For this blog I played a Molleindustria game called “Tuboflex.” It was definitely a game I had never played before that I found pretty interesting. Tubloflex is a game based on the need of human resources. With that, I mean that the player is a worker that caters to its customers. Tubloflex consists of the player having different jobs within one game sitting and trying to satisfy its customers. If the employee or player fails to do so, he or she will become either homeless or blacklisted.
Is it an Art?
Tublolex, I say, