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For fans of: pixels, archaeologists, fatalism
October 20, 2013 11:27 PM   Subscribe

CRYPT WORLDS: Your Darkest Desires, Come True!
A game for PC, Mac, and Linux. By Elizabeth Deadman.
Audio by Liz Ryerson, who made Problem Attic.

The trailer will persuade you to consume it.
The guide will tell you how to walk and urinate.

It is pretty cool.
posted by Rory Marinich (38 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite

 
YES!
Rusalkamask aka Cicadamarionette aka Lillithmegiddo weaves amazing dream nightmare spaces... She captures the claustrophobia, dread, fear and wonder of spaces.
posted by Enigmark at 11:35 PM on October 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Enigmark: this is the first thing of hers I've discovered. Please recommend me/us other things by her that you've enjoyed? Her website is glorious, but also not the easiest to navigate.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:37 PM on October 20, 2013


Rory: play Symbol next
posted by hellojed at 11:41 PM on October 20, 2013


Also: the rest of her games are here
posted by hellojed at 11:42 PM on October 20, 2013


I wonder, is this kind of thing exclusive to videogaming? Did they make some version of things like this in years past? Did once mad scribes in monasteries cunningly pen Latin glitches on parchment? Are there artists that play with form in this way, perhaps painting something interesting with thick paint, then throwing a vial of turpentine at the work, or maybe sawing the canvas in half?

While there have been some things kind of like that (Dada leaps readily to mind) I suspect not. I think this kind of thing, this love of the broken, is original to computer gaming. I am eager to know to what end this trend will lead while oddly dreading its inevitable realization.
posted by JHarris at 12:30 AM on October 21, 2013


Well, it's different in the sense that it's working within the conventions of gaming: freedom of choice and restrictions therein, subverted in the way that dadaist artists and writers subverted visuals and narrative. There's also the freedom/lack of space, where the physical architecture of a game can be subverted likewise.

Dada in terms of assembly, Fluxus in terms of action, and... hmm... Friedrich Hundertwasser in terms of the general joyful madness? I'm curious what sort of "inevitable realization" you dread, though. Something beyond a general love of messiness and roughness?
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:42 AM on October 21, 2013


Realization as in making real. The ultimate glitchgame. Here is a game in which you piss on things as a play mechanic. I almost don't want to know what comes after that.

Where I think this is different is that computer programs are the first work of art that, itself, creates art. An artist produces paintings; a programmer makes a program that creates the experience. It's that remove that I find interesting; if you mess up that program, the results upon the experience can be bizarre. I love watching videos of Super Mario ROM corruptions (I made a FPP about them a few years back). The creator, in the description for Symbol, writes about being inspired by using hacks to explore the glitchy beta areas in Ocarina of Time, and thinking like these areas are in the game, in a way existing in its universe even if ordinarily you can never enter them. I find that idea very interesting, almost exhilarating.

We've been leading this way ever since Miyamoto turned running around the status line in Super Mario, breaking the "reality" of the game, into the entrance to a warp zone. The minus world, Metroid's "secret world," those weird "outside the universe" areas of Castlevania II, wall breaking play mechanics of all sorts. Those things are nifty.
posted by JHarris at 1:02 AM on October 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Jharris, I would argue that a musical score, a film script, a written play are earlier examples of what you are talking about. A composer creates a score, which needs to be played by a musician to create the experience. A playwright creates a play, which must then be performed by actors.

And in those cases, there are some close analogies to games-about-gaming. In music, there's Mozart's A Musical Joke, which features deliberately wrong notes, among many other deliberate errors.

In theatre, there's Michael Frayn's Noises Off -- a farce about the production of a farce. It's generally performed on a rotating stage, so that the first act shows the (real) audience what an (imaginary) audience would see; then the (real) stage turns around, so you can see the (pretend) backstage, and view the chaos that goes on backstage during an (imaginary) performance. The humor comes very specifically from the (real) audience's knowledge of what is going wrong during the (imaginary) performance.

In film, I know there are movies that play with film scratches, jumped frames, and even (fake) burning celluloid, but I'm totally blanking on them. I would swear this kind of thing happens in at least one Bugs Bunny cartoon, but I can't seem to google it up.
posted by yankeefog at 3:50 AM on October 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


yankeefog: Duck Amuck is the go-to reference for cartoons that break the fourth wall and play with the means by which the art is made. Max Fleischer's "Out of the Inkwell" cartoons also do this. There are plenty of others, though -- if anything, they were a more common trope in early animated shorts (the 20s-30s) more than the late (50s-60s), kind of a reversal of what usually happens in the evolution of an art form.
posted by ardgedee at 4:24 AM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Bugs Bunny cartoon you're blanking on is Rabbit Punch, where Bugs Bunny cuts the film rather than lose the boxing match. "That film didn't exactly break." The theatrical cut of Gremlins 2 also did something like that, coincidentally also involving Warner Bros. cartoon characters. (The segment was changed for home video releases.)

