Our first app… coming soon!


Today we’ve submitted our first app for iPhone/iPod touch to the Apple app store for approval! Excitement!!

It is called Vanitas.

Vanitas has been commissioned for The Art History of Games, a public symposium which is taking place February 4th-6th, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, at the High Museum of Art. Where we will be attending and speaking among good company. We are one of 3 developers selected to make something on occasion of the event. The other two being Jason Rohrer and Eric Zimmerman. All 3 projects will be at a special exhibition at the Kai Lin Gallery during the conference and for a month afterwards. We’re planning something special for the gallery … 😉

Vanitas is not a game. Hopefully the approval process won’t get complicated. It should be available in time for the exhibition opening, then you can find what its all about!

My New Year’s Resolutions

1. More Independence
2. Less games

The start of a new decade feels like an appropriate time to get ambitious. Out with the old, in with the new! Not that there’s going to be any extreme changes around here. My resolutions mostly concern a change in attitude, in philosophy. But, with any luck, they will take us further. And in the right direction.

While these resolutions have been bubbling up for a while, two things were direct triggers: Auriea’s realisation that her favourite games of the decade are all over 5 years old and our recent visit to the Belgian incarnation of the historical Game On exhibition where it became very clear how much more fun the old arcade games are than the new pseudo-narrative shiny next gen titles upon which I had based a lot of my hopes.


We don’t want to make obscure art. This is a big part of the reason why we choose to work with digital media. We don’t even want to make art per se. We just want to share beautiful moments and elegant thoughts with people who are open to them. And perhaps, in our most audacious daydreams, we’d hope to make a small contribution to a more harmonious world.

Accessibility is one of the reasons why we don’t shy away from commerce. Commerce is an efficient way to distribute things in a capitalist system. And thanks to the abundance of the digital, we can sell our work very cheaply. But commerce also has a way of confusing an artist, of holding you back. Commerce forces you to think about seduction -even when it’s not appropriate- and to favour projects with commercial potential over others that might be more relevant artistically. We like our work to be accessible. But we want that to be an artistic choice and not an economic requirement.

We’re not very good at commerce anyway. We don’t have clever business minds. And our work is just a bit too far away from the ordinary to appeal to people who do. But above all, thinking about commerce -however exciting it may sometimes be- always ends in bogging us down, to slowing us down, to depressing us.

I want us to become less dependent. Less dependent on money, less dependent on success, less dependent on quantity. And focus exclusively on quality. This includes improving the accessibility of our work! While commercial pressure may motivate one to lower the threshold of their productions, it only does so towards a specific target audience, effectively locking everyone else out. It would be possible to optimize our work to be very accessible for hardcore gamers. But at the expensive of other people we might also want to communicate with. We want our work to be more widely accessible. We don’t want to depend on any specific niche.

None of this leads to any radical decisions. This is just a resolution that can guide us when making future decisions. As of now, I want to focus on self-sufficiency. And favour non-profit or break-even operations over commercial ones. Or even figure out ways to make losing money bearable. It’s ok if that means working on smaller projects. As long as they are “big on the inside”.

Games over

This year, I’m going to care less about games. And as a result, I will probably enjoy them more.

I give up.
I give up on my hopes for videogames to become a valid cultural medium.
I’ve been fighting very hard. I’ve been putting my money where my mouth is. For several years already. Almost a decade.

But the games industry is merrily traveling in the opposite direction. Videogames are not changing anymore. They seem to have lost that capacity. Sure, the technology still evolves, so everything gets more shiny. But this is not leading to any sort of evolution, let alone the required revolution. The desire is simply not there.

Because videogames are happy just as they are. The videogame culture is extremely pleased with itself. A few years ago, people were still complaining about “sequelitis”. No everybody merrily plays Hip Shootgame #13 and Cool Jumpgame #26, with no objections. On the contrary! Everybody gets very solemn and deep when yet another war simulator hits the shelves. Only to forget it within the first week of release.

Gamers, publishers, journalists are all very happy! Who am I to spoil their fun? If they feel comfortable in a juvenile ghetto that is irrelevant to culture, good for them. I’m out of here.

Maybe this is another incarnation of my desire for independence: I want to be independent from the games industry. And from the games format.

Games are fun. Let them be fun. And let’s do something else, when we want to be serious. Let’s focus on interactive entertainment that is not games (let’s call them “notgames” for now :) ). With a technology that is so versatile and powerful, why should we limit our productions and enjoyment to the single format of games, a format that has been around for centuries and doesn’t even need computers to exist?

I realize that it has always been our mission at Tale of Tales to explore the potential of the interactive medium. But so far, this has happened in some form of conflict with videogames, based on our misguided belief that videogames had potential to grow, to grow into a medium (which, believe it our not, still seemed possible only 5 years ago). Simply letting go of the connection, will make our job a lot easier as it will help us explore with far less constraints. Leaving behind the idea that we’re making a game, opens up a world of creative possibilities!


