November 18, 2005

Blast modern art

by Michael Mateas · , 3:57 pm

The recently released Curator Defense (also an IGF submission this year) puts the player in the role of a museum curator defending against rampaging hoards of modern art (it’s unclear whether this means modern art or contemporary art). Using a light, RTS-like tech tree, the player can set up various defenses, such as banisters, defense turrets, and the Venus de Willendorf, to prevent modern art from reaching the store room. Once a piece reaches the store room, it becomes part of the permanent collection, displacing one of your Old Masterpieces. You loose when your entire collection has been replaced with modern art. Thanks to Zach Pousman for this one.

6 Responses to “Blast modern art”

  1. mark Says:

    Haha, this is pretty nice. Looks like it’s not limited to just contemporary art: Malevich gets in there twice! The gameplay is pretty developed, too; most of these sorts of “making an amusing point” games tend to be more thrown together.

  2. Patrick Says:

    The balancing of the monetary resource and the fire rates and the rest of it is quite well done, I’ve spent at least a few hours glued to the thing in the past couple of hours. As far as making a point goes. all the guy has really done is come up with a well-tuned resource management and deployment game and skinned some modern art models onto the objects. The point would have been better made where the sociopolitical parameters of resitance to change in the art world actually fleshed out, but that would have been a completely different game, one never before seen.

  3. mark Says:

    I agree that it would have been more interesting if it were some more fundamental simulation of the art world’s sociopolitics, but I think the whole point of the game is as a light-hearted parody, not as some deep investigation of how the art world really works. But if you want to view it as a caricatured simulation of art’s sociopolitics, I think it works that way too: A bunch of people throw a lot of crap against the wall, and some of it sticks. :-)

  4. dbh Says:

    I can’t help but love this conversation! As Curator Defense’s developer, I now know what Pablo Picasso must have felt like when art critics started discussing the meaning behind his art. Curator Defense was never designed to be a social commentary on the art world in any way. It was simply a game I made in my spare time while being a full-time student and part-time worker on campus to add to my growing portfolio of games (to eventually lead, I hope, to a job in this industry).

    To provide another angle… the gameplay mechanic came before the theme (chicken before the egg, so to speak). I came up with the defense-based gameplay first, then slowly started piecing together a “museum” theme for the game. Over time, things grew and grew into what you have today.

    Anyway, thanks for the interesting debate and discussion! I’m really glad to see that people are “thinking” about the game… that is quite a statement in itself.


  5. Patrick Says:

    Hey dbh, I really enjoyed your game. I drew me in for several hours as I figure out the optimal banister layout and gun ratio, I managed to beat it on medium, but I wasn’t about to give Hard mode a serious run. My dream is that game design will arrive at a stage of maturity where themes and mechanics will become synonymous, but in the meantime I’m glad there are free games made by clever designers (with a fairly keen sense of satire).

  6. dbh Says:

    Thanks Patrick– I’m glad that you enjoyed it! Hard is a big step from Medium, but even being able to beat Medium takes quite a lot of thought and time investment. Thank you again for the kind comments, I too hope that your dream comes to fruition some day :)


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