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Last thoughts of the Aurochs
Play here (requires java)
Just move the mouse over the text to start. Moving the mouse simply makes the line more random then less. Mouse over the new photograph after each pause/blur to continue.
After releasing two deep and difficult games in The Marriage and Stars over Half Moon Bay then working for so long on the ponderously long (and still unreleased) Perfect Distance I had a desire to make something small, so small in fact it would be slight.
When you aim for slight you enter a lovely realm, the dandelion seed floating by on a summer day, a rabbit darting out of sight, a half thought - half feeling you try to catch but it is gone.
I wanted to express the last thoughts of the last moments of the very last of a species. An animal trying to control its mind as the final moments arrive.
By way of explanation The Aurochs (its singular and plural are spelt identically which is confusing) was a kind of large cattle which had been part of the human experience for thousands of years. Aurochs are portrayed in cave paintings , some of our earliest recorded art.
Aurochs are extinct, they became extinct to humanity in 1627, although it is possible a few others survived past this date, no trace of them has been seen since.
Making the game appealed to me on several fronts.
1.) Expressing thoughts is an interest of mine, expressing animal thoughts presented an extra contour which I found pleasant.
2.) Deliberately aiming for such a delicate and tiny matter was a challenge. It is long for a painting and short for a game.
3.) It pushed the limits of interactivity. This has more player control than say Snake and Ladders or many dice games but less than a wargame. Defining a game or a toy or interactive painting is a noble fools errand, I hope this work can be an extra bell on the hat of the brave fool who tries.
4.) Make something beautiful. That should be enough for anyone.
I hope it gives you a moment of thought.
Old Purissima Town
My long suffering employer Electronic Arts for putting up with my semiannual folly into artgames, Jonathan Blow (for his talk on depth in recursion), Ian Bogost (for feedback during development and inspiring work in ‘A slow year’), Daniel Benmergui (for feedback on titling and playtesting), Anthony Burch (for marching into battle as a critic every day), Chris Hecker (for asking the awkward questions), Jason Rohrer (for being Jason Rohrer and guilting me into working harder), Mike Treanor (for feedback and earnest optimism). Everyone on the lists.
Thank all of you who have enquired about Perfect Distance. The game remains in development and my time permitting should be released this year. I finished Aurochs with alacrity after working so long on Perfect Distance.
The game was built with Processing a cool language, worth playing with.