Behind the Scenes

After hearing various people talk about how they’d quite like to be able to break into the virtual MoMA of The Artist Is Present after hours, I was thinking about that particular aspect of games. That is, in games there are presumably things happening that we can’t see – well, at the very least this is true of The Artist Is Present. In that case, for instance, before you go into the museum (when it’s open) a bunch of dudes materialise in the main hallway and stride off toward the front of the line. The screenshot here is me teleporting to the scene of that particular crime.

I don’t know if there’s much to say about this except that it’s plainly awesome and it’s a great shame we don’t get to see more of these behind the scenes scenarios in our play. The notion of the program “getting ready” in some other local is a very charming one to me. I guess there are some similarities with, for instance, using ‘noclip’ and so on to walk to the locations of cut-scenes and so on in games – I seem to remember doing this in Half-Life 2 for instance.

To some extent it might seem to melt into thinking about how interesting glitches are. All of this feels like it takes place in some theatre or film metaphor, of course – imagining the actors preparing or hanging around just outside the range of the camera (behind the scenes), out-takes where something goes amusingly wrong (glitches). In all cases it’s about the attraction of getting that extra step closer to the game as a game, rather than as a world. And yet, because you perceive these elements through the game world, it’s like the personification or anthropomorphising of lower level code and structure. Which seems great and interesting.

Anyway, that’s what I got. Are there any classic situations like this in games I’m just completely blanking on? Particularly of the “behind the scenes” kind, rather than glitches? I guess in some GTA games you can use ‘Blue Hell’ to get to cut-scene locations, that seems like a bit of a classic…

21 September 2011
← next words previous words →