Game Jam Winner Spotlight: Art Apart and There Are No Eyes Here

from the gaming-like-it's-1925 dept

So far, we’ve featured ~THE GREAT GATSBY~ and The Great Gatsby Tabletop Roleplaying Game in this series of posts about the winners of our public domain game jam, Gaming Like It’s 1925. Today, we move on the pair of games that were tied as winners in the Best Remix category: Art Apart by Ryan Sullivan and There Are No Eyes Here by jukel.

Both games were obvious contenders for the category, and ultimately it proved too difficult to choose one over the other, because they are so intriguingly similar yet completely different. Both could be described as “art puzzles”, and both remix multiple public domain works, but neither clearly rises above the other.

Art Apart is the more straightforward of the two: it’s just a plain old jigsaw puzzle game using a series of paintings from 1925 and a fairly unpolished interface. But while this meant our judges didn’t expect much from it at first glance, it proved to be a very pleasant surprise: carefully made, easy to use, employing a great selection of paintings complemented by public domain background music, all put together with an elegance that drew people in and had them solving entire puzzles when all they intended to do was poke around for a few minutes. In the process, they got to spend some time closely examining and appreciating five paintings that entered the public domain this year.

There Are No Eyes Here is the more abstract of the two games, which is fitting since it focuses on a single artist: Wassily Kandinsky, the pioneer of abstract art. Kandinsky’s works made an appearance in one of last year’s winners, which explored a series of paintings he created in 1924, and this game picks up the following year with five Kandinsky paintings from 1925. While Art Apart is a traditional jigsaw puzzle, There Are No Eyes Here is about custom-made manipulations of its subject works: the player finds the elements of each painting that can be clicked to trigger animations in which Kandinsky’s abstract shapes and forms begin shifting around, eventually unlocking the next painting in the series. Our judges noted that, to the artistically-inexperienced, the game was a perfect invitation to study this seminal artist’s work with a level of attention to detail they might otherwise never have given it.

So there you have it: two games, both remixing multiple paintings and turning them into puzzles, both doing it completely different ways. One more traditional, one more abstract, both successful at making the player take time to admire and enjoy some of the 1925 work that now belongs to us all — and both well deserving of the Best Remix award.

Play Art Apart and There Are No Eyes Here in your browser on Itch, and check out the other jam entries too. Congratulations to both designers for the win! We’ll be back next week with another game jam winner spotlight.

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