Game Art Installation, 2016, 10 mins play time
“33 1/3 Revolutions” is a game art installation that deals with Hong Kong’s record store culture and with vinyl records as objects of tangible heritage and cross-cultural importance. A single player computer game built with the Unity3D editor will be made accessible to festival visitors as well as a browser game that can be played online. The game presents a fictitious urban environment that is constructed from pictures that are taken from Hong Kong record stores. The level consists of a vinyl hero, a ‘digitization spaceship’, buildings and huge vinyl records that are larger than (wo)man-sized and invite the player to start and stop the respective music contained on these records.
The cultural history of 20th century apparatuses contains two machines that became iconic for youth culture, film, and Western civilization, both use a revolving device to achieve their functionality: The revolver (predecessors date back to the 16th century, but it is popularly known as the “colt” in Western movies) and the record player. Both of these apparatuses (let’s forget about the third potential sibling here: the KODAK carousel slide projector) meet in a game that celebrates turntables and vinyl music and equips the player with a revolver to fight against the dematerialization of music. The revolver equipped music connoisseur has to make his way through the streets of an urban environment that contains famous Hong Kong record stores like the ones of Paul Au at 239 Cheung Sha Wan Road in Sham Shui Po or by Ho Hing Ming at Lamma Island. The player is attacked by a digitization spaceship, but he or she can shoot back, can duck and cover and can play the rough and warm sounds of the analog vinyls that are a threat to the digitization spaceship.
Vinyl records have almost completely disappeared from the shops and homes of Hong Kong for more than two decades, before the inhabitants of Hong Kong once more fell in love with vinyl. It is interesting to see how certain cult shops keep a nostalgic collection of outmoded bands like The Who, Bob Marley’s Wailers and the like. The unpredicted phenomenon of a revival of vinyl is not unique for Hong Kong, it rather mirrors a global tendency that shows a 400% increase in global vinyl sales in between 2007 and 2014. However, what is typical for Hong Kong is the radical enthusiasm about media innovations, which quickly drop into oblivion. In regard to vinyl this has been described by record collector Paul Au: “Hong Kong people like to follow trends. They listen to whatever is popular, so they throw away a lot of old things. In the 80s, they threw away all the things from the 60s. They cannot stick to one lifestyle for long and they also don’t give many genres a chance. Back in ‘83, when Metallica started getting famous, local record dealers imported only 50 copies of their first album. Only 50 copies for the whole fucking colony! What kind of a city is this?” (hk-magazine.com/city-living/article/vinyl-hero-storeowner-paul-au)
The game is an open exploration single user computer game that can be played as a download on Apple IOS, Linux or Windows machines and also as a browser game in conventional web browsers like Safari Internet Explorer, Firefox etc. The games level has been built in Unity3D and exported for the respective platforms. The game has an expected playing time of 8 to 30 minutes per player and can be restarted at any time or continued by a successor player. In order to make the game accessible for as many players as possible in conditions of crowded festival conditions an automated change of players will be facilitated. A message of the type “Please hand over the system to new players… or continue” will be displayed if activated by the system operators. creativegames.org.uk
Mathias Fuchs: Game Design, Sound Design, Unity3D programming
Tara Hagemann: Hong Kong location photography
- MATHIAS FUCHS (UK) has been working on the topic of game audio and has presented game art with a focus on audio at resfest, Futuresonic festival, or at Kiasma museum Helsinki to name a few. Most of the games were developed on the UT Editor and ran on the Unreal games engine. “33 1/3 Revolutions” is being developed for Unity3D which allows not only for a better control of the game and its elements but has the additional advantage of being able to be ported to various platforms like Mac OSX, Windows, Linux, Android or iOS. The game can also be exported to run as a browser application.
Full Text and photo p. 117-119