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Bohm the Game

Tonight at Gamelab a new game by visual and conceptual artist Niki Smit is being presented.  Bohm the Game shows that game diversification is a reality and designing and marketing new genres that are about more than causality are a real possibility.

By Gabrielle Kennedy / 21-10-2010

Using a government subsidy, Niki Smit and his team at Monobanda have come up with a new type of game.  “The subsidy was to create something that had an artistic influence,” says Smit.  “It isn’t supposed to be about entertainment.”

And that is exactly what they did. Inspired more by nature documentaries than action films, the goal was to design an interactive game that was as pure and simple as possible – zen-like, if you will.  “We wanted to cut all the unnecessary fluff until what was left felt more like playing an interactive visual poem,” Smit says.

Using his fascination with trees and nature, Smit wanted to design something that used romantic images of a tree growing, blowing in the wind, and looking different under different light.  The result is not a game in the traditional sense – there is no set up or battle – but a 3d visual and sensual experience.  

“We realized early on that the whole experience had to be organic,” Smit says.  “There has to be a new tree each time and different music.  That is what makes the experience more interesting.”

Tonight at Gamelab Smit is presenting version 0.1.  “So the real thing is nowhere near finished,” he says, “but we are at the stage now where we can talk about it.” This version was achieved with the assistance of technical partners, Cannibal Gamestudios.  The adaptive music was done by Claynote.

“The point is to be able to sit back and not have to think or use your reflexes,” Smit says.  “You can just sit quietly, let your eyes glaze over and enjoy a few moments of peace.  It isn’t about having fun in the traditional gaming sense, it is about enjoying an experience that puts one in a more peaceful state of mind.”

Eventually the guys at Monobanda would like Bohm the Tree to be downloadable and compatible with traditional gaming hardware.

Bohm the Tree is being presented at Gamelab in Amsterdam tonight.

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