Archive for January, 2008

Ludic Comedy
January 12, 2008

We’ve all played Super Mario: a classic platform game where with trial & error you get to overcome the obstacles ahead of you. Now, a Japanese coder got the original level of Super Mario and gave it a very fun twist: it turned the game onto the most absurd and difficult platformer ever.

The bizarre kitty that’s replacing Mario, the silly music and the unfair rules make this ludic experiment quite fun to watch. Because you realize that it’s not about winning the game, but actually about experiencing the game as a comedy. When you discover the most stupid things happening to your character, frustration gets transformed into a laugh. What’s also nice about it, is that you can completely relate to the feelings the player is having: even though the character is a simple un-animated image, when he slowly walks towards the next trap you can realize the fear in him.

I find this hilarious and a really good way of remixing old classic games. Watch:

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Software as Art
January 8, 2008

I usually blog about innovations on the field of gaming that try to unleash new possibilities with interactivity. Probably because games, due to the their intrinsic interactive value, are the most common place to find new styles of interactive design. But games are a subset of a much more broader category: Software.

Today, I want to share with you 2 specific works of computer code that really catched my imagination.

The first one of them is the marvelous We Feel Fine. A clear example of how you can turn the entire web 2.0 feeling into an artistic experience. A duet of coders in New York have created this amazing system that crawls the entire blogosphere trying to find the terms: “I’m feeling…” or “I feel…” and how the sentence continues. With that sentence they try to identify your current feeling and match it to a specific color. The result? An incredible view of the world’s current mood through an amazing interface that will leave you breathless.

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The second piece I would like to mention is the Phillip-K.-Dick-inspired Electric Sheep. When the famous sc-fi authour wrote his novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” he didn’t know that a team of programmers would go and try to actually find out what computers dream about. And they did by developing an astonishing screensaver system that calculates complex fractal animations in a distributed online network and the result is hours of the most beautiful math transformed into dancing designs that will appear on your screen each time your computer feels sleepy.

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I would like to see more stuff like this, because I truly consider digital interactivity the new horizon that art has to play with. Each time that I go to a museum like the MoMA or MALBA, I have this constant thought about what gets exhibited as “modern” art: When Marcel Duchamp put an urinal at an art exhibtion, he definitely was a genius for being the first one having that wild idea. But all the other ones that came after him doing that same thing, are, like the french like to say, pretentiousfucks.