Pippin Barr – What are curious games
Pippin is a game designer, artist and critic who has done many wonderful things that you’re probably already too busy cooing over to bother finish reading this. He’s just spent the past month working to create the Digital Marina Abramovich Institute, where visitors can experience exercises designed by Abramovich and view some performance art. He’ll be talking about Curious Games.
His wife calls the games he makes curious games. Will be talking about a bunch of his games, and reflect what games can do. So what does it all mean? Games allow for interactivity, something that movies do not. You can ask a question and it gives an answer, or asks a question back. A game ai made a few years ago was literal – Guru Quest. You could ask any question, or ask about the meaning of life etc. You would have these conversations. And sometimes it brings values. It’s just a chatbot – but a guru can say anything that may be important, so works well. It can lead ot deep thoughts or adsurbities. Allows player to think about things.
Games allow us to take on interesting roles- what if one of us was God. So the flood story – runs the worlds, gets bored, floods everything and starts again. So ‘Let there be Smite’ to play this role. Play god, so smite or forgive. You get asked. As the population in the game increases, there are more sinners, more dialog boxes. You change behaviour. you don;t think, you just click and to stop the dialog boxes. A moral disintegration of not caring. If there’s too much sin, hit the panic button, flood and kill everyone, start again.
We ask if games are worthwhile. Are we asking if this is fun? Or make a game about whether the game is worthwhile. Made a game about ‘The Artist is Present’ based on Marina Abromovic. So you go to Moma, NY, (in the game) and if it is open (game had same opening hours as real place). You ‘buy’ ticket, you walk through gallerys and find queue. You can wait. And wait. Queue moves every 24mins. So you may bypass the queue, walk to the front to see what is happening. A person sitting in a chair, opposite a woman in a red dress. This was a real installation – and now the game allows you to do this. You need too decide if it is worth waiting in the queue. It can take 5 hours to get through to the front of the queue.
What makes a game what it is. If you change a small piece, if it is the same game or is it something else. SO played with Pong. Made 36 different versions. Called it Pongs. Changes rules. How the paddles move. Left and Right as well as up and down. You can graft something on, so every so often you get answered a trivia question before you can carry on the game – get it right, get more points. You need to be good at more than one thing – game as well as geography for example. You can change the way it looks. The ball is little people, the paddles are flags and it becomes about refugees.
But is it art? Causes controversy, the question, So wanted to make a game, to get player to think about the question. Made Art Game. In B&W as art game. You play as an artist, live in NY, live in studio. You contribute to a group art show. You have to make something..as you paint, it turns into a game of Snake. When you lose…you have a painting. You are trying to fail beautifully to make art. Once you have some, the curator may or may not like the pictures. And some people never get a picture in the show. The you get to see your picture in the ‘museum’.
So what’s wrong with my iPhone? Video games played on hardware. Interested in iphone, it is annoyingly perfect. I wanted to make a game that is the opposite to the ease. It is Snake..but different controls. You can tilt the phone, Or turn the phone. Thrust mode – you thrust the phone in the direction of the snake. All different ways of playing Snake, the phone becomes a different object, it’s a different experience.
So Marina Abromavic emailed him…and he entered into this collaboration. She is creating an institute, where people can go to learn about appreciation of time, space etc. So made digital version. It is the only real version that exists at the moment, as the physical building does not exist (yes). Opened a few days ago. So exercises. Slow motion walk, as slow as possible up the ramp. There are representations of real performance art – climbing naked up and down a ladder. An dit changes – because in the game, it can last forever.
Finally, wanted to make a game about death. Wanted to generate a feeling about this experience. (showed demonstration)