Video Game Artist Mark Essen, Drawing on Retro, Minimal Game Visuals

Paraphrasing Mark Essen in the interview above: “it’s not nostalgia. I just like it.” Video game aesthetics have become a kind of naive, outside art for the digital age. Little wonder: the explosion of consumer digital products in the 80s left the children of that decade and decades after with piles of media. Someone was going to work out how to channel those into art. My sense is what’s likely to happen less is, as the novelty of such art wears off, these styles will simply re-integrate with other cultural content. Just don’t call it 8-bit. For one thing, a …

READ MORE →

Cubic Game Visualism: Awesomely-Inspiring Game Trailer from Gamma

4fourths – Game Trailer from Mikengreg on Vimeo. It’s been a long time coming, but there’s real hope that convergence of lovers of independent, creative game design with audiovisualist aficionados could bring us to a new, game-inspired visual age. Of course, a good way to start would be for some game designers to start to kick ass with their games. And that means lame trailers simply aren’t an option. For a demonstration of how it’s done, check out the trailer for 4fourths. This winning entrant to the one-button game challenge help by the Kokoromi Collective could pass for a music …

READ MORE →

Music Game Revolution, Now Indie Friendly, as Rock Band Network Goes Live

They are the robots: Flight of the Conchords. Now, you are the robots, too, as Rock Band Network opens the indie floodgates to the music-distribution-as-game model. (And yes, you’ll get to sing along with the Conchords, too.) Photo (CC-BY-SA) kris krüg. Music games Rock Band and Guitar Hero are simple enough in terms of gameplay, but testifying to the power of people’s passion for music, their impact has been staggering. At a time when purchasing recorded music has waned from a 90s peak, downloads for games are proving surprising growth, despite pundits predicting the segment would cool off. The talents …

READ MORE →

Chime, Beautiful New Music Game on Xbox 360: Play to Philip Glass, for Charity

One Big Game is a charity assembled by game developers to raise money for children’s organizations. Musical games look to figure prominently in the series. Design legend Masaya Matsuura (PaRappa the Rapper, Vib-Ribbon), father of rhythm games and without whom there likely would be no Rock Band or Guitar Hero, has signed. And the first title out, from Zoë Mode, is musical in nature, too, in a game called “Chime.” Chime is an elegantly-designed game and a lovely way to unwind, particularly with Philip Glass’ gorgeous “Brazil” in the track list. (“Brazil” has Glass’ usual musical furniture, but the cut, …

READ MORE →

Sorry, Majors: “Indie” Artists, Labels Clean Up Again at Grammys

Taylor Swift may have been invading your TV this year. But did you know she was an indie artist? Photo (CC-BY-ND) Wendy aka freshfruit. The one thing you probably aren’t thinking while watching the Grammys is “wow, look at this amazing showcase for independent music.” (Last night, I expect you were thinking something more along the lines of, “I was supposed to get 3D glasses for this? Augh! I’m dizzy! Switch it off!”) But keep score, and independent artists and labels are a huge part of the Grammy Award-winning roster. And with indies invading even the most mainstream of music …

READ MORE →

Indie Game as Visualist Event: As the Deadline Nears, One Button Inspires

Games as culture, as event, as art with a lowercase ‘a’ – real, active, evolving, sometimes-commercial, sometimes-experimental art – are finally beginning to grab hold. There’s a real scene. It’s a scene that’s interconnected with the ‘visualist’ scene we describe here on CDMotion, somewhere at the nexus of club visuals, gaming, interactive art, and improvising with screens. And if you want to follow that scene, one particularly delicious event is the annual Gamma game competition. Embracing ideas like incorporating sound and 3D glasses, Gamma is a celebration of the craft of the independent game maker, with results that sit between …

READ MORE →

Truly Last-Minute Gift: Osmos, the CDM Game of the Year, for Mac and Windows

For a truly unique and very much last-minute gift for anyone you know, look to CDM’s favorite game of year, the gorgeous, blood pressure-lowering title for Windows and – at long last – Mac. I may personally identify a little too much with the abstract protagonist of this game, as my holiday activities could well be described as floating around the universe, sucking particles into my gravity well as I grow in size. But whether or not I feel literally like an expanding bubble of matter, one of my favorite experiences this year was entering this ingenious physics-based game. It …

READ MORE →

Blip Festival Handmade Music Opener, and the Sega Mega Drive Meets MIDI + Launchpad

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. We get to enjoy the sounds and sights made by chips, independent games, and Novation Launchpad-controlled Sega Mega Drives. Blip Fest hits NYC this week in a celebration of vintage and lo-fi chips and the wonderful, blippy music they produce. To get things started right on Wednesday night, we have a special edition of Handmade Music, the DIY music party/science fair/noisy racket series, in a special location — the opening of Babycastles, a new, permanent home for independent games. (Think “indie arcade,” an idea I hope spreads worldwide.) If you’re in the …

READ MORE →