Critic, writer and independent game developer Ian Bogost has created a suite of four games entitled “A Slow Year.” Comprised of a set piece about each of the four seasons, Bogost has made video games into meditations, interactive haiku meant to slow down the player instead of them speed up. Kotaku has the details.
The creator of such other art-video games as the social gaming satire “Cow Clicker” and the author of books including Racing the Beam, a history of the Atari computer gaming system, Bogost is already an indie superstar. But “A Slow Year” pushes the developer into new territory. Video games aren’t often compared to poetry, but Bogost relates his to a chapbook, a small selection of poems, and uses a haiku for each season’s video game as the only included instruction.
The haiku for the “Autumn” game runs:
Magic hour tree
Breeze grows to gust, then recoils
Pile meets falling leaf
Screenshots show a beautifully autumnal tree glowing orange on rust-brown landscape. There’s no telling what the gameplay is like (for that, viewers will have to purchase the game on CD), but the visuals speak so eloquently that they’re entrancing by themselves. “Winter” seems to consist of raising a coffee cup to the player’s disembodied lips as the day passes slowly outside. It’s beautiful and evocative in a way that’s abstract instead of literally narrative, as video games are largely expected to be. I’m really hoping to try this out soon!