Duncan Robson’s video game clock supercut Hours Played is intended to eventually become a functional timetelling device, streamed to sync up to wherever you are in the world, created entirely from clips of clocks from games. Robson crowdfunded last year to create a proof of concept of the first hour, but ended up with a little over two. I’m going to embed it right here so that you can rifle through it or leave it open to tick away in a side tab. If you’re wanting to use it to keep track of the minutes passing, you’ll have to start it at precisely 12:56pm.
Starting with Rover and the Animal Crossing train is a neat way to make the whiling away of time feel like is the beginning of an adventure. It also doesn’t take long to get into the chaos of 1pm. It turns out that lots of games like to chime the hour.
When it is crowded, it’s nice to imagine all these things happening at the same time, in different places. At 3pm, Sonic’s whizzing his way around as usual, while Elmo explains that it’s hometime for school kids. The cheery worker of Pink Hour hands in some documents, and a point and clicky man that I don’t recognise takes a nice chill elevator ride.
The slice uses quiet time effectively too, though. It can't linger for longer than a minute, but that can feel like a lot of breathing room. 2pm, for example, is rung in by a moment of rest after a Minit loop before kicking into another collage of on-the-hour clips.
And between busy clusters, it’s fascinating how many exact times are represented in games, despite that being the whole point of the project. The o’clocks, quarter-pasts, and so on aren’t that surprising, but off-beat options like, say, 2:23pm don’t feel like they should appear. But back when he was Kickstarting the project, Robson had already identified over 900 options, only resorting to player-settable ones where absolutely necessary.
Two hours and change down, just under 22 more to go. You can keep up with the project by signing up at its website.