Future Case

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Just imagine that you take a screenshot of a game you have just discovered. You print it out and hang it on the wall because you enjoy looking at the gamescape even when you are not playing. You find it pretty and intriguing at the same time. For you it is art, or at least arty.

I am not talking about some oversized warlord-type of hero with an arsenal of guns and ditto ammo in his futuristic battle dress, armament you have never seen or heard of in your entire life. Nor is it an overly-boobed virtual beauty with a sword as long as her legs nor a hyper-realistic goblin in a snuggly cave or the granite landscape with the obscure purples and greys straight out of Dear Esther’s island. It is nothing of the sort. Your print of that game on your wall has a freshness, abstractness, clearness and most certainly artiness one seldom encounters in the Global Games Universe. It is the landscape of Proun. And as my introduction bears a certain euforism, please bear in mind that if you are not into gaming, or art, go on and read something else.

Personally I like those artsy-fartsy games just for the sake of not constantly being in the middle of the road of contemporary Gamania (my personal hush-hush for playing games madness). Mainstream games are so common. Everybody plays them and in order to even dare talk about them, you will have to have reached levels that are simply unreachable for generation that have at least the number forty in their age. Seriously, I am one of those and for me it is rather about those petit indie games made of love, hope and devotion. Games that are not necessarily developed for the money but for the shear pleasure of finding new formats, graphics, satisfaction, challenge and fun. So for me Proun is like the jewel in that crown of video games. And I will tell you why. Proun was made up and developed by Joost van Dongen (http://www.proun-game.com/). It took him nearly six years to get what we have today: a dazzling on-rail dexterity game named after El Lissitzky’s master piece 1927 Proun 67, inspired by Kandinsky, Mondriaan, Tingiely, Switters, Fred Ford & Paul Reich lll (recognize any artifacts). The whole game looks like constant speed-increasing run through the Van Gogh, Haags Gemeente Museum and Kröller Möller at the same time (and making constant d-tours via MoMa).

To get some insight in what a game is all about, let’s have a look at what you have to do to play or better, control the game. This mechanics is one thing, for a player the dynamics is probably more relevant; this is really what the game does to you. And lastly, for our generation I would bet my bottom dollar that the aesthetics are of great importance. I all these three aspect Proun, in my point of view is a real goer for us baby boomers.

The trick of the game is to avoid all kinds of Kandinsky-kind of obstacles. For the purpose you only have three of the four cursor-arrows available on your keyboard (left, right and upwards). And by god, you are going to need them. That is basically all about the mechanics of the game: left, right and frontwards. So you push the button but not just randomly. You better be aware of which little arrow you press, how long you press it and how it takes to press it either again or press the opposite to avoid yet another block, circle, rectangle or what mathematical shapes have we. Furthermore, by pressing the upward arrow your playing ball goes accelerates constantly which makes the pressing left and/or right faster and faster as well. I never achieved any level I could mention here without loosing all of my credibility.

To me, playing Proun evokes a strange feeling of enjoyable (near) pain and frustration (I recon as I am not really into any form of masochism personally) I am happy that you can enjoy this game as single player or choose to compete with your art-minded buddies. I swear, it will bring up the old feeling of Indy 500 for the Atari 2600 Video game console, synchronizing your body moves with every little curve you make. Talking about dynamics.

I expressed my euphoric feelings both in how to play the game, how to enjoy playing it and its modernistic caresses. So if you are going to have ride, give me a call. We might share the excitement. The game can be played up to four in a split screen and has some other features you may enjoy. Just have a go; there is a free trial version at http://www.proun-game.com/.

Written by Kees Winkel

October 12, 2012 at 17:53

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