Ian Bogost “A Slow Year”

Game poetry is the concept explored in Ian Bogost’s “A Slow Year.” The artwork is comprised of four Atari game cartridges that are supposed to tell a story about each season. It’s difficult to get a real feel for this game due to the fact that I don’t have the games or an Atari, however, the video on his website shows that the game is comprised of pixelated shapes that don’t have much definition and 8-bit music that plays continuously in the background. The music is a little harsh on the ear, certainly not the music of Super Mario Brothers or other 8-bit games. The non-definitive shapes of the objects are disorienting as they can be difficult to make out.

The whole game has a sense of boredom to it, like the player is supposed to be bored as they play it. This is possibly what Ian Bogost was going for when he created the game. He wanted it to be a meditative experience through life. He might have been trying to create an electronic work that wouldn’t stress out the user like most others had. I’m not entirely sure if he succeeded due to the stressful nature of the graphics and music. Bogost states that he used an Atari to make his game for the simple graphics. He was more focused on making a poem rather than a beautiful game.

If the purpose of the game was to make a statement about how humans can go through so much in their lives that the simple can be lost. Simple graphics and game play make the user step back and realize just how hectic their lives have become. It reminds me of Proteus, a game along the same vein of exploration and relaxation. The game is simple by design. There’s nothing flashy, just human nature and a player to explore their own mind.

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Ian Bogost “A Slow Year”

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