Interviewed by Play as Life

D. Yvette Wohn sent us a bunch of interesting questions to which we hopefully gave some enlightening answers. The resulting big interview is here

Unlike most games, which put you on a roller-coaster ride away from your own life, our games act as pause buttons. Take a moment and allow yourself to breathe. That’s why their slowness might come as a kind of shock when you start up the game. Like a speeding truck coming to a sudden halt.

8 thoughts on “Interviewed by Play as Life”

  1. We don’t even believe in science!” Come now, why say something like this? You might as well vouch disbelief in mathematics.

    In our games, movement is realistic.” See, I think there’s a bit of a problem here. While your games capture the natural tempo of walking, they don’t really attempt to foster the mental sensation of walking.

    When one actually walks, one’s concentration drifts into daydreams and mental pictures, and is not spent fixated on noticing the shortness of your footsteps and the distance yet to be covered. But a game, a colourful moving picture on a TV screen, implicitly demands the steely-eyed concentration of its viewers. Merely by putting something in the picture-frame of a screen, you are saying “pay attention, this is important” even if it depicts an action, such as walking, that one in real life pays very little notice to at all. So, one doesn’t ‘mentally’ walk when the character ambles along the path, but simply watches, passively, at this slow-moving figure.

    This, I think, also runs into conflict with your use of third-person perspective. In third-person, it is not “you” that is walking at all, but the character. “You”, the player, are essentially omnipresent. “You” are already at the destination in the distance, watching and waiting for this character to finish the walk that you’ve commanded her to walk. It’s like the relationship of an impatient parent waiting for a dawdling child – and especially since the player’s third-person viewpoint has you towering over and looking down upon the character.

  2. It’s like the relationship of an impatient parent waiting for a dawdling child

    Indeed. Funny that you say this. Because we worked very consciously with this emotion when we were working on The Path’s spiritual predecessor, “8“.

    Even if I don’t think it applies to what we wanted to achieve with The Path, you have a point in general though, and I’d love to see an example of walking while “one’s concentration drifts into daydreams and mental pictures” in a game!

  3. Hi michael … very intersting interview and especially the answers..I like you both …You don’t respond liniary to questions,…You are very spontaneous and have a mind that always search for different formulations to present the idea..You teached your brains to get bored of same phrases…Awesome..If i would make a company people with your mind i want to hire..The difference between economics and art is that art can’t be learn by heart like you do with dozens of texts in economics books.I suppose this is why art will never die because is always spontaneous and people involved in art have a natural way to feed from spontaneity.Economics people are not so spontaneous and when one dies the others based on one will die too..They have no ideas and not too much creativity..
    Good luck and i hope to feed my kids with your work in 10 years :)

  4. “L” “We don’t even believe in science!” Come now, why say something like this? You might as well vouch disbelief in mathematics.

    don’t take everything so literally. that way, everyone gets to say _exactly what they mean.

  5. I thought this was a very nice and pleasurable interview.

    I’m always surprised with how much you put into each answer. And how you always say something new and coherent to different people asking the similar questions. As an occasional interviewer, myself, it’s the single best thing I could ever ask from an interviewee. Cheers.

  6. I agree on most things, and you depict very well my thinkings. I was surprised by the atmosphere mention, as it’s one of my main concerns too when “mapping” and “modding” games.

    About first, second or third view, your point is interesting, but I still think first person can add a lot to inmersion, specially concerning the ceiling-sky view – in third person, you can’t look over, and that removes a lot of possibilities and an interesting part of the atmosphere. It’s a matter of tastes I guess.

    About the multiplayer idea, I think multiplayer is most of the times much more interesting than single player, at least in usual games. Of course, in those games playing against another player is more fun than playing against the machine. But, what about playing with other people cooperatively and not in a win or lose enviorment?
    The most gratefull experiences I had in games have been playing with other people, making our own histories, in our own multiplayer semi-permanent enviorments. Not about killing each other, but interacting with each other and the enviorment. If I have enough will to pull some people and do something like you do, I’ll probably aim in that direction.

    Anyway, keep up the good work, I think the future of arts comes around here. And, following the “put your money where your mouth is”, I’ve just adquired one USB with The Path as a christmas present for someone :).

    Best wishes and keep up!

  7. Thanks for the comments, Victor.

    I think we may not give the first person view enough credit simply because it tends makes us, and many other people, nauseous. For that reason alone, a first person camera is never our first choice. Especially because the people least affected by first person cameras tend to be the hardcore gamer crowd, which is not our main audience.

    Your description of multiplaying sounds a lot like The Endless Forest! :)


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