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Over Games

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Published on Aug 30, 2010

Auriea Harvey and Michael Samyn speak at the Art History of Games Symposium on February 6, 2010 in the High Museum of Art's Rich Auditorium on the campus of the Woodruff Arts Center, in midtown Atlanta. The symposium was presented by Georgia Tech and the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Videogames have stopped evolving. They have found their comfort zone: fun activities that nurture our inner child. While our inner grown-up is starving! We need a new medium that can help us cope with the complexity of our post-historic universe. The interactive, non-linear and generative capacity of computer technology offers such a medium. But videogames have taken computer technology hostage. It is time to liberate the medium and start feeding our starving hearts and minds. We have the technology. We have the desire. So let's get to work!

Auriea Harvey and Michael Samyn began their collaboration as Entropy8Zuper.org in 1999. They gained notoriety by creating Web sites and Internet artworks. In 2002, they founded the independent game development studio Tale of Tales in Gent, Belgium, where they still live and work. Harvey and Samyn have devoted their lives to the creation of elegant and emotionally rich interactive entertainment. Early Internet artworks blended topics of love, religion, politics and sex along with ambitious web-based performance.

Since their shift to games, Tale of Tales have given players and critics much to talk about. Projects like The Endless Forest, a multiplayer screensaver in which everyone plays a deer. And smaller projects such as The Graveyard, about an elderly lady who visits a cemetery. And Fatale, which explores the legend of Salome. 2009 saw the release of their most ambitious game yet, The Path, a short horror game inspired by Little Red Riding Hood. In 2000, their work was awarded with the San Francisco MOMA Prize for Excellence in Online Art. Both The Path and The Graveyard were finalists in the Independent Games Festival and Indiecade. Their projects have been featured at media art festivals and exhibitions all over the world. But the focus remains on digital distribution, making art directly for and with their audience. Quiet and odd or deeply unsettling, what sets Tale of Tale's work apart from the rest is Harvey and Samyn's controversial stance on what games can be.

Materials hosted by SMARTech, Georgia Tech's institutional repository, http://smartech.gatech.edu/.

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