Play with your Art (Crosslisted: CRYPTIC/CORRUPT)

Play with your Art (Crosslisted: CRYPTIC/CORRUPT)

For the most part, if you’re a college student now, you’re a generation that grew up post-arcade. There was one relatively near where I grew up that was a hotspot for birthday parties, but we never went just to hang out some afternoon. I’m told they used to be dark dens of teenage mischief-making—mazes of weird and inscrutable games, screens smudged with grease, air heavy with smoke… Obviously the arcade has changed—the one I remember is gone (replaced by laser tag, I think? Not all history is progress)—but this figure of the arcade sticks with us, a tangle of metaphorical cables, an unidentifiable stain on the wall-to-wall carpeting of our minds. I’m running a Student Seminar called Decoding Videogames, in which we attempt to critically analyze games through their outward-facing content and internal mechanics. For Crosslisted last Friday, we decided to display some of the games we’re looking at to the community, for their own investigation. We set up a plastic dining table and covered it in machines: mostly macbooks, a thinkpad, and a couple tablets. Briefly (from noon to one) the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery Lounge played host to Cryptic/Corrupt, a collection of unusual videogames. There was also a box of pastries. Among the inedible delicacies available to passers-by were: Nidhogg I suspect Nidhogg drew the most eyes—its retro-styled graphics are chunky and colorful, and we had it up on a TV surrounded by leather couches. The one-on-one sword-fighting game can be controlled with just two buttons and a directional pad, but the game underneath has enough tactical “I know that you know that I know that you know…”...