April 17, 2008

My Mind is Going…

by Andrew Stern · , 9:06 pm

Putting aside unnecessarily pretentious claims such as “The worlds first piece of online conceptual video game art”, Stewart Hogarth’s The Naked Game is brilliant.

Welcome to the Naked Game. What you are seeing is a primitive version of ‘Pong’, being played by two artificial intelligences, with the entire code governing the mechanics of the game exposed below it, and the variables affecting the mechanics to the right. Furthermore, you can remove lines of code and see the effects in real time.

I kind of think of this as the Web 2.0 indie game version of HAL devolving as he sings “Daisy”.

(via Indiegames.com)

6 Responses to “My Mind is Going…”


  1. Malcolm Ryan Says:

    A pity you can’t mess with the constants.

  2. Mark Bernstein Says:

    Oh dear.

    This is artificial intelligence? By what definition?

    And how is does this work of conceptual art differ, in any meaningful respect, from the mundane experience of any high school student as they write a trivial program?

  3. andrew Says:

    It’s AI by this definition — AI in the context of games. AI for Pong is simple game AI, but game AI nonetheless.

    How is it different from merely writing a simple program, iteratively commenting out lines of code, re-compiling, and observing the results?

    On purely literal terms, it is not much different. Then again, how is instructing a middle-school student to draw some lines on a wall different from Sol Lewitt’s minimal rule-based art?

    “Lines, not straight not touching, drawn at random, uniformly dispersed with maximum density, covering the entire surface of the wall.”

    To my recollection, I’ve never seen an artwork of the form of The Naked Game — where the imperative code that drives dynamic/interactive elements is presented, and players can modify the code in real-time. And, done in a very accessible context (a classic game everyone knows). It’s probably been done, but I haven’t seen it; anyone know of earlier examples?

    (I don’t count systems where you can change only constants. A related form would be live coding, but perhaps it hasn’t been applied in the manner of The Naked Game, I don’t know.)

    Anyhow, I thought it was smart. If it has already been done, I bet Hogarth didn’t already know about it, since he claims he’s “first”, so I give him credit for being smart, if pretentious. :-)

  4. John Sparrow Says:

    “And how is does this work of conceptual art differ, in any meaningful respect, from the mundane experience of any high school student as they write a trivial program?”

    I would venture a response that since this work displays and allows for the manipulation of its code in realtime, it partakes in a meaningful and self-reflexive engagement with its language and materiality. To be engaged as a reader/participant on this level with the virtual constructs of an object, and/or the language which formulates its existence, for me, is a pretty interesting relationship.

    J

  5. andrew Says:

    Rhizome News picked up The Naked Game.

  6. Läst och uppskattat under veckan : Medspel Says:

    [...] My Mind is Going… (Grand Text Auto) [...]

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