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Discussing Pippin Barr's Durations and games that last longer than a lifetime
by John Polson on 03/14/14 01:35:00 am   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

duratrions games.pngPippin Barr's latest creation-collection has come to an end. With curious titles such as One Second Typing Tutor, One Minute Speed Date, One Year Finite Runner and One Millenium Avant-Garde Band in the mix, Durations contains 10 games you can play, some of which require a serious time commitment, and one you can't possibly hope to complete in a lifetime.

Durations was made as part of a collaboration with Marina Abramovic and MAI. Almost all the games are self-explanatory, and they each ask something different of the player in terms of commitment, from a moment to several life-times.

Pippin said to IndieGames that the main reason he made the series was in response to Marina Abramovic's idea of long-durational work. "I like the idea of the computer as the ultimate performer - if you say the performance is 100 years long, the computer just gets to it! Which is maybe depressing and inhuman and so on, but also fascinating I think.

"That you can fire up, say, One Millennium Avant Garde Band, and think to yourself, 'I am sitting here on the precipice of 1,000 years. This game will last 1,000 years. I will be dead before it ends. Humanity may not exist. And yet this game will keep going. The band will play on."

When asked if Durations was inspired by F2P games, Pippin said, "I like the idea of F2P etc. which *seem* to go on forever... or even ostensibly *do* I guess, right? No end point." He likes the idea that lots of games potentially go on infinitely, "yet there's no sense in which people are outraged by how 'long' they are, no matter how repetitive they often are. The amount of "time" involved doesn't seem like such a factor? I don't know."

He says that making specifically finite games is funny in that context, because they're finite in problematic ways. "Like only the 1-minute [speed date] game is really particularly 'playable' in any conventional sense. The rest 'devolve' into thought experiment."

To read more on the experiments of Durations, check out Pippin's blog posts. Otherwise, you can now explore his collection of Durations games.


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