Artist’s Commentary on Anatomically Incorrect Dinosaurs (and the trailer)

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So this is the part, after working super long and hard on a project, where I’m generally disoriented… but all-together extra positive. Probably more air-headed than usual. People say I’m air-headed, but I think it’s more so after launch…
You know, gamedevs need to also document how it’s like after finishing a project so people know what type of confused person to expect.
Since May (official start of making the game) I’ve been working game-jam mode. I still need to finish the Tetrageddon Games version for Steam. NO! I have not forgotten!

Ok, I’m here to put-to-rest the final bits of the game. I wrote a little commentary about the game (my intentions and direction for it), and also finished the trailer.

Here’s the trailer. It’s cute. Watch it!

The artistic commentary…
I’m hesitant about posting this on the site, or anywhere obvious to players, because it’s my belief that a person shouldn’t have their view of the game (or art) influenced by commentary. When artist (or art-critic) say X about something, then the viewer comes in looking for X, with X on their mind.
I don’t like that. I want people to come away with their own perspectives. Art is personal to the viewer, not only artist, and some works are not for everyone.
Everytime I think about this, I consider people’s (initial) reactions to impressionist paintings (the movement). Long story short, art-critics laughed at it. General audiences where influenced by this. Today art-critics applaud it so general audiences applaud it too. It’s just human nature, but something I want to avoid, and generally don’t like doing… I make this sound bad, sorry. I like it when people write about my work…
…I mean, by what [art] standard do you go by when judging something truly new? In doing so (imposing standards) you doom innovation, or new things, to an eternal state of revision and similarity. It’s never really “new” then.
Ok, I’m starting to lose the point I’m trying to make.
I don’t think there is a point.

Here it is. You should probably read it now, because I took a lot of time writing it. I’m sorry. Like I said, I’m in my “confused” mode. :)
So…

About Anatomically Incorrect Dinosaurs:

Part comedy, part horror, and a strongly narrative driven experience, Anatomically Incorrect Dinosaurs largely plays off 1950’s sci-fi horror movie tropes. Most notably the one of a mad scientist that creates something, and then the creation (when “done”, and upon realizing self-awareness) argues with the creator. Reasoning that it should not exist, does not want to exist, or hates the fact that it now exists. Which I think is a very profound theme, and unfortunately a forgotten one.

It is part comedy because a lot of work went into the minor details, silly jokes, and writing. It’s a humorous narrative experience. There’s detail hidden everywhere for the sake of a joke. Try minimizing the window, moving the window, clicking on things, muting the talking dinosaur, read the writing (like newspaper). It may not be the type of humor everyone “gets”, but that is the nature of comedy, especially in games where the “interactive” element risks turning a perfectly engineered skit into something that leans more in the “surreal” direction.
I believe if you took any of the classic Comedy Central skits and turned them into a game they would become surreal experiences. Think about describing Matt Foley’s “van down by the river!” moment as a player, not as a passive viewer. Example: “This game is weird. This fat guy came in the room and started freaking out about living in a van down by the river, then fell on the table and broke the room. I was just sitting on the couch choosing dialogue to keep him calm.”
Because games put you in their reality, comedy often becomes a surrealist experience. This is the space in which Anatomically Incorrect Dinosaurs functions.

Oddly enough a lot of “let’s players” have called it horror, or scary. The game plays a lot with your expectations. As users we expect software to function a certain way, live up to certain standards, or user experience rules. The game takes advantage of these expectations by subtly changing details and often takes control from the player. It even closes itself at the end. It gives you the sense you are not in complete “control” as the player, but the game is. It does not deliver on any of your expectations (functionally, or play-wise). Instead, it takes them and distorts them.

I strongly recommend taking the time to read the text (interact with it, explore the dialogue options), and listen to the narration. You are not just a player, but part of this skit. You play the lead role of the mad-scientist. The assistant and dinosaur are your supporting characters.

In other news Arcade Review #6 is out!
Ansh Patel wrote this beautiful discussion about net art (and Tetrageddon). It was very touching and amazing to see someone totally GET net art (especially in this internet age, wow don’t get me started!). It’s very thoughtful, and intelligent. Definitely intellectual food for thought (as Arcade Review generally is). You must go read it!

So now that I’ve wrapped up, I’ve also got 3 months of neglected emails to answer. 3 months isn’t too long for answering an email, right? Wow, this is bad.
I’ll be working full-speed on the Tetrageddon Games Steam version now…

Coming back from planet dinosaur.

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