Indie As Hell: Advanced Set The Rope On Fire Cartridge

Posted by Mr. Podunkian at 4:57 pm on August 31st, 2008

As far as artgames go, Blueberry’s Advanced Set The Rope on Fire Cartridge not only takes the cake, but it is the cake. This is art games. This is the single pixel period in the “yes.” that answers the silly “are video games art?” debate (note, the answer is “yes.”).

A play on Mazapán’s seminal work, You Have To Burn The Rope, ASTROFC hits all the right notes. The gamepiece (yes, “gamepiece”) has pixels big enough to offend all but the niche retrocore crowd. Have a fancy HD set? Don’t play this game unless you want to remember that feeling you had when you first got it and realized that things weren’t nearly as crisp as you thought they’d be. This is the kind of aesthetic that reminds us of the superficiality of HD, plasma, LCD, CRT, et al.

The gameplay. How do I describe it? The phrase reductoironic comes to mind. If you have yet to play this game, I suggest you get off your highhorse and do so immediately before reading onwards, as the rest of this post may contains spoilers that could potentially ruin your experience of it. Here you are, given a simple task, to defeat the GRINNING COLOSSUS (a stand-in for the mainstream gaming industry? You decide). You are given hammers, but they are powerless against the grinning giant. Brilliant, a biting commentary on traditional gaming conventions. Your actions seem futile. Turns out the only way to defeat the beast is to take a different approach — to burn a rope, as it were.

Or. That is what we are lead to believe.

In fact, burning the rope only exacerbates (worsens) the situation. Maybe I’m reading too much into this (or perhaps, and more plausibly, others aren’t reading hard enough), but if we are to read the GRINNING COLOSSUS as the mainstreaming gaming industry, if our conventional means of attack — that is, conventional games — are powerless to stop it, we must resort to means that are more, dare I say, unconventional. We must create games that take our understanding of video games and turns them on their heads.

We must burn the rope.

But it is after burning the rope that we realize the follies of playing with fire. Our attempt to undermine “the industry” has only resulted in the creation of another tier of it — the “indie games” tier, a BURNING FIRE SNAKE – which industry giants (Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, etc.) use to hegemonize and encroach on our works. XBox Live Arcade, WiiWare. We are fighting an impossible battle — a battle that cannot be won — and this is a point that is punctuated poginantly and concisely in ASTROFC. All in merely 708 kilobytes. Demake? Hardly.

Advanced Set The Rope On Fire Cartridge by Blueberry, 0.55 MB

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21 Responses to “Indie As Hell: Advanced Set The Rope On Fire Cartridge”

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    Actually, you CAN beat the game. You’re just doing it wrong.

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    You fail. The gate that locks you in is burnable.

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