and computer games product have the capability for audience interactivity.
Popular contemporary computer multimedia and games product is in either of two forms:-
personally question the commercial and political concerns of contemporary
interactive multimedia and computer games, and what it implicitly or explicitly
In terms of the content, aesthetic, graphics, or, representation of genre, many computer game producers are just as questionable as another major media or communication form: Hollywood film studios.
In terms of the student work presented here, I was designing work counter to these highly commercial (and successful) established forms.
The three projects differed in design aesthetics. The visual and audio design have been deliberately developed to be different from contemporary popular computer CD-ROM games, which either have 3D screen model design, like Tomb Raider III, or, Star Wars Episode I Racer.
terms of content I was hoping to communicate a theme of satire in these
projects. This theme has been evident in only one popular commercial computer
game, Star Ship Titanic.
Satire is defined by theorist S. Neale in the 1990 text Film and Television Comedy as a mode of comedy which:
The three student projects I worked are discussed in detail below.
On 1 January 2001, The Millennium Experience 'Dome' was closed. However, most UK residents will know that the 'Dome' had it's share a troubles while it was open.
Ironically, these troubles were far more damaging to the Government than any satirical comment that I was making in my student project. These troubles are well documented by the BBCi News web site:-
All that said, my student project, Fairground 2000, was a an interactive exhibition which offered the user a somewhat different view of the United Kingdom at the dawn of the third Millennium. It was counter to the official Government and corporate image presented in their exhibition.
user can visit one of five exhibitions, The Body, New Labour, Mobility,
Work, or, the Peace exhibit, all which made reference to real exhibits
which were open to the public at The Millennium Experience. The fun fair
design aesthetic of Fairground 2000 is to highlight
the fact that The Millennium Experience was a theme park experience, much
like the traveling fair, which is also is a non-permanent experience.
Fairground 2000 is a multimedia piece particularly influenced by photomontage artists Peter Kennard and John Heartfield.
I believe that the issue of object orientated interaction creating a sense of satire revolves around two components. Firstly, the significance of the objects on screen (i.e. signifier/signified). This can be an aesthetic of visual or audio. And secondly, the interaction which occurs when these objects interact. When these two concepts collide (as the objects do on the screen), then a third meaning (satire) is created. My analysis is taken directly from the theories relating to meaning communicated in photomontage. As artist Peter Kennard states about the single photographic print in his text Images for the End of the Century:
Other visual influences on Fairground 2000 would include Retroactive II (1964) by Robert Rauschenberg, in particular, the American flag sequences.
The famous music present in Fairground 2000 (brief sections from The Star Spangled Banner, EastEnders, Four Seasons, and the Big Ben chime) are all recorded on guitar.
The player has to keep a young Kitten alive and get it home, which is lost in a forest, full of hostile dogs and hazards, like flowing rivers.
Although a platform game, the visual and audio aesthetics are heavily stylised. These are completely different from the usual computer game representations of animals. For example, commercial computer games have characters which are small, colourful, cute and cartoon like. Additionally, animals in these games frequently have human behaviours and personalities.
The deliberately dark graphics and audio are to highlight a marked difference to the virtual pet games, like PC Pup (a PC CD-ROM virtual reality dog), and, Koi Koi (a PC CD-ROM virtual reality fish). The visual and audio are also a break from the games like Spyro (a Playstation game where the user plays a dragon in a platform adventure game).
In Kamikaze Kitten, dogs bark, fish swim and birds sing; they do not start talking or break into a song and dance number, as often seen in Disney animated films, like The Jungle Book.
Whether players are endeared or not to the animal characters is not as important as realising the marked difference in aesthetic, which is in opposition to the clean, cute living vision of virtual pet computer games.
The multi-tracked sound effects, vocals, harmonies, and chorus guitar sounds of Kamikaze Kitten was influenced by the experimental recording techniques of popular music artists like Jimi Hendrix, Queen and Stevie Wonder.
The on screen characters in the project are images of little 'gingerbread' style men (the lower orders of society ) moving around the taller thinner men (the higher orders of society, the press, as in the newspaper men). Alberto Giacometti's sculptures like Man Pointing (1947) are described as:-
This Giacometti design was influential on Higgledy Piggledy, and I chose this aesthetic as it was different from computer game and multimedia screen design I had seen.
The music is also abstract, and heavily influenced by the 1983 sound version of Metropolis (but inferior to the 1926 silent directed by Fritz Lang). The multi-tracked sound effects, vocals, harmonies, and chorus guitar sounds of Higgledy Piggledy was influenced by the experimental recording techniques of popular music artists like Jimi Hendrix, Queen and Stevie Wonder.
It must be stated that modules Project 1 and Project 2 (i.e. the work showcased here) were only part of the required degree course work. To complete my degree, I did submit two theoretical papers, which were not related in form or content. Additionally, I also submitted a critical reviews of Project 1 and Project 2.
My student work was subject to several formal panel reviews from University staff and other MA degree students, during the one year production period.
For the benefit of my own software training and education, and for the development of the unique aesthete design style of these CD-ROM projects, I completed these projects alone.
Other University lecturers offered their advice in tutorials including Stephanie Bezencenet, Margaret Huscroft, Peter Kavanagh and Peter Dunn.
Peter Clarke was helpful in showing me how to construct a test web site,
first published in April 1999. Lecturer Edward Welch helped me to publish
the original web site on the MAD media server (from summer 1999 to April
The music sound loops and dialogue audio were completed by myself using Sound Edit 16 version 2. There are no outside samples, I only use material recorded by myself for copyright reasons. The multi-tracked layering of sounds built in short two or four second sections is then looped, to create a sense of a long music section.
CD-ROM productions and web site were completed during the degree course
time table; September 1998-September 1999.
Macintosh G3, 7500, 7100 and 8500 PCs.
Software and hardware used in this revised web site 2003:-
Lecturer's assessing my student course work included Stephanie Bezencenet, Peter Kavanagh, Angela Medhurst, and, Nigel Power.
The two theoretical papers and critical reviews I also completed, as part of my degree course work, were assessed by other staff.