And now for something completely different. I’m not sure how I stumbled upon The Graveyard, but I’m glad I did. Calling it a video game doesn’t seem right; it’s an immersive, lightly-interactive audio-visual experience, the kind that gets exponentially better with the lights off and your headphones on.
Once you pilot the game’s character to the park bench at the far end of the graveyard, she sits down and a kind of music video (again, not the right term) starts. You can interrupt it whenever you choose, walk back to the graveyard’s entrance and end the game.
That’s it. That’s the whole game. (Well, that’s the whole demo.) But the experience is much greater than the sum of its parts. The game’s developer, Tale of Tales, helps explain the “point” of the game:
The purpose of Tale of Tales is to create elegant and emotionally rich interactive entertainment. We explicitly want to cater to people who are not enchanted by most contemporary computer games, or who wouldn’t mind more variety in their gameplay experiences. For this purpose, all of our products feature innovative forms of interaction, engaging poetic narratives and simple controls.
I really, really like the idea of using gameplay as a mode of presentation. The full-screen experience of gaming both literally and figuratively envelopes you, blurring the line between viewer and player. I think motion designers could do pretty amazing things within the expanding framework of video games.
In fact, now that I think of it, that’s precisely what Rex Crowle did with Media Molecule and LittleBigPlanet. He took his motion design (and character animation) background and fused it with a brilliant but simple concept for a video game. For anyone who’s played LBP, you know how Rex’s design sensibility infuses the entire game with a sense of beauty and friendliness that’s not found in most video games.
By the way, Media Molecule will be speaking at F5.