18th Entertainment Division Critiques
Leaving Home an Hour Early
In the chaotic, extensive categorization that is Media Arts - even dissembled into the seemingly further refined category of the Entertainment Division - the chaos and extensiveness never straightens out, artworks protruding out of categories as diverse as video, video games, websites, and apps. Having gone beyond the bewilderment we faced when the festival guidelines were first set up, pondering how these works can be compared with each other and whether it is even possible to make distinctions of "Grand Prize" and "Excellence Award", one now approaches the judging seriously, reminding oneself how dangerous questions like "What are Media Arts?" and "What is Entertainment?" are.
Ingress swept us all away and the Jury was unanimous in awarding it the Grand Prize. Using GPS, it transforms our actions in the present by overlapping reality with a virtual world. You end up leaving home an hour early in order to "hack" the "portals" located around you. Playing the game means you ultimately learn a lot about the various sculptures in a park or that Jizo statue in a back alley. The game isn't completed by your brain, fingertips and display; you leave the house and head into the city, using your body to develop the gameplay. It brings together the mental, the technical, and the physical.
Noramoji Project is also hyper stimulating, an endeavor to go out into the community, find the things you previously always overlooked, and then expand them. Dear integrates personal information into fiction, and then jumps out into the real world when it becomes an actual book. These works are not simply returned to reality by the viewer; the works directly incorporate reality - their ability to engulf players in each world is electrifying. Kuchisaki-bancho (Word Leader) constructs original rules that expand wordplay games. P.T. attempts to create a fully playable trailer for a product. LOST DIMENSION makes you want to know what will happen next. YO-KAI WATCH 2 Ganso/Honke (tentative title) takes place in a remarkable city setting.
I could sense the quality of the video games and the verve of the diffusion of genre. I felt hope in entries so numerous and manifold that they almost seem to make judging categories meaningless.