Artist and electronic media prof Fernando Orellana has created a treasure trove of whimsical and ingenious media art. So, give him a tool like coding-for-artists environment Processing, and you know he’ll do something unusual. So far, we have the game Chef’s Special. With lo-fi graphics that would make Videlectrix proud, a pirate ship sinks slowly into the sea. You play, on different axes, a knife-wielding chef and a hungry pirate, carving up and gobbling slow-moving penguins as time runs out. I imagine the sinking ship, the naval outlaws, and the hunger for a vanishing, global warming-threatened resource could be seen as a potent, poetic metaphor for our times, if one were so inclined. Me, I’m too busy zoning out killing digital penguins.
In other news: I think we need an alternative games festival that celebrates really nonsensical, awful game mechanics (Wait – maybe not. I might be the one charged with digging through Wii shovelware for those really special turds. At least this is genuine art.)
I’ll be watching what Fernando does. And certainly, Processing and other tools can be fantastic ways to play with games as a medium, and play at making games to play.
For an especially fantastic example of that, check out what happens when a class full of artists with no programming experience make art out of Breakout: