Not a manifesto

Notgames is not a category.
Notgames do not exist. There are no notgames.
Notgames is not an art movement.
Notgames is not a genre.

Notgames is a project.
Notgames is a challenge.
Notgames is a question.

Can we create a form of digital entertainment that explicitly rejects the structure of games?
What is an interactive work of art that does not rely on competition, goals, rewards, winning or losing?

The notgames thought is inspired by videogames. By those fine moments in virtual experiences when we feel like we’re in another world, when we believe a synthetic character is our friend, when our bodies merge with the system and the software becomes our hands and eyes, when we find ourselves enthralled by the very thing that we are doing at that moment in complete disregard of the prize that we might be winning or losing.

Rare moments that are all too often shattered by the demands of the game. So let’s ask ourselves what if we don’t allow the game to interfere? What if we create an experience that consists only of such beautiful moments? And figure out how to design it so it remains as engaging as a game can be but without the “unnatural” constraints.

So notgames is a design challenge.

This is a new medium. It may be suitable to create works that re-use old formats (such as films and games). But that’s not where the challenge lies! We are interested in the unique things that this technology is capable of. What can we do with the medium of videogames that can only be done in this medium? And what is the best way to offer this experience to an audience?

One of the motivations for the notgames thought is the desire to explore the potential of videogames as a medium. Videogames are software. Software can be anything. There is no need for software to be games. There is no need for videogames to be games. Especially not if the games structure may be holding us back, may be limiting the potential of the medium.

So notgames is also an artistic challenge.

The question is not whether videogames are art. The question is how can we make good art with the medium of videogames. Notgames proposes that one direction of exploration may be to abandon the idea that what we make, should be a game. To approach the medium with an open mind.

It’s a question.
An invitation.
An exercise.