Being an artist and lover of all things art, the one article that appealed to me was Pearce’s “Games as Art: The Aesthetics of Interactivity”. She speaks of the mysterious ‘game artists’, game creators that used the gamespace as more than a mode of entertainment for the player, but a medium in which the player can create his/her own art. As she explains, “The game artist makes a conscious choice to share the art-making process, putting at least a part of the creative act in the hands of the player/participant” (Pearce). Thus the artist is inviting the player, giving the player a choice to play a role in the creation of the game-art.
art movement did just this. Whereas a painter uses a canvas, the Fluxus artist
used games. These FluxKits and FluxGames challenged the way people, whether
gamers or artists, viewed both media. One of the most important artists of this
movement was Marcel Duchamp. He “started with painting and ended with games”,
taking up an overly enthusiastic love for chess. In fact, chess was a highly
modded game in the Fluxus community.
White Chess set is a notable example. The original board game has been modded
until it becomes a message, a work of art, and a game all in one. And it wasn’t
even a dramatic change. Since both sides of the chessboard are white pieces,
there is no way to distinguish between the two team’s pieces. Even if the
players memorized where their pieces are placed, eventually the recognition
will disappear and the sides will lose track – the two teams will unite into
one. The game draws a parallel with the
Velvet-Strike mod for Counter-Strike, in which the anti-war statement is in the
form of hippie graffiti that the characters create as opposed to shooting. The White Chess game not only presents a
distinct anti-war statement; it also fits under the category of “unplayable”
mod. These “dysfunctional play mechanics” do not make the game any less of a
game than the original chess; according to Pearce’s list of “features that seem
to distinguish games from other sorts of activities”, a game should have
distinct rules, a goal, obstacles, resources, consequences, and information
(Pearce). But that’s not to say the White Chess game lacks any of these. It was
fun. It was a different take on play. And it made an important statement.
DeKoven would certainly agree that this was a form of play, and ultimately a
The next game I picked was Prui. This was a notable game from the New Games Movement, a movement which “used games as a way to challenge the status quo and explore alternative ways of being in the world” (Fron, et al). A response to the Vietnam War and other unrest, it put more focus on playing with other people, as opposed to playing with games. Prui, as we played in class, is a game where the players blindly shake each other’s hands as the one designated as the “prui” tries to shake hands with as many people as they can, spreading the “prui” until each player becomes “prui”. The game was surprisingly fun and simple, and can make a good icebreaker game (if the players don’t mind being accidentally groped). In Sustainable Play: Towards a New Games Movement for the Digital Age, a small group is described as playing the game, and ever going as far as to change the rules of the game inadvertently (Fron, et al). But in the context of New Games, this changing-of-the-rules is allowed and even encouraged. Steward Brand sums up the idea of the New Games Movement nicely: “you can’t change a game by winning it, goes the formula, or losing it or refereeing it or spectating it. You change a game by leaving it, going somewhere else and starting a new game. If it works, it will in time alter or replace the old game” (Fron, et al).
----------------------------------------------------------------Brand, Stewart. "SPACEWAR: Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death Among the Computer Bums," Rolling Stone, December 7, 2001. http://www.wheels.org/spacewar/stone/rolling_stone.html
Fron, J., Fullerton, T., Morie, J. & Pearce, C. (aka Ludica) (2005). "Sustainable Play: Towards A New Games Movement for the Digital Age." Digital Arts & Culture Conference Proceedings, Copenhagen, December 2005.
Pearce, Celia. "Games as Art: The Aesthetics of Interactivity." Visible Language: Special Issue on Fluxus. January 2006. De Koven, Bernard. "The Well-Played Game: A Player's Philosophy." New York: Anchor Books. First Edition, 1978.