It’s 1983. You find yourself in an arcade in the ’burbs. Among the future classics—Galaga, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong—you find something different: Sega’s Astron Belt or Cinematronics’ Dragon’s Lair, games that eschewed pixelated sprites for video and vivid animation. Full Motion Video games were movies you could play—to a point: the technical execution left something to be desired. Games were unreliable, systems crashed, and FMV all but disappeared. But FMV is making a comeback as creators breathe new life into this 35-year-old form. The 2017 edition of Gamescape celebrates some of the best new FMV work and looks back on titles both famous and infamous from the golden age of the arcade. GameScape is co-curated by Clara Fernandez-Vara, of the NYU Game Center, Tisch School of the Arts.
Loop Raccord (Nicolai Troshinsky, Spain, 2017)
Loop Raccord is an experimental video editing game based on the idea of “raccord” (“continuity”). The goal is to synchronize a chain of video clips in order to create an illusion of continuous movement from one to the next. The game uses public domain footage, mainly from educational and institutional American films from the early 1950s.
PRY (Tender Claws, 2015)
PRY brings together physical gestures, film, interaction design, and literature. The reader literally touches the thoughts of protagonist James, a demolition expert who returned from the Gulf War six years prior, and whose memories of past and present the user weaves together as he loses his vision. To “read” is to “pry” into a world of unreliable narration and shifting memory.
Her Story (Sam Barlow, UK, 2015)
A crime fiction game with nonlinear storytelling, Her Story centers on a British woman who was interviewed seven times in 1994 about her missing husband. Given access to the footage in the form of a police database, the player pieces together her story.
Cibele (Nina Freeman, 2016)
Cibele is a game about love, sex, and the Internet, in which you play as a 19-year-old girl who has become close with a young man she met in an online game. As their relationship unfolds, periods of gameplay are punctuated by short film episodes to further the story.
Mind Trapped (Claire Carre, USA, 2017)
In Mind Trapped, the player is imprisoned in a virtual world devised to extract information from them. As attempts to get the player to give up their information intensify, the world becomes increasingly surreal. Will the player be able to escape?
Last Night (Dejobaan Games, 2018)
Last Night puts the players in the role of an alien operative who needs to rescue Earth’s greatest treasure before the planet’s imminent destruction. Something went wrong during the drop operation, and the alien doesn’t have food, money, or a plan. Te player needst to make friends, find a job, and manage the mission’s finances, and with the help of a recalcitrant AI. All within a month before the world ends.