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Archive for the ‘Gaming’ Category

Something different since Halloween has past. Actually put some thought into my costume this year instead of pulling something half-assed, last-minute. I guess you could call it Cosplay…

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Yep, me in costume (Naked Snake c/o Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater). Lot of love went into this and it will get some use in other things. Also that’s me camera (Nikon D90 with 35mm) and I hate doing pics like that, but didn’t have many options at hand. Ah well.

 

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Cover - Animal Farm

When I’m out to buy a new book to keep myself occupied and I have no idea what’s awesome, recommended or will be a good worth while read, I do the faux pas thing and nab a book purchase based on its cover. Ah the old adage ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover’ comes out ringing loud and true. No you can’t exactly make that judgement call, but what I can do is enjoy the cover of a book then read the nice summary on the back and make a choice.

There’s a very good reason why publishing companies go to good lengths to make a book cover visually appealing. Primarily you’re enticed to have your eye caught on the book for purchasing prospects. Secondary is that it needs to help convey what the story is about (most of the time). And finally you’re suppose to have something pretty to look at and less utilitarian and generic sitting on your shelf.

Book cover art is serious business. This is something that gets printed tens of thousands if not a million times. A.J. (Aimie-Jane) Hateley is an artist who is serious about making book cover art. And she’s doing a damn fine job at it.

Limbo

What really caught my attention to her work was her combination of artistic skill, love of video games and her clear enjoyment of making book cover art. She’s working through a project entitled ’30 Days of Videogames’ which is basically her creating minimalistic book covers for book which have some representation to famous videogames over the years (such as Half-Life, Silent Hill, Metal Gear Solid, Katamari)

Many of them are a bit tongue in cheek when referencing their specific games, while others tend to stand out in the obvious. All of them are good homage to the legendary games they’re supposed to represent. And to sweeten the deal, some covers are available for purchase as cards, prints and shirts.

Final Fantasy 7

Videogame book covers aside, Hateley has done alternate covers for George Orwell’s book Animal Farm. Admittedly they are very abstract and a little bizarre from what you would expect to be the cover for Animal Farm but over all I would call the project a great exploration to expand a classic.

Moving beyond book cover design, like all artists, A.J. Hateley has other artistic pursuits but I find them to be less strong as her latter work has been. Primarily it seems to be highly repetitious and doesn’t exactly give me the impression she’s got the capacity to expand or evolve her work. This is the same for the book covers, yes they all take on a different game, but I feel there’s a lot of cookie cutter work design happening between them beyond the usual need to unify them via similar or common elements.

Flee - AJ Hateley

And on one final note, her tumblr. site was one of the ones responsible for me not entirely getting ripped shit pissed at the fail community known as tumblr. She’s got a good theme and layout going and actually knows how to use it better than a large majority of tumblr. users. However, as a gallery tool, tumblr. does not work well for presentation, which makes me a sad panda. Her older works can be found at her abandoned Deviantart Website.

Also if you’re really interested in owning some of her art, her print shop is open for business and prices are reasonable.

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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.

Flower
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.

Journey
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.

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