Emoji Poetry

Emoji Poetry is the literature class you never had

There’s an almost magical quality about tweets by Carrie Fisher, which probably half stems from the fact that I usually have no idea what she’s saying: her tweets are almost entirely in emoji, indiscernible like some new art form that I’m not cultured enough to understand. And with the rise of emojis changing the way we communicate for various mediums, I imagine that my confusion around their growing usage isn’t going to go anywhere. In comes developer Arzamas OOO’s new smartphone app, Emoji Poetry, a literary game where you drag the “appropriate” emoji into the empty spaces of a popular…


LARP game has players cope with the expectations placed on different genders

It’s not hard to understand the appeal of LARPing (live-action role playing). A player can both cosplay and let go of their inhibitions in a safe space by acting out a character-driven narrative. Though I’ve never LARPed before, actress Felicia Day convinced me of its potential for sheer fun in an episode of Supernatural where her character got to be the Queen of a popular LARP and was practically worshiped by the other players. Definitely appealing. But perhaps the best aspect of LARPing is that it is a medium entirely shaped by its players backgrounds and intents, and can be…


The Furry takeover of media

It wasn’t until I was halfway through the Korean visual novel Dandelion – wishes brought to you – (2012), when I had already spent hours trying to get in the pants of a guy who had previously been a black cat, that I began to wonder if I was actually a Furry. Jisoo, the object of my affection in Dandelion, is not anthropomorphic in the traditional sense; rather, he is either in black cat form or, when under the influence of magic, a human body. Even in his human form, however, he retains his black cat ears, his love of…

Erotic Objects

Media artist makes cute little sex machines

If you’ve ever wondered how it would look to watch virtual machines masterbate, Latvian artist Elstons Kuns has you covered. In his surrealistic virtual art project Erotic Objects, Kuns celebrates the human body by reducing it into a cleaner, less-messy series of colorful automotron, or more precisely, autoerotic machinery. It’s difficult to look away: these hypnotizing pastel mechanical contraptions, made via coding in Linux, can masturbate themselves into oblivion. Erotic Objects takes the most base human act and immortalizes it as art. The project, on one hand, represents industrialized sexuality without the intricate human nuances and feelings allegedly necessary to…

The Game Worlds of Jason Rohrer

Jason Rohrer’s personal games get their own museum retrospective

The Davis Museum at Wellesley College is now exhibiting The Game Worlds of Jason Rohrer until June 26th, 2016. It’s a retrospective of Rohrer’s unique videogames, exemplified by his earlier works such as the semi-autobiographical 2D sidescroller Gravitation (2008) which explores, in Rohrer’s own words, his own bursts of “mania, melancholia, and the creative process.” Rohrer asserts that he is not a “gamer” per se, which has helped him to view videogames as a non-spatial medium that can be repurposed as another form of art. He says that he does not see the confines of videogames themselves and can better tap…


How female modders are bringing better diversity to videogames

For as long as we’ve had games, we’ve had mods. They’re an integral and maybe necessary part of gaming, used either to personalize an experience or simply as a creative outlet. As a South Asian, I’ve banked on mods to make characters that actually look like me and not a version of myself that looks like, you know, I jumped in a tub of baby powder. So I’m grateful for mods and big-name games like The Sims (2000) that have actively encouraged modders to further customize player worlds as they see fit, even going as far as to advertise popular…

Don't Be A Puppet

How to Spot a Terrorist: the videogame

Don’t be a puppet. That’s the FBI’s new mantra in response to terrorists and their would-be recruits. And in light of the growing problem of terrorists trying to recruit vulnerable teenagers over the internet, the FBI has created an interactive website, adorned with a flailing wooden puppet on strings, to teach teens how to spot terrorist recruiters and better protect themselves from their brainwashing and manipulation. The message is of course commendable, and there is nothing wrong with telling teens to speak their minds and use their intelligence. To ignore the potential dangers of the internet, in light of lurking…

The Playground Project

Your favorite playground is actually a work of art, apparently

A Swiss art exhibition center finds sophistication and the potential for modern art in a most seemingly ordinary place: children’s playgrounds. The Kunsthalle Zürich, a center known for seeking to break boundaries in art by redefining its concepts, has begun crowdfunding The Playground Project, a book that will explore the history of playgrounds and exhibit photographs of what the center deems the most beautiful playgrounds in the world. The project for the book was conceived after the center began planning an exhibition where it would transform several spaces into playgrounds; the accompanying book is an attempt to immortalize those spaces…

Hyrule subway map

Classic videogame worlds reimagined as subway maps

Few moments are more familiar in an old-school dungeon-crawler than the opening of a treasure chest, only to find a dungeon map. But if—for whatever whim of your fancy—you’ve been hoping instead for a subway map to unfold itself from those chests, you’re in luck: graphic designer Matthew Stevenson has created six sprawling “subway” maps, based on his favorite NES games. revel in these maps’ ability to evoke warm nostalgia Each map is unique, encompassing the specific visual appeal of the game they seek to compress. The Legend of Zelda (1986) subway map, for example, is intricate and sprawling—based loosely…