Games, Gaming, and Game Design

Can games do more than entertain? Welcome to the Games branch of Artful Design TV, devoted to exploring the artful design of games as entertainment, as modes of expression, and as reflection. We will examine various forms of play and we will play—both to learn and just for fun—various types of games, from AAA mass market games to sublime indie games, from toys to musical apps. Here you will find game play-throughs with commentary as well as relevant episodes from Artful Design TV. Check out the "Games, Gaming, Game Design" episode from Week #13. Readers of Artful Design might refer to Chapters 2 (Designing Expressive Toys), 6 (Game Design), and 7 (Social Design). Have fun and stay thoughtful!

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Aaru: The Idyllic Video Game Sublime — An Essay (11 minutes)
YouTube | Vimeo
Visit Aaru, the Afterlife in Egyptian Mythology as imagined in Assassin's Creed Origins / Curse of the Pharaohs, in this rumination on videos games and the Sublime.


We continue with Discovery Tour by Assassin's Creed: Ancient Egypt. This is essentially Assassin's Creed without assasinations, missions, weapons, upgrades, or enemies—while keeping the expansive virtual world intact, peppered with dozens of historical mini-tours).

Discover Tour: Ancient Egypt (2020)
Part 1: "The Virtual Tourist"
Become a virtual tourist! In this first outing we free-solo the Lighthouse of Alexandria and leisurely take a mini-tour on the planning of the city.

Discover Tour: Ancient Egypt (2020)
Part 2: "The Great Library / Going Sailing"
Ancient world virtual tourism!
In this second installment we visit The Great Library of Alexandria and go sailing into the Mediterranean.

Playing Discover Tour: Ancient Egypt (2020)
Part 3: "Pyramids"
Ancient world virtual tourism!
In this third outing, we take a day trip to Gize to see (and climb) the Pyramids.


What is happening? What is this game? What does it mean? Why am I playing it? Explore these and more questions in the delightfully strange KIDS which, by the way, seems to take all of 30 minutes to play from start to finish.

KIDS (full play-through)


It this a toy? Or an instrument? Can it be both? Designed for the iPhone, the Ocarina is played by blowing into the microphone on the device. There is also a game mode as well as an social globe feature that allows you to listen in on others around the world.

Ocarina 2 — Game Mode (2012)
Why an Ocarina? Literally nobody asked for it. Well, why not?

Ocarina: Listening to the World (2008)
The Ocarina globe lets you to hear others blowing into their iPhones around the world. Who are these people...

Ocarina: Stairway to Heaven (2008)
Back in 2008, we made this video to show Ocarina for the iPhone. We had a lot of fun making this video. Take 16 was the one, and Ge stayed up all night editing it.

Ocarina: Legend of Zelda
This was the original video for Ocarina on the iPhone, film in the CCRMA Listening Room. We wanted to demo the just-completed Ocarina for iPhone, what better way to do it than with the Legend of Zelda theme song?

Ocarina: Listening to the World (2020)
Listening to the World play the Ocarina — over an hour of just opening the Ocarina globe and listening...


(NOTE: intended for adult audiences only) This is a play-through of Disco Elysium — an unconventional, cerebral, simmering experience that both exists as a video game and something that also transcends a video game to frame questions about memories, self, society, video games as medium, and well, Everything. This is an Artful Design TV play-through series with commentary by Ge, playing the role of "thinker" in the game.

Disco Elysium Playthrough (Thinker, Part 1)
Knowing almost nothing about the game (aside from good reviews),
Ge begins a play-through of Disco Elysium and begins to get a
feel what what this game is, and what in the world it is actually about...

Disco Elysium Playthrough (Thinker, Part 2)
The game is such a gorgeous slow simmer.
In Part 2, we gain an interesting new mental tool (called
"Volumetric Shit Compressor", useful for keeping one's um shit together),
meet more inhabitants of Revachol, and ponder the meaning of things...

Disco Elysium Playthrough (Thinker, Part 3)
Try to get into Apartment #28, meet a rich negotiator
lady on a boat, learn more about the history and social
climate of the city, all as Day 1 draws to a close. Oh,
and Kim sure has his moments. Also: who am I?

Disco Elysium Playthrough (Thinker, Part 4)
Day 2 begins. Finally making some progress on analyzing
the scene. Much is learned. Much remains to be uncovered.

Disco Elysium Playthrough (Thinker, Part 5)
We operate the water lock and visit a nearby run-down fishing village
by the coast; got a new (and free!) place to stay...

Disco Elysium Playthrough (Thinker, Part 6)
Exploring the coastal region, we find some confused ravers who
wants to start a nightclub/drug lab, and happen upon an old church...

Disco Elysium Playthrough (Thinker, Part 7)
Okay, we try to help the ravers actually start a nightclub (and not a drug lab),
run errands for a programmer, confront a group involved with the murder,
oh and we find my vehicle... in the sea.

Disco Elysium Playthrough (Thinker, Part 8)
As we piece together what happened a week ago as
well as the fragile pieces of my mind and soul,
we begin to figure out the unusual circumstances and
motivations around the murder. We also try to sing Karaoke...

Disco Elysium Playthrough (Thinker, Part 9)
we learn more about the crime and the people it implicates,
get a map (finally), and SING KARAOKE. Sublime.

Disco Elysium Playthrough (Thinker, Part 10)
We perform some non-regulation "evidence gathering", try to figure
out Klassje's deal, and DANCE LIKE A MANIAC. MEDIUM CORE!

Disco Elysium Playthrough (Thinker, Part 11)
Kim takes the victim's body for processing, we learn about the Pale,
re-visited the Doomed Commercial District, and split a "kilo" with Cuno...

Disco Elysium Playthrough (Thinker, Part 12)
we meet an eccentric billionaire, consider doing a shady errand
for Evrart, and learn more about this sad, sad world...

Disco Elysium Playthrough (Thinker, Part 13)
we encounter some new leads in tracking down a person of interest,
read books to pass the time, in advance of an important rendezvous...

Disco Elysium Playthrough (Thinker, Part 14)
We might be getting close to the finish line, but have no idea what a
finish line would actually look like in this game. A major showdown
takes place; we blast sad FM on a boat.

Disco Elysium Playthrough (Thinker, Part 15; Endgame)
Who did what? Why? Who am I? What am I? What is what? Senselessness
and Inevitability rendezvous exquisitely in this final episode of
Artful Design TV's "thinker" play-through.

(tell us how we are doing and how to improve)

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