Aliens, Astronauts, and Video Games

Aliens, Astronauts, and Video Games

Since the 17th century, individuals have discussed the possibility of extraterrestrial beings. What is the possibility of extraterrestrial life? “Guaranteed,” Harvard physicist and search for extraterrestrial intelligent life leader Paul Horowitz declared in a 1996 interview with Time Magazine. It is “so overwhelmingly likely that I’d give you almost any odds you’d like,” he said….

Using Woodblocks to Reshape Video Game Art: An Interview with Incredipede’s Thomas Shahan

Using Woodblocks to Reshape Video Game Art: An Interview with Incredipede’s Thomas Shahan

Not that long ago, critics debated whether video games qualified as art. Now, thanks in large part to artist and microphotographer Thomas Shahan, Colin Northway’s forthcoming game Icredipede, available for preview, many put the question to rest. Shahan specializes in capturing the personalities of countless insects and spiders in his arthropod portraiture. His muses—Tabanus Horse flies,…

Less is More in These Video Games

Less is More in These Video Games

Designer Robert Morris once said that “simplicity of form is not necessarily simplicity of experience.” I found this especially pertinent to the simple, yet stunning game play of both PixelJunk Eden and NightSky. In PixelJunk Eden, a player controls Grimp as he jumps and swings across plant life to activate seeds in the different gardens….

Happily Ever After For These Video Game Heroines?

Happily Ever After For These Video Game Heroines?

Fairy tales and other stories of magic lack a single author, and often writers, directors, and video game designers play with classic versions. Two recent video games, The Path and Alice: Madness Returns, deliver noteworthy heroines to a few traditional tales. For centuries, various versions of Little Red Cap or Little Red Riding Hood presented…

A Video Game I Quit Playing

A Video Game I Quit Playing

Modern Americans are constantly bombarded with choices—local markets sell up to 25 different brands of water, media sources overload us with reports from the campaign trail, and college freshman opening a course catalog can be overwhelmed with options. Some people believe that choice rationally reflects desires, traits, and situations, and if we’re grounded in our…

What if Dali Made Video Games?

What if Dali Made Video Games?

PBS recently launched the Idea Channel, a bi-weekly series that examines the evolving relationship between modern technology and art. In the episode “Super Mario Brothers as Surrealist Art?”, host Mike Rungetta advocated for the game’s place in the canon of great surrealists.

Video Games for Your Health

Video Games for Your Health

Here is a list of cliché complaints that you likely hear on a daily basis: I was so worried about such and such, I couldn’t sleep. I got so bored running on the treadmill, I just wanted to slide off the back of it at full speed. I should not have ordered that ______ (fill…

Video Games aMuse Me

Video Games aMuse Me

From Man Ray and Elizabeth Lee Miller to Picasso and Marie-Therese Walter, the story of an artist and his muse proves just as striking as the artwork itself. Today, video games both inspire art and serve as a muse. Three different video game projects recently caught my fancy. A few years ago, I went to…

Do You Hear What I Hear in This Video Game?

Do You Hear What I Hear in This Video Game?

Last month, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered aired a piece titled “Why Do We Hate The Sound of Fingernails On a Chalkboard?” Musicologist Michael Oehler reported that this sound produces a frequency that reaches the most sensitive spot of the human ear and creates an amplified “open ear gain.” He further explained that some…

Video Games Rock Classical Music

Video Games Rock Classical Music

When I was eleven years old, my dad took me to see the Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge concert. The stage erupted with inflatable skeletons, giant Jagger-like cartoon lips flashed across a jumbo screen, and Mick Jagger strutted across stage. I was sold—it was rock n’ roll and I not only liked it, I loved it….