I recently considered the question of whether or not viewers should take photographs in art museums. It turns out there’s a video game in the works that makes that question an electronic challenge.
“No Photos, Please!” is the work of someone named Andreas, who’s based in Malta and has posted about the game on Steam (where s/he goes by the username dreasgrech). It’s a two-person showdown in which one user chooses the role of photographer, the other, the security guard. The photographer’s goal is to shoot pictures of all the displays in the gallery, while the guard’s is to stop him. Naturally, since this is a video game, they have special abilities to help them carry out their tasks: for instance, the photographer can drop a banana peel to trip up the guard (which we all know wouldn’t work in a real museum), and the security guard has a proximity sensor that detects nearby photographic devices. Adding to the suspense is ominous music, and the fact that players must first find their avatars in the crowd.
The gallery of the game has sort of a bare-bones digital aesthetic, which I like. The only change I’d suggest is adding some women to what looks like a crowded room full of museum-going men. Still, I look forward to playing “No Photos, Please!” when it comes out, hopefully later this year. In the meantime, I’ll be dodging guards AFK and snapping Instagrams as I go.