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Austin Breed's art games
April 18, 2011 2:43 PM   Subscribe

Austin Breed is a 19-year-old game designer. His works are typically said to fall under the "art game" genre but are in fact better understood as interactive experiences that deal with everything from the idea of faith to the emotional turmoil of long distance relationships. Here are my favorites: Distance, A Mother in Festerwood, Sweatshop Boy, Good Fortune. posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth (16 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think he has some talent, but maybe he should consider making games.
posted by demiurge at 3:00 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Whoah. "Distance" packs a real emotional punch. It had me completely convinced that the way to get through the day was by clicking rapidly 9 times, but then WHAM! I was only supposed to fast-click TWO times, and I accidentally chose a dialog option. That hit hard.

I kid, but it was kind of a good, er, artgame. Taking a medium that offers the idea of control and then using it to demonstrate the inevitability of something is a good idea.
posted by gurple at 3:22 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


These are pretty interesting. Distance is especially sad. Sweatshop Boy reminds me a little of WTF. Like a lot of similar games, these could have been better with improved writing and more content, but the ideas are good.

On kind of a vaguely related note, does anyone remember the game about getting over powerful relationships (not all of them romantic) by leaping through a series of memories or something? Does anyone have any idea what I'm talking about?
posted by byanyothername at 3:26 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think one needs to come to terms with the idea that there are artists that use the medium of videogames to create art. It may be good or bad art, but it is art, and playing these games with the primary expectation of being entertained will leave a person disappointed. You need to approach these games in the same way you would approach a painting, poem, or art film.

Stephen Lavelle's The Terrible Whiteness of Appalachian Nights serves as a good introduction to the possibilities of videogames as a medium for contemporary art.
posted by lemuring at 3:29 PM on April 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Oh boy, another art and video game discussion off to a great start. The term "game" seems to confuse people who I guess seek challenge and want to be rewarded with points. Or something.

Personally, I love this new Interactive Art trend. The snark that inevitably creeps up whenever these works are shared kind of bums me out. On preview, what lemuring said.

byanyothername, you may be thinking of ...But That Was Yesterday, which I also loved.
posted by synthedelic at 3:38 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


lemuring, I agree with one caveat: call it interactive art, not a videogame, otherwise you confuse everyone. The IF people seemed to have figured that out, and that community makes some good games too, not just one-trick interactive jokes or satirical barbs that some people call games.
posted by demiurge at 3:42 PM on April 18, 2011


I think the most interesting thing about these... whatever you want to call them... is that the mechanics serve as metaphor for the idea being expressed.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 3:43 PM on April 18, 2011


Um, lemuring, I was kind of digging "The Terrible Whiteness of Appalachian Nights", until the bizarre and NSFW ending. Maybe I just don't like contemporary art.
posted by demiurge at 3:51 PM on April 18, 2011


Oh boy, another art and video game discussion off to a great start. The term "game" seems to confuse people who I guess seek challenge and want to be rewarded with points. Or something. ... The snark that inevitably creeps up...

Um? I'm not seeing a lot of snark here of the type you're describing. demiurge's first comment, maybe. My snark was about the mechanics, whether it's a 'game' or 'art' or whatever; I leave open the possibility that the frustration that I felt with the interface was intended to be part of the experience.

I think you're looking for a fight that mostly happens elsewhere.
posted by gurple at 3:55 PM on April 18, 2011


I remember as a kid encountering Ungame, and remember thinking 'that's not very game-like', but it did tell you upfront in its name (but it *looked* like a game; a box, a board, dice, etc).

And I can't help thinking about Ebert's skepticism that games could be art; when the art games come out we express skepticism that they are really games.
posted by el io at 3:57 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Um, lemuring, I was kind of digging "The Terrible Whiteness of Appalachian Nights", until the bizarre and NSFW ending. Maybe I just don't like contemporary art.

I should have put a NSFW tag, I'm sorry :-/
posted by lemuring at 4:12 PM on April 18, 2011


...But That Was Yesterday

❤!

Yes! That's it! I knew someone would know! I think this is one of the better examples of how to take art games beyond clever tricks into something that's both satisfyingly interactive and still 100% focused on its emotional impact.
posted by byanyothername at 4:21 PM on April 18, 2011


(Oh, and thank you synthedelic! I thought I had that in my post when I didn't... Yay for sick day absentmindedness.)
posted by byanyothername at 4:23 PM on April 18, 2011


I think one needs to come to terms with the idea that there are artists that use the medium of videogames to create art.

He uses the aesthetic of videogames which is a very, very, very different thing from making video games. We wouldn't call Roy Lichtenstien a comic book artist, would we?

This kid's work is great, but they are absolutely not games. Interactive? Yes.
posted by GilloD at 5:52 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


But can he make the player taste a peach?
posted by LogicalDash at 6:03 PM on April 18, 2011


Along the lines of But That Was Yesterday, which is an excellent piece of work by Mike Molinari (as is his other JIG competition game, don't forget Together.

Also out there are I Wish I Were the Moon and the Majesty of Colors, both I believe previously mentioned on the Blue. There's a pretty large body of work out there that falls under the heading of interactive art - or narrative gameplay. The Path, for example. But I should probably stop before this turns into a linkypost.
posted by Han Tzu at 4:23 PM on April 28, 2011


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