But more than that, I want to stimulate research and development of notgames. Instead of continuously having senseless arguments with game fans, developers and theorists, I want to gather together the brightest ideas concerning non-game interactive entertainment. Without the noise and the distractions. Maybe we’ll start a blog about the subject, with news, essays, opinion pieces, debates. A place where ideas can be explored and shared and discussed. I would also like to commission designers and artists to make new non-game interactive projects. Maybe there can be a competition like those ubiquitous game making competitions, but about making interactive entertainment that is not games -far more exciting and certainly a much larger area to explore. And finally, I’m looking into the possibility of starting a sort of label -like a record label- to publish and distribute notgames.

If you would like to contribute to any of this, please post a comment or send email.

Happy New Year! :)

Visit The Graveyard today -for free

It’s All Souls’ Day today. A day to commemorate the dead. Over here, we visit cemeteries today and put flowers on the graves of family members and friends who have died. It’s a day of silence and serenity.

Those who prefer to commemorate the dead from home, can visit last year’s Independent Games Festival finalist The Graveyard. For the occasion, today, the full version of the game can be downloaded for free.

Get it here:
The Graveyard for Windows – Free
The Graveyard for Mac OS X – Free
Only yesterday.

You can still download the trial version of The Graveyard for free here.

New prototypes with FoAM in Brussels

On Thursday evening, at the groWorld bazaar, we’re presenting some prototypes we collaborated on with FoAM for a strange multiplayer game in which everyone plays a plant (!). Come and have a look between 6 and 9 at FoAM studio, Koolmijnenkaai 30-34, Brussels.

groWorld prototype

– groWorld plant game prototypes by Tale of Tales & FoAM
– groWorld gardeners web by Sixtostart
– Urban Edibles by Foamlab Holland
– urban gardening info-booths by FoAM & Foamlab
– biologically corrupt hard-drives & Biomodd game by Angelo Vermeulen
– PhoEf tribute to the sun by Bartaku
– patabotanical illustrations by Lina Kusaite & Theun Karelse
– experiments with plant sensing by Nik Gaffney & Dave Griffiths
– vegetal scents by Maki Ueda
– seasonal botanical refreshments by Rasa Alksnyte & Pieter de Wel
– sonic atmoshperes by Lowdjo & Antz

see more…

1999 called… it wants it’s net.art back!

We are part of an online exhibition on Rhizome.org called:


Alright, now I am going to use some antiquated terminology… try to stay with me….

We once made a “splash page” for this website called Rhizome. It was a website about “net.art” don’tchaknow…

Oh lots of websites had splash pages back then, it was a sort of introduction to the site you were about to experience. Of course, sites were a very different thing in my day….
People used this coding language that was known as “HTML” back then.
YES we just coded that up in your basic “text editor” we didn’t have or need these fancy-schmancy Web 2.0 thingamabobs or CSS or CMS and browser uploaders or whathaveyou… we just coded it up, uploaded the page to the server, and off it flew!
Now, this so-called “net.art” was very very interesting stuff…
And it was ART… well… at least to the Internet of the day it certainly was! We figured a new medium deserved a new kind of artwork. One that was about the medium and FOR the medium! We knew, even then, that this Internet thing was going somewhere! So what if we had to walk in the snow, uphill, without shoes, to get there. We liked it FINE! 😉

So, take this journey to the heart of the turn of the century internet with this selection of net.art pages from our humble selves, then better known as Entropy8Zuper!, and some of the all-time greats!


Artists include: Annie Abrahams, Daniel Garcia Andujar, Ben Benjamin,
heath bunting, Gregory Chatonsky, Shu Lea Cheang, Andrew Childs, Curt
Cloninger, David Crawford, Mark Daggett, Joshua Davis, Entropy8Zuper!,
Andrew Forbes, Valery Grancher, Matthew Hoessli, Olia Lialina, David
Lindeman, jimpunk, JODI, Yael Kanarek, Lucas Kuzma, Antonio Mendoza,
Mouchette, MTAA, Robbin Murphy, Nettmedia, Scott Paterson, Pavu,
Waldemar Pranckiewicz, Reinis, Satellite01, Sigma6, Starry Night,
Eugene Thacker, Jake Tilson, Maciej Wisniewski, Young-Hae Chang Heavy


(url repeated, for that old-school flavor.)

The Graveyard at Mediamatic, Amsterdam

Rather rude of us not to have mentioned it before now -.- BUT
The Graveyard is currently part of an exhibition called “Ik R.I.P” at Mediamatic!
Its an experiential deathbed playground, fairly intense looking (and silly also as it is hard to think about death without some humor, that would be too depressing.)

And here’s a description.

What happens to your online profile after you die? Do you want it to remain online, so friends can leave a message in your memory? Or do you prefer having it deleted, so no confusion can arise about your death? These questions are the inspiration for the new exhibition Ik R.I.P., the third in the series about self-representation on the internet.
With The Travelers, a series of death portraits by Elizabeth Heyert, coffins from Ghana, the computergame The Graveyard, ‘test-dying’ in a casket, the new website www.ikrip.nl and more…
Opening hours: Wed – Fri from 12.00 to 19.00 hrs, and Sat + Sun from 12.00 to 18.00 hrs.

The show is running til April 12th.
more info here.

Description of the show on We Make Money Not Art.

I’d say it clearly is a game, but one which hits a somber note that is fairly hard to achieve in this medium.
Plugimi about “The Graveyard”