Games used to be about winning and losing, but it’s all in the past; now it’s about living and gaining new experience. David OReilly’s innovative game Everything, which has raised curiosity in the gaming world, you can be everything and everyone from a mosquito to a vast galaxy. No matter who/what you are, you’re in the center and the universe moves with you. That is the only rule of the game.
Presented by Digi.logue, David OReilly’s first exhibition in Istanbul, Everything, is named after the artist’s latest game of the same name. We have a lot to ask OReilly from this unusual game to limits of digital arts.
Everything is a game with a philosophy behind. How did you come up with the idea of the game, could you please tell us a bit?
The game is essentially what I believe about how life. It’s an idea that is very simple but has many moving parts to it which I cannot explain with words but which the game itself can explain non-verbally.
Everything contains narration in the form of recordings of Alan Watts. Apart from Watts, which thinkers did you affected by when creating this game?
Many thinkers influenced the game – Emerson, Ikeda, Seneca, Schopenhauer, Marcus Aurelius all affected parts of the game directly, and many others indirectly.
Your latest video game “Everything” doesn’t have a linear flow. It encourages players’ imagination to experience something new and these types of video games are very popular for the last couple of years. Can we interpret this as a revolution in video game world?
I think the video game world is branching in different directions rather than being one entity changing directions. Everything is proving that there is an audience for this type of game alongside other more traditional genre games. I think traditional games and innovative ones are great – we need both.
How are the reactions to “Everything” from the gamer world?
It has been surprisingly positive in the gamer world. The audience on Steam is massive and people really love this game. The only negativity has been from a few reviewers who have tried to over-intellectualize it.
“Everything” is a video game but you could also make a movie out of it. How do you decide on a project’s form? How do you differentiate between storytelling and game-playing? It’s true, it exists as a film and a game – but it’s form is the game. For this project, the emphasis isn’t on storytelling but on describing the systems underneath nature. This does have a structure to it, but it is not a traditional narrative and it’s not trying to be, it is more like an engine in which all kinds of stories are possible.
The universe doesn’t have any boundaries and it expands endlessly. What about the game? Does it have an end? Is it a complete work or do you still work on it to add new features to the game?
The game does have a specific single-player adventure, which will be slightly different for every player – this is essentially how the game teaches itself to the player. Everything is a complete work at the time of writing – though we plan on updating it in the future.
We are in an era of digital transformation in every area of our lives from cinema to music, video games etc. How do you feel about being an artist of this generation and having a part in this transformation?
I feel lucky just to make things I want to make – which is a very rare thing for any artist. I am fully independent and fans support my work enough for me to continue – I could not ask for more.
Sometimes we go paranoid about technological developments and we get anxious when we think of how it could damage humanity. Do you ever feel restless about technology? What do you think about the dystopian scenarios like in the movie “Her”?
I think humanity has been in a constant state of restlessness, along with periods of peace, since the dawn of time. We are under the constant illusion that this time is significantly different to other times. I do not worry about technology.
Your works are serious but also absurd and funny at the same time. Could you tell about your thoughts on absurdity?
To me the world is absurd and I do not filter that out in my work. I believe a sense of humor is as necessary as food in order to survive. Some people want my work to exclude these elements, because they think art is supposed to be serious or solemn, and I disagree completely. It is possible to be sincere and absurd at the same time.
Are there any books that shaped your perspective and help you to become who you are now?
There are too many to name, but I am mostly influenced mostly by observing life and my interactions with other creatures. Mostly we are influenced by each other.
What is the next big story you want to tell?
I do not know what the future will bring, besides death. There are many things I would love to do if I have the chance and live long enough.