Interactive

Sin Like It’s the 16th Century in a Game that Remixes Renaissance Art

Scene from 'Four Last Things' (GIF by the author)
Scene from ‘Four Last Things’ (all GIFs and screenshots by the author for Hyperallergic)

Forgive me, for I have sinned. I peeped at a lady’s ankle through an open window and carved an idol in my own image. Luckily it was all a game, although for my poor character in Four Last Things, which is animated with visuals from Renaissance paintings, the judgment was harsh and appropriately Boschian. At least my damnation was much lighter than that of the neighboring “man being attacked by weird rat creature with clogs on.”

Four Last Things — named for the Catholic procession of death, judgment, hell, and heaven — is a wryly playful point-and-click game created by Joe Richardson for the Adventure Jam on Game Jolt, which challenged developers to build small adventure games over just two weeks in May. (Richardson is now raising money on Kickstarter to turn the prototype into a full-fledged game.) Brought to my attention by Michelle Ehrhardt’s article in Kill Screen, Four Last Things boasts some of the manic humor of a Terry Gilliam animation for Monty Python and the public domain remix joy of Scorpion Dagger’s (aka James Kerr) Renaissance GIFs.

Scene from 'Four Last Things' (GIF by the author)
Scene from ‘Four Last Things’

As a weary, bearded newcomer in a beautifully saturated landscape, all you want to do is confess your terrible sins, but a smug guy informs you that they’re not local enough and you need to commit some more. So, it’s off to break a few of the seven deadly ones in town, where Mattheus van Helmont’s pipe smoker lounges near some familiar bare behinds from Pieter Brueghel the Elder’s “The Dutch Proverbs.” However, there are hints you might already be doomed, as unsettling figures like the hovering musicians from “Concert in the Egg” — which is believed to be based on a lost Hieronymus Bosch drawing — accompany your attempts to achieve some envy, wrath, or lust. Spoiler: in true old-timey religious fashion, if you happen to dive off a cliff before you confess your newest crimes, torment awaits.

Scene from 'Four Last Things' (GIF by the author)
Scene from ‘Four Last Things’

Like the recent Aviary Attorney, which turned J. J. Grandville’s 19th-century caricatures into a game about bird lawyers, Four Last Things is a brief, enjoyable example of animating public-domain artwork to tell a strange new tale. And even if every player doesn’t recognize the Joachim Patinir landscape or the Pieter Brueghel the Younger characters, maybe the game will spark some interest in looking more closely for the unexpected details in Renaissance art. You never know, there might be a frog monster playing a recorder with its nose in the corner.

Scene from "Four Last Things" (screenshot by the author for Hyperallergic)
Scene from ‘Four Last Things’
Scene from "Four Last Things" (screenshot by the author for Hyperallergic)
Scene from ‘Four Last Things’
Scene from "Four Last Things" (screenshot by the author for Hyperallergic)
Scene from ‘Four Last Things’

Joe Richardson’s Four Last Things: A Point-and-Click Renaissance Masterpiece is available for PC on Game Jolt. The project is also fundraising on Kickstarter through July 28.

h/t Kill Screen

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