Still on the note of exploration games, Proteus is a game by Ed Key and David Kanaga which has received nominations; awards; mixed reviews from various sites and bloggers; and challenged the notion of what a game is. This game is on the border between video games and art and so you could call it an ‘Art Game’.
You start out in the ocean and turning around, you see the island, a hazy mass in the distance where you can just make out a beach front and some trees. Like Orion, you walk across water to the island and so your game begins. As you explore the island, the music changes depending on where you are, as does the ambient effects of the geology. Cherry blossom trees incite a tinkling, fairy-like sound where a group of scattering chickens give off a frantic, alarmed sound. From snow to shooting-stars to walking down through clouds, the music changes accordingly, creating a seamless mould between audio and visual. I’m not the biggest fan of retro, pixel art in games or of 8-bit sound tracks, but Proteus still remains elegant despite this being a pinnacle of both styles. As a piece of art, Proteus has my full recommendation and deserving of the related awards.
But back to idea of art games, if we consider Art Games as a new genre, we can ignore the fact that it lacks any discernible goals or method of winning, which technically by definition removes the label of ‘game’. But then again, you can play it for amusement and there is a limited amount of interaction. But all you can do in the game is move, like turning the pages of the book and often a books are much more amusing. I don’t this this is a game but rather an interactive art piece. Also, the reason this is a brief flight is because I only played it for about 20 minutes before I felt the full capacity of the game has been realised.
Whether you think Proteus is worth the $10 that’s being asked depends on what you’re after. As a game, I would say $10 is not worth it. Steam is currently having a sale where you can buy games of the Star Wars franchise for well under $10. But if you’re after a simple, well-designed and eloquent piece of interactive art, then this is for you, especially considering that you can buy non-interactive, static, noiseless posters of your favourite movie for around $15.