worlds nested in reality with the mechanics of swarms suspended in non-existence. This is done using a gesture sensor (leap motion), which opens up another space for the player.