Well technically a game studio and not really an artist or artist group, thatgamecompany (tgc) does a lot of work with their games that could be considered art or interactive art. Unlike a lot of other game companies, tgc seems to start with the art and aesthetics and then move on to game play which has been evident since their first games.
flOw (PS3 Version)
My first run in with flOw was actually the online flash version and it was really nifty. Things floated around, you could see the layering that happened and it was a really chill game to relax and play out on. When it was coming to the PS3 I was totally stoked to get my hands on it, more so since it was going to use motion controls instead of mouse movements. In addition the artistic graphics and audio were pumped up to 11 and with more creatures to play as the experience was made to be phenomenal. It’s a game that is best tried rather than read about.
So flOw was a great and fantastic game to play and how do you follow something as magnificent as that? You give the player the experience of being a simple flower pedal on the wind. It’s not exactly the most complicated idea or concept, but it’s an effective one again combined with artistic graphics and music /audio to go with it.
The game is simple and basic, you’re a flower pedal on the wind and you have to collect more pedals or activate specific ones to advance. Motion controls are used again, and no other way would allow for a smooth flow of game play.
And finally, keeping with the tradition of one word game names, thatgamecompany is getting set to release by the end of this year. Currently a closed beta testing of the game is underway and I was hoping to get as I met the criteria, but didn’t. Still regardless, this game is shaping up to having the most interesting multiplayer experience. From what I know, the plot involves you working with another person to solve challenges and get to the top of this mountain.
What’s different about the multiplayer is no names and no real way to communicate. It’s an interesting way of forcing players to work together and cut out the typical bullshit you get from the general online populace.
thatgamecompany is very much worth watching for in terms of their ability to create such artistry via the video game medium. Their attention to artistic styling is outstanding and they’re pushing the boundaries between video games, art and the buzz word ‘interactive media’. I look forward to their next game as well as future games they plan to produce. Perhaps someday they will get past barrier and prove to the masses that video games can be art.