The Naked Game
The worlds first piece of online conceptual video game art
Part one of the ‘Coder Art’ trilogy
“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.
The motivation behind this piece was to further explore the degree to which video games can be considered ‘Art’, by using the constituent parts of a well known gaming experience to explore themes of freedom, restriction, and frailty.”
“A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.”
I want to keep this brief, since I think that if a piece of art can’t speak for itself then its value is diminished.
This is a piece of conceptual artwork, in the guise of a well known video game. It’s far from a perfect version, but it doesn’t need to be in order to make its point. What I’ve ended up with can, I hope, at least in principle, be appreciated by people from a non-programming background, even if they don’t understand exactly what the code means.
The most obvious thing that I hope most people will take from this piece is just how fragile it is. What begins, random number theory aside, as a perfectly fair suggestion that either player could ‘win’, is quickly unbalanced or even broken entirely by the removal of almost any one of the lines of code governing it. Whilst the ability to remove lines as you see fit liberates, you may naturally find yourself impeded by the fact that we want the game to run properly.
Otherwise, it becomes a useless, undesireable artifact.
“I can’t tell if it is a joke or not.”
– Jason Rohrer
“Video games are essentially mosaics in motion… And some of them vocalize.”
– Zibbo Florenzano
“It’s hard to tell if the ‘artist’ is laughing with us or at us. The fact that his intention is in question means he’s succeeded whatever his ambition.”
– Gary Penn
“A real piece of pretentious art”
– Amy Capes
“I particularly like the way you can get the ball and paddles to run out of the bottom of the “screen” and start playing over the code. There’s something slightly postmodern about that.”
– Steve McGreal
“Like what would happen to a zygote if we took gametes and messed them up during meiosis.”
– Zack (IndieGames Blog)