Artist and electronic media prof Fernando Orellana has created a treasure trove of whimsical and ingenious media art. So, give him a tool like coding-for-artists environment Processing, and you know he’ll do something unusual. So far, we have the game Chef’s Special. With lo-fi graphics that would make Videlectrix proud, a pirate ship sinks slowly into the sea. You play, on different axes, a knife-wielding chef and a hungry pirate, carving up and gobbling slow-moving penguins as time runs out. I imagine the sinking ship, the naval outlaws, and the hunger for a vanishing, global warming-threatened resource could be seen as a potent, poetic metaphor for our times, if one were so inclined. Me, I’m too busy zoning out killing digital penguins.

In other news: I think we need an alternative games festival that celebrates really nonsensical, awful game mechanics (Wait – maybe not. I might be the one charged with digging through Wii shovelware for those really special turds. At least this is genuine art.)

Chef’s Special [play online]

I’ll be watching what Fernando does. And certainly, Processing and other tools can be fantastic ways to play with games as a medium, and play at making games to play.

For an especially fantastic example of that, check out what happens when a class full of artists with no programming experience make art out of Breakout:

Breakout Hacked into Art in Processing