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Manipulate shapeshifting hell in Mason Lindroth’s latest game

Mason Lindroth’s animations exist somewhere between the realm of a hellish nightmare, surreal art, and collages. It’s all those things, and also none of them. Lindroth’s repeated animated aesthetic is wholly unique—there’s nothing else like it (and in fact, he even hand-sculpts some objects from clay). And that’s why when he does something as “trivial” as VA DA, a new “animation/drawing program,” it still resonates. It’s wild and bizarre, like so many of his other works before it. A distorted conglomerate of gif-able lo-fi clipart VA DA, as described above, is a simple “drawing” program. You control a space with…

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The material world of Mason Lindroth

Mason Lindroth has been building up to Hylics for over a year. It’s his biggest project to date, and along the way he’s been breaking off bits of it here and there, releasing them as smaller games. If you’re familiar with his work, you can recognize the ambulant skulls—coppery brain cases hoisted on a nest of tentacles—as they chase you in Hylics, as they were used in Lindroth’s delightfully strange god sim Weird Egg & Crushing Finger.  The more you explore the world of Hylics, the more you’ll see where an idea, a sub-area, or a monster has manifested elsewhere in…

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Mason Lindroth’s new game celebrates the malleability of his beloved clay

The most convincing argument for playing a Mason Lindroth game is increasingly becoming “because it’s a Mason Lindroth game.” Although you cannot predict what his next videogame will involve you can, at least, guess that it will be made of clay. Everything from hanging overgrowth coiled up into thin patty lines to grouchy finger-pressed waves have been molded by his hands. Lindroth has found a malleable muse in clay.  Combined with his signature dotty shading, Lindroth makes the best of the squidgy irregularity of the substance, grafting environments that feel decayed and worn in; appearing to have an alien history…

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Van Gogh’s troubled psyche explored in lurching claymation

For her Master Thesis at the IT University of Copenhagen, Federica Orlati has spent the past nine months meticulously crafting Ever Yours, Vincent. It’s a point-and-click adventure based on the letters that Vincent van Gogh sent to his younger brother Theo while living in Arles, France. In the game, this happens after he has been committed to a hospital for his psychosis. While that project outline may not seem too taxing, consider that Orlati has restricted herself to using only analog creative methods: claymation, pencil sketches, doll-sized velvet jackets, and hand-drawn storyboards. These letters offer insight into the artist’s struggle…

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Hardland evokes the soft, pliable spirit of Gumby, Wallace & Gromit

When Gumby creator Art Clokey died in 2010, television lost a link to its stop-motion past. Mr. Clokey trained under modernist filmmaker Slavko Vorkapi? and in 1953, he made a student film, “Gumbasia” —a nod to Disney’s Fantasia — in which clay shapes dance to a jazz soundtrack. That rhythm became Gumby who dominated kid’s TV in the late 60s and Clokey’s legacy lives on from the Aardman animations of Wallace & Gromit to Robot Chicken (albeit the latter in a more tongue-in-cheek way). But in games that process as a art-style was only expressed in dismal titles like 1993’s Clayfighter for the SNES which I…