Game Mechanics

I have a particular interest in game design. Specifically the use of mechanics to represent realities. I would describe my progress in this field so far as a collection of sketches for possible projects. With this lack of concrete work to use as an example, I will instead use this space to outline something of my intentions and hopes for this area of investigation.


Games and interactive experience have always been a part of human art, being used to communicate lessons and ideas. It is quite strange to me that this aspect of our artifice appears so infrequently in the discourse surrounding modern fine art. Look at chess or snakes and ladders, and how the tools the players are given to interact with the game world represent some aspect of our engagement with our real life world. Chess is the power to direct the pieces, and the agency and responsibility over the outcome of the game. Snakes and ladders lets you cast a die and then sit and watch events unfold. These mechanics create certain aesthetics. (I should cite James Portnow's work concerning mechanics as metaphor as my source for these ideas, although I would not fully agree with them in the terms in which Portnow describes them.) Boardgame design has had interesting works made more recently with games like monopoly, and has new potential with electronic games, which has blossomed into a rich new art scene. I believe this notion of game mechanics as art has an incredible potential in a fine art space, and this investigation is intended to explore this.


I see a number of possibilities for formats, depending on the context. Gallery space is one possibility, probably for short length interactive mechanic sets, which would be participated in for a few minutes, and directed by an expert. Wall work might be viable, to appreciate the rule set presented apart from the playing of the game, and to shift attention to the artifice thereof. Publications are an appealing approach to me; looking at larger playable games like Dungeons and Dragons which exist in their rule-books. This would be a good way to package a more experimental work, and make it accessible and relatively convenient. 

Again, much of this is speculation, but I believe this field has a great deal of potential to make meaningful work.