But I'd argue that there's something novel at work here, because all of those things also apply to computer games, and yet this seems like it's more than a quantitative difference. The ways they may do so are multiple, but one way, which seems relevant, is an element of transgression on the part of the player/audience, finding a bug or glitch that lets him do something not intended. Or, "not intended," for a fake glitch can be presented in such a way that it seems real. Particularly innovative games may some day allow players to purposely glitch them (the end of the webgame Candy Box -- if you have the patience to build up the ten trillion or so candy you need to trigger it -- plays with that idea).

What computer games offer is something of the creator itself. What a computer program makes is not really what its creator has made. For all the talk people have done about it, we've not really seen a lot of that except in simplistic ways: the exploration of spaces the player isn't "supposed" to go, and states he's not supposed to experience, such as in game-breaking exploits. A lot of work is done on commercial games to prevent this sort of thing, but it still sneaks through sometime. I suppose that this is seen as a flaw in these games is telling.
posted by JHarris at 4:45 AM on October 21, 2013


Looks very similar to LSD: Dream Emulator though maybe not as wacky.
posted by mysticreferee at 4:47 AM on October 21, 2013


JHarris: The ways they may do so are multiple, but one way, which seems relevant, is an element of transgression on the part of the player/audience, finding a bug or glitch that lets him do something not intended. Or, "not intended," for a fake glitch can be presented in such a way that it seems real. Particularly innovative games may some day allow players to purposely glitch them (the end of the webgame Candy Box -- if you have the patience to build up the ten trillion or so candy you need to trigger it -- plays with that idea).

Reminds me of fighting Psycho Mantis in MGS. He comments on other save games on your memory cards, makes it seem like your TV has changed inputs, and requires you to plug your controller into port 2 to thwart his mind reading abilities.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:26 AM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hideo Kojima liked playing with the 4th wall in the Metal Gear solid series(mainly around Psycho Mantis), presenting glitches as gameplay
posted by fistynuts at 5:30 AM on October 21, 2013


So is there anything in particular about playing the game that makes it an interesting experience, or is it just pissing and nihilism? (Which are fine and dandy, but I got the gist from reading the guide, yannow.)
posted by trunk muffins at 5:31 AM on October 21, 2013


Particularly innovative games may some day allow players to purposely glitch them (the end of the webgame Candy Box -- if you have the patience to build up the ten trillion or so candy you need to trigger it -- plays with that idea).

It's fitting that you can change the values of candy from your browser then. Apropos candy and chocolate, I've found that I can reduce the value of my bank account by 1 and get 1 chocolate (scales linearly) in real world, but there is item corruption, so you have to consume it in a limited time period. Still can't double jump though.
posted by ersatz at 5:53 AM on October 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


NICE! (and I am totally surprised codacorolla didn't post this). I love pretty much anything from the jchastain/catamites/cicada marionette/porpentine crew (are some of those the same people? I get so confused by all the pseudonyms)
posted by pravit at 5:54 AM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Looks very interesting. I'll be trying this out.

I wonder, is this kind of thing exclusive to videogaming? Did they make some version of things like this in years past?

The earliest example of artists embracing glitch—technical malfunction as deliberate aesthetic—that I'm aware of is in electronic music. Oval started experimenting with skipping and misbehaving CDs in the early 90s; Pole also comes to mind (his early work derived its characteristic sound from a broken Waldorf 4-Pole filter).
posted by escape from the potato planet at 6:40 AM on October 21, 2013


Almost every art form has its own version of "glitch" art. Fuzz guitar, for example, was invented by Ike Tuner poking a hole in an amplifier speaker with a pencil. More recently, the auto-tuned vocal craze is the result of a deliberate misuse of digital tool designed to subtly alter a tone to get it in tune.
posted by vibrotronica at 6:56 AM on October 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


You could even say that the long-lost DJ art of scratching is a deliberately induced glitch.
posted by Mister_A at 7:19 AM on October 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


JHarris:

Ah, interesting! Yes, I see your point.

I think the closest analogy I can come up with is the Sherlock Holmes fandom. There are a number of continuity errors among the various Sherlock Holmes stories, and a certain subset of fandom loves to come up with ways of rationalizing them. For example, the location of Watson's war wound constantly shifts. Some obsessive fans explain this by hypothesizing that Watson was shot in the genitals, and that rather than admit this, Watson has made up a story that he can't always keep straight.

Still, this isn't exactly the same thing, and you've convinced me: what's going on with video game glitches is indeed something new. "What a computer program makes is not really what its creator has made" is an eloquent way of putting it.
posted by yankeefog at 7:27 AM on October 21, 2013


You could even say that the long-lost DJ art of scratching is a deliberately induced glitch.

You could... Christian Marclay pretty much invneted turntablism/scratching, and released Album Without a Cover (an LP was intentionally supposed to be damaged and dusty).

Allegedly the first example of glitch art was by Islamic artists making "intentional mistakes" in geometrically repeating tiles.

But anyway, glitch art/music basically relies on there being an underlying, "hidden" pattern which can be revealed by introducing errors.


The Asethetics of Failure
posted by Foosnark at 7:30 AM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love that there's a vibrant No Wave scene in gaming now. It's exactly what we need.
posted by naju at 7:53 AM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Allegedly the first example of glitch art was by Islamic artists

It is still a tradition in Turkey to deliberately get a stitch wrong in every hand-made rug, but the point there is that perfection is for Allah alone. I think the tile business may be motivated by the same tradition.
posted by Mister_A at 8:10 AM on October 21, 2013


It's also a handy excuse when you screw up at work.
posted by rifflesby at 8:11 AM on October 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yeah, "It's for Allah, bro!"

Anyway, Grand Wizard Theodore disputes the claim that Christian Marclay invented scratching.
posted by Mister_A at 8:13 AM on October 21, 2013


You could also think of, say, Tristram Shandy as a sort of glitch novel.
posted by Casuistry at 8:26 AM on October 21, 2013


I've never read that, curse my extensive education in the basic sciences!
posted by Mister_A at 8:37 AM on October 21, 2013


The difference between messing up a stitch and messing up a tile is that the tiles are uniform and inflexible, so a few very small discrepancies in one place can create large patterns of misalignment that spread away, increasing in magnitude as you get further from the origin of the error. In this way the rigidity of the tiles mirrors the rigidity of software code (while a stitch is soft, and the errors can easily be contained rather than subtly propagating and magnifying away from the source). A good software glitch isn't just a few pixels being off, it is a misalignment of some small but vital parameter that grows into unpredictable and absurd results as its consequences ripple.
posted by idiopath at 8:48 AM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


In film, I know there are movies that play with film scratches, jumped frames, and even (fake) burning celluloid, but I'm totally blanking on them.

There was the hilarious bit in the 'Planet Terror' half of 'Grindhouse' where the hero and leading lady finally have a moment of rest and fall into each others arms and tumble into bed just as the 'film' melts in the projector and flashes a 'scene missing'... and then the film splices back in right in the middle of their safe house burning down and everyone running around screaming with no explanation whatsoever.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:11 AM on October 21, 2013


Except that, in the case of Islamic tiled mosaics, the mistakes are not repeated, propagated, and multiplied. They are one-offs. The overall impression is one of harmony and unity, not increasingly disjointed and misaligned chaos.
posted by Mister_A at 9:13 AM on October 21, 2013


I kind of love from that walkthrough, "Gameplay is where you don't have something so you have to go get it."


And the mistakes in tiles and carpets are mistakes that make it hand-crafted and human, while the mistakes of glitch make it mechanical and inhuman.
posted by RobotHero at 10:03 AM on October 21, 2013


Except that, in the case of Islamic tiled mosaics, the mistakes are not repeated, propagated, and multiplied. They are one-offs. The overall impression is one of harmony and unity, not increasingly disjointed and misaligned chaos.

Unless you have OCD.
posted by Foosnark at 11:09 AM on October 21, 2013


Well if you have OCD then you will probably have a blast looking for errors in these complex geometrical mosaics. Something for everyone!
posted by Mister_A at 11:54 AM on October 21, 2013


JHarris: The theatrical cut of Gremlins 2 also did something like that, coincidentally also involving Warner Bros. cartoon characters. (The segment was changed for home video releases.)

Did you just spawn this (currently 3 pages from the front) reddit TIL I wonder....?

Layers upon layers of gaming styles meta-commentary.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:43 PM on October 21, 2013


It's not my thread, I barely visit Reddit at the moment.
posted by JHarris at 1:08 PM on October 21, 2013


Blech, yea I didn't mean you personally but instead if your comment prompted someone else to post it there.... sorry for the confusion.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:22 PM on October 21, 2013


In the same vein is GOBLET GROTTO. That part where you fall off the earth and end up in the dog land? Mind blowing. Kind of like that part in Crypt Worlds where you end up in this place with all these endless rows of programmers. I wonder if Ulillillia would enjoy these given his love of exploring glitches in video games? Man, I love me some internet people.

I admit I have't played more than 15 minutes at most of either game. I just love the aesthetic and concept. They are kind of painful to play as an actual game.
posted by pravit at 6:57 PM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


So I just got Eldritch...and wow, it totally reminds me of Crypt Worlds, except it's actually fun. It's sort of like a creepy FPS roguelike with Minecraft graphics. But the pieces of meat lying around on the floor? Crypt adventuring? Creepy noises? Totally Crypt Worlds. (which, as I understand it, draws a lot of inspiration from "King's Field" which I haven't had the pleasure of playing).
posted by pravit at 8:16 PM on October 23, 2013


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