A Desert Drawing

I’ve been making some very small and very unwinnable “games”, learning to code in p5 with the generous support of an a-n bursary and the supportive generosity of Pippin Barr.

(they don’t work on mobiles)

Get Shot

Weird, isn’t it, how every Bond film starts with the hero killing you, the viewer. I can’t quite get over how odd that is. So I decided to make a game out of that. You can’t win. I’ve shown it to a couple of people and they think it would be better with a short window of time that you could shoot him if you’re quick enough. You know. Like a game.

White towelling bathrobe

The first really violent scene I saw was in the Arnold Schwarzenegger film “Commando”. We were on a family holiday and my brother found a VHS of it in the place we were staying and put it on. Near the beginning, a bin lorry pulls up outside a man’s house and he rushes down the drive in his white towelling bathrobe because he’s forgotten to put his bin out. He’s pleased to have caught them, as you would be. Missing the bins is awful. The bin men then get out uzis (they weren’t actually bin men you see) and pepper him with bullets for what seems like ages, the blood oozing through his white towelling bathrobe. It really disturbed me. I couldn’t sleep. Couldn’t get it out of my head. When I was making “Get Shot”, I couldn’t get it to reset, having the effect of making the gun sound loop continuously if you are hovering over the target, in quite a horrific way. This made me think of the scene in Commando. The game forces you through the scenes building up to the shooting, and then you can’t get out of it.


Click the image to go to the itch.io page

I was thinking about how games do or don’t respect your time, and the pressure of having someone invest time in your thing that you’ve made.  Being kept in one place like you are when you’re playing a game. And that led me to thinking about carrying on a game when you put it down. That it’s everywhere. Like the anecdote about John Cage being asked if he isn’t bothered by people being noisy around him, playing their radios on the beach, that sort of thing. So this game expands outside, everywhere, becomes the background to everything, and for the rest of your time alive. An ambient game.

I was also thinking about what a game with zero action would look like, not even clicking to move a story onwards  – what would you fill it with? Everything else. It becomes a mirror. A Rauschenberg White Painting or a Manzoni Socle du Monde.

The reset button doesn’t work. Why would it?

The Reset Button

I felt bad about putting a reset button in Survive! that doesn’t do anything, so I wanted to have a reset button that does something.

Anything you want.

(click the image to go to the itch.io page)

Problem / Solution

Controls: Left mouse-click

A few years ago I made this gif, The Problem, about the paradox that we all somehow manage to walk around with every day.

I’ve come to think of it not only as the problem, but also its own solution. Whichever we’re focused on at one time, the other side is the solution. If the balance moves too much one way, we can shift the weight of our focus to the other side.

It’s pretty reasonable, when pondering the fact that one day the Earth will be engulfed by the Sun and that all trace of the history, human or otherwise, of this planet will be wiped from existence, that all our thoughts and actions are entirely without meaning. It’s equally true that even the smallest and seemingly most insignificant of these actions has profound effects in uncountable ways and that each instance of suffering and joy that our actions cause, however small, is important. It’s possible to be frozen into inaction by these opposite and simultaneously true points of view. 

So I find that this thing is a useful thing to keep in my pocket.

Disclaimer: doesn’t always work.