Last week, PopRally‘s latest event, ARCADE, took the MoMa by virtual (and actual) storm. Hosted by the super savvy publication, Kill Screen, a “bombshell with brains” of a video game journal, the night showcased a Kill Screen dream team of interactive games (blending video and real time, human interaction). Party games will never mean pin the tale on the donkey again. Combining the top-notch, kickass of the Kill Screen crew, with fine Sud de France wines and excellent Brooklyn Brewery in a can, and it was an all win situation (regardless of your gaming record).
The result of Kill Screen president, Jamin Warren’s, fine curatorial skills, the scope of activities was quite astounding. From the already viral, aesthetically-minded favorites like Canabalt and Limbo to the slapstick fun of B.U.T.T.O.N. (Brutally Unfair Tactics Totally OK Now), a game designed by the Coppenhagen Game Collective, which had users scrambling madly to follow inane directions for the simple, yet elusive goal of winning.
Out in the courtyard was a disarmingly mesmerizing and markedly not digital/video amusement of strategy and chance. Called simply, “Starry Heavens,” the game involved a constellation of black, white and gray circles laid across the terrace, over which giant, white balloons hovered just overhead– looming like silent, man-made clouds, at once ominous and alluring. In between these two strong, visual impressions, players dashed from one circle to another cued by a “Ruler” at the center–a spot won by the afore mentioned chance and strategy, derived from the simple play of “banishing” other players on your way to the center.
As part of the “Talk to Me” exhibit that opened last week at the MoMA, the ARCADE event melded seamlessly with the exhibit’s them of “Design and Communication between People and Objects.” So engrossing were these communications that the night’s participants had to nearly be dragged out of the museum at the official shut down time–their pouts, albeit happy, slightly reminiscent of kids who had their favorite toys taken away at bedtime.
– Ava Fedorov
Photographs by Adam Barenblat of Fast Company.