We adored the sprawling artworld of Secret Habitat but didn’t you find something fishy about creator Strangethink Software’s claims that a computer created all of the galleries and artists and artworks? It’d need an expensive roboarm just to hold a brush, for starters. Now Strangethink’s latest, Joy Exhibition [official site], has revealed the truth: it’s all made by little people trapped somehow inside computers. Joy Exhibition is a first-person arter, giving us procedurally-generated paintguns splatting procedural paint to create paintings for a gallery visited by procedural silent glowbeings whose judging eyes I feel burning through my every worthless creation.
In a discgallery hovering over a morphing alien landscape, we’re confronted by a ring of blank canvasses. There is no art. The art is not here. You have to make the art yourself. A magical portal in the centre of each room, Prey-style, will transport you into a studio with the canvas and oodles of procedural paintguns upon the walls. They blast out procedural painstreams, of course, in all sorts of colours and sizes and shapes, with paint that might move and grow and morph depending on how far away you are, how long you fire, and so on. It’s unpredictable, but I found it encouraged me to find satisfaction in happy mistakes and roll with them. If no paintgun suits you, hey, press the buttons on the walls to receive brand new guns.
Step back through the portal and your art is upon the walls, ready for crowds of aliens to… what? What does it mean that you stopped for a split-second then walked away? What’s wrong with it? Oh, you’d rather stare out the windows? Ahh, forget you. I’m off to make another masterpiece and THEN YOU’LL SEE.
It is awfully pleasing.
I’m not sure how Strangethink trapped people playing this inside computers to power Secret Habitat, though, so be careful.
Joy Exhibition is pay-what-you-want, with no minimum, from Itch. Strangethink warns that the Mac and Linux versions are untested, mind. While you’re there, check out Strangethink’s VHS Hell Mystery Tapes – I had meant to post about it, but I wanted to do a video and could never find the right mood or tone or… bah. But go look!