Tag Archive: art games

Visual Novel


So, I’m putting my keyboard where my mouth is on the whole art game thing.  So I downloaded the Ren’Py engine and got to work.  Lethe is a bit of an experiment–  a full playthrough is about fifteen minutes, tops, and that includes going back and redoing sections.  But I want to keep it simple for now, as I’m exploring how narrative translates into an interactive environment.

I’m quickly finding that you can’t just write a short story and plug it into game format.  There’s a greater feeling of immediacy in a game, even a visual novel game.  The delivery of lines is almost like blank verse–  each phrase is restricted in length but simultaneously more focused in impact.  That’s the idea, at least.  And the perception of time is different.  It’s less a story being told than something being experienced.  I decided to shift to present tense, for example.  And there’s less room for introspection:  that gets left to the player.

Lethe follows a the ghost of a dead man called back from beyond by a woman worried about her husband she hasn’t heard from.  Obviously, it’s not a super upbeat theme, but at the same time I’m trying to keep it from being all emo morose.  I’m using a track from Apparatus, the experimental CD Janet made with the late Harry Castle.  So if nothing else, it’s got some kick butt music!


And artwork–  my friend Dawn Lyons is on that.  Here’s some of her concept art for one of the characters:

Call it “Betty Boop goes to a seance.”  As I said, yes, it deals with themes of death and loss (what have I written lately that doesn’t?).  But that doesn’t mean you have to lose all sense of whimsy and humor!


Proteus Review

Yep, been busy over at Bag of Games  Hey, gives me an excuse to wind down with a videogame in the evening.  This week’s entree was a fun little indie game with retro graphics that has you exploring an island as it morphs through the seasons.  The part I liked was how its minimalist sound track would pick up themes depending on where and what you were exploring.  I couldn’t help but be reminded of “In C” by Terry Riley, with its score added to and changed at the player’s whim–  a sort of composer driven form of improvisation.  Janet and I actually made a videogame based on In C, but it’s in Director so I’m not really sure how to put it online.
Anyway, Proteus is worth a look


Bag of Games

I’ve started writing over at Bag of Games (www.bagofgames.com)  I’m going to be doing videogame review and analyses.  First article just came out–  an overview of “art games” in the industry.  Aimed more at aesthetics than gameplay, art games are something of a niche market, but one I truly hope we see more of in the future.

(click the link to read):

I Don’t Know Much About Art, But I Know What I Like