11.30.2005

Interactive eye candy

None of these are exactly "games" in the traditional sense. For the most part, there are no explicit goals, no challenges, no way to win or lose. They all certainly have beginnings, and some of them have ends; others are infinite playgrounds for your enjoyment. They are all (with one exception) of the point-n-click genre, which suggests a game, even if some of these are more aptly termed "interactive flash animation." In any event, they are all engrossing, and beautiful.

Vectorpark contains no text, nothing by way of introduction or explanation. You are presented with a black screen containing three images, from which you may choose your "game". Park, the real attraction, is a broad, surreal landscape that changes and evolves with each mouseclick. Levers is a fun balancing game in which you must arrange a series of hooks and variously weighted objects to achieve equilibrium, without anything touching the water below. The unusual weights are dynamic objects; birds come out of the birdhouse to flap around and perch on the various hooks, changing the balance; the water tank can be filled and emptied; the snowman will melt if placed too close to the sun (one of the incredibly heavy objects you will receive in later stages). Finally there is Thomas, a series of non-interactive but very cool animations you may view.







Fly Guy is an incredibly cute little game from talented pixel-artist Trevor Van Meter. You are a bored suburban businessman, waiting at the bus stop, when suddenly you decide to take to the skies. There you will have a number of fascinating and whimsical encounters. Occasionally you will come up against something that will remind you of your mundane life -- like a copier -- and back down to earth you will go. But don't avoid anything in this game. Try it all out and see what happens.





Skyfish is another dreamy, flying-through-the-air game by Syougo Maruyama, creator of the excellent Samorost-style Kao Fu-Sen. You are a flying fish-person, a sort of reverse mermaid, swimming through the skies along with a number of odd creatures/things. When you touch them, the scene changes, and you are suddenly stroking through water, or space, or a nighttime cityscape. I haven't yet discerned if there is some goal, or if this is merely exploratory. Possibly you are meant to progress through a series of scenes without touching one of the creatures that will send you back to an earlier stage. In any case, the rhythmic swimming and wandering music provide a gentle, soothing experience, regardless of your destination.





Moxomoxo is the work of designer Matthieu Gueritte (visit his portfolio for more wonderful art and animation). It is a surreal, Bosch-inspired triptych of interactive animated scenes portraying the Garden of Eden, the Last Judgement, and Hell. With robots. The style reminds me somewhat of the robot subculture of Futurama -- this is what their robots-only version of religious artwork might look like. It's something you simply must see.





Happy Seed is a curious Japanese animated story. Like many Japanese links, it's hard with no context to tell where it came from or why it exists, but it tells the story of a strange square seed that comes down from outer space, and proceeds to transform the world of the little people who have all gathered around in curiosity. It does this by making everything square -- the little round houses become giant skyscrapers, their spherical vehicles are turned into big, modern blocky things, and in the end, the planet itself becomes one big cube. Flight of fancy, cautionary tale, or paean to the relentless forward march of modernization? You be the judge. It's awful cute, though.





I have a number of other links in this category to share, but I'll save it for another post. Up next: Arcade games.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Ladysusan:

I loved the cube game--have you told me about this one before? My only disappointment was that the chicken didn't get cubified.

16:30  
Anonymous orangeguru:

Must resist ... clicking time wasters ... resist ... argh ...

18:38  
Anonymous Anonymous:

Thanks for the links, very nice games! :-)

11:57  

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