Students Show Off Games, Interactive Designs

The Mild but Memorable game delivers shocks to those without a steady hand.
The Mild but Memorable game delivers shocks to those without a steady hand.

Students in SCAD's interactive design and game development program are finally getting their moments in the sun.

"This is the first time we've been able to have a full gallery show and display all of the past quarter's production," said SuAnne Fu, who curates the show at SCAD's Montgomery Hall. It's called "Entelechy," which Fu says is an Aristotelian term for the actualization of a concept.

""Many of the works that you see are probably carried out from at least ten weeks of work to maybe even 20  weeks of work around here," she said. "So what they finally see and realize is this wonderful feeling. I guess that's the process that most artists go through, having all that work realized and actualized in front of you."

While the exhibits--mostly computer games--are designed to be fun and interactive, the school takes this seriously as art.

"The common misconception is this is just entertainment," said Fu. "It's the same kind of process that animation has dealt with, or many other forms of art have dealt with. But for the most part, we do see that game design is an art as art, internet artwork as artwork, not just entertainment, not just commercial work."

The artists are trying to take digital interactivity to different levels. Like Blind, a computer game that doesn't have any graphics. It just uses directional sound played through headphones to try to lead players to hidden treasure.

But for the team behind Mild but Memorable--a kind of electrified puzzle game--great art won't save a poor game. "Games can have gorgeous art in them," said designer Elan Buchen. "But the art is something to accentuate perhaps the game play experience."

That experience in his game has players working together to thread tiny objects through a maze of coiled wires with tweezers. Make a misstep, and you're rewarded with a jolt of up to 1,000 volts. Sound like fun? It seemed to be to those playing.

And making a good game, they say, is a challenge. "As designers, we had to work together, communicate what effective themes and ideas we wanted to bring out," said Buchen. "Ideas of strategy, ideas of risk, and ideas of chance...we had to communicate and force these ideas to converge. Not an altogether easy task."

But a task these students are ready to tackle.

If you'd like to see "Entelechy," it's on display through April 22 at Byte Cafe in Montgomery Hall, located at Montgomery and 52nd Streets in Savannah. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

Reported by: Charles Gray,