selected answers

  • I think for me, formal Games are usually taking an existing game paradigm, and remixing elements, parts, UX etc..things like first person shooters, tower defense, strategy, rpg, morg, puzzle, platformers, etc etc.. one of the more interesting recent games for me it Astrobot on PS4 in VR. It is basically a platformer but in VR space.
  • That one lil twist makes it feel both familiar and very new too thats an argument for remixing. But Art games tend to approach it all very differently, and when it happens, you recognize it.
  • Have you ever play Braid? For me its the greatest game I ever played, its super deep philosophically and its super personal AND super fun. Basically it’s like super mario brothers for adults. There are only two buttons: jump and GOING BACK IN TIME
  • Monument Valley? Limbo and Inside. I have a hard time playing because they are so beautiful!
    Unpopular opinion: I love the Sims and have always felt it was an Art Game. Same with Second Life.
  • They’re less interested in taking existing paradigms, and inventing a new one unto itself. so the challenge is a lot diff in the design. With those existing game paradigms, you dont have to explain to a User how to play this game. When inventing a new paradigm, you need to educate a lil more. but that is also part of the fun. it is becoming a lil more self-aware of the medium itself, and rethinking how you must approach it.

I had fun playing “Everything” (yes that is the name of the game) for a bit. It was free on the Epic Games store a couple weeks ago but alas, no longer.
You can read about it here:
https://www.wired.com/2017/03/everything-game-review/

As far as I’ve played it, there is no “winning” which might be a common core to certain kinds of “art games”. I dont necessarily feel like that is a requirement to be an art game, but I feel like most games that fit that description will wind up being described as art games.
A good art game in this regard will be one where I dont mind that there is no winning or losing. In fact, if I am sufficiently absorbed into it, the idea of introducing a solid goal outside of my own mind or some arbitrary win/lose condition is just a distraction. If not almost offensive (depending on how good the game is).
At its peak, this feeling can be called “flow state”. This concept has been examined in the context of athletes and musicians that get completely absorbed in their current state of performance. Though in these examples, there is some kind of end state or win condition at the “end” of the flow state.
With a game like “Everything” there is no “end” or winning or losing. It is flow without direction. And if you feel the same way about art games, Everything is a good one to pick up. Throughout the game, audio clips are loosely scattered around the world. They are selected parts of Alan Watts’ lectures about the nature of the universe and our sense of being.
I found the pairing delightful and satisfying, but more importantly a conceptual defense of “flow without direction”. His use of words like “play” or “game” remind you that play does not always have to equal “compete” nor does game always have to equal “competition”. A potent frame for an experience with all the trappings of a “video game”.

Interesting to note about “Braid,” as well, is that it doesn’t just have a clever rewind mechanic — the concept of rewinding over past mistakes in one’s life is essential to the story it tells. One major reason it gets labelled “art game.” The mechanic of the game is an integral part of the expressive “point.”

Jonathan Blow’s more recent game “The Witness” does something similar, if that sort of thing interests you.

“Second Life” is something you could argue straddled the game/art divide and never really got truly accepted by either camp. Kind of game-like. Kind of a giant collaborative art project. Seems to mostly be treated like some retro nerdy joke these days, at least when I hear about it…

Zhenzhen: ever play Braid? 
For me its the greatest game I ever played, its super deep philosophically and its super personal AND super fun. Basically it’s like super mario brothers for adults. There are only two buttons: jump and GOING BACK IN TIME

Humble has a post-modern bundle running right now. The Stanley Parable, in particular, is essential.
Humble Post Moderm Bundle
Braid is an absolute masterpiece, as is The Witness. I’d rank both among the most important in the medium—especially The Witness.
Jonathan Blow is currently in the process of creating a new game, using a game engine he is also creating, in a new programming language he is also creating.
Jonathan Blow on Twitch