Gameplay Journal Entry #4
This week I watched Featherfall created by Total Refusal, introduced by Matteo Bittani. While watching this game it was easy to see how the artists were connecting the relationship between the falling sensations of a nightmare and games. To create the falling sensation, the game mod focuses on “a glitch which causes the player’s alter ego to suddenly disappear beneath the surface, plummeting to a void” (GAMESCENES). There is a voice-over of two people talking in a soothing voice to illustrate a dream state over their modification of the game. The clips show both male and female players falling throughs space.
While the players of this game originally are supposed to be fighting and killing, the modified version completely ignores this and creates a meditative atmosphere. Using Galloway’s definition of video game mods, I believe the artists both modified the game “at the level of its visual design , substituting new level maps, new artwork, new character models…” and “at the level of its software technologies, changing character behavior, game physics, lighting techniques” (Galloway). Featherfall gives a sense of aperture, giving the viewer a sense of illusion because of the way it is modified. It is set up like a powerpoint slideshow, slowly moving from one scene to the next while changing the lighting techniques of the scene. Just about every clip of the mod shows how the player glitches and looks as they are falling in a nightmare.
Galloway, Alexander R. Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture. University of Minnesota Press, 2010.