Ooblets is a unreleased game that’s roughly a hybrid of Pokemon, Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon (my three favorite games!).
above: Ooblets video trailer 1
above: Ooblets video tailer 2
I really, truly admire this project because it’s being coded by one single, amazing woman named Rebecca. There’s a small team of artists who are making the assets, but that’s it! I love the concept of the game; I think it plays on childhood nostalgia for Nintendo games while also remixing these games in the best way. Specifically, sometimes people bring up the morality of Pokemon. Is it moral to be asking creatures that we capture to fight our battles for us? Ooblets solves this problem by having them be grown, using the Harvest Moon system, and by having them perform dance battles, rather than true fights.
I’m so excited for this game! It’s still in development, but it’s a shining example for me of art that is cute but tasteful and not overdone. Right now, they’re only releasing for Windows and Xbox, but I’m really hoping that someday I’ll be able to play it with my Mac.
One of my favorite parts of Flanagan’s essay was how she related the history of art games to more commonly known parts of art history, such as Fluxus, Surrealism or Dadaism, which were “20th century art practices that involved a critical use of play in the investigation of artistic concerns.” Having studied the critical discourse involving these movements last semester, I really enjoyed being able to connect elements of those discussions to game art, which a subject that I’ve studied less in a critical context. Through her essay, I found it a little easier to place game art within my own personal timeline of art history. Although some games are massive commercial endeavors, many others make up a new medium “for social change and revolutionary play.”
My favorite game discussed in the paper was Uncle Roy All Around You (2003). I’m fascinated by both the ideas of online surveillance and technology-facilitated interactions. The grandeur, complexity and rule-based interaction of the art piece gives it its status as a “game;” however, I’m more interested in how the Online Players and the Street Players interacted and how their relationships lasted after the piece ended. Were there any communicatory conflicts? How did the relationships last?