November 9, 2010

White, Green, Blue and Dead All Over

Filed under: Editorial Rants — Tags: , , , , — Chris O'Neal @ 7:18 pm

For those of us who have made the case for violence as art, a staggering lack of evidence has been our biggest downfall. Dismemberment, decapitation, gallons upon gallons of blood; it all rings the wrong bell for people like Roger Ebert and the Red Cross.

But then along comes White, an avant-garde take on painting a portrait in the style of a Jackson Pollock or an angry art major. From first-year students of the Graduate School of Games and Interactive Medias in France, White allows the player to paint a portrait using various weapons to murder anthropomorphic paint balls who giggle and prance along a barren white canvas.

Take for instance my own painting, after the break.

Ignoring the fact that I’m not an artist by any means, notice the gentle brush strokes and the carefully planned specks in a circular pattern, each being the blood of something that had previously been ‘alive’ in the strictest definition of the word available for a videogame.

I was unable at first to determine what it was exactly that I had to do however. Running the span of the canvas, lifting and tossing creatures using a large magnet gun, I soon realized that I could cycle through weapons to inflict damage and thus produce magic. A type of shotgun, an explosive food launcher (which fires pellets that the creatures are attracted to, and then they explode), a cannon and a BB gun are your arsenal, each producing a different smear on the canvas.

Take for instance the BB gun – shoot one of the many colorful creatures and it’ll begin to bleed out, leaving behind it a trail of paint. Quickly switch to the magnet and lift the creature, and suddenly you’re able to make a perfect circle, draw a line, or, if you’re far more talented than I am, plot the Fibonacci sequence.

With the cannon ball, gravity is your only enemy. Plow through rows of the self-aware paint and smear it across the canvas in any direction you choose. The shotgun is reminiscent of throwing a paintbrush at a wall, and while the magnet isn’t exactly a murdering tool, you can launch the creatures off of the canvas to meet their colorful doom on the floor below. Also, you can follow them to your own death if you’re so inclined.

White features a unique soundtrack reminiscent of a trip to the psych ward, which seems perfectly fitting for blasting away at cuddly creatures. Every once in a while, press Esc to get a visual on the canvas from above. After around ten or so minutes of slaughter, I hadn’t made a noticeable dent in the canvas, which told me that the professional looking paintings featured on White’s home page must have taken quite a while to finish.

Who says violence can’t be art? Why else would there be four Die Hard films? And who’s to say that some day there won’t be a gallery of portraits featuring the Artwork of White?

Check out White for yourself here.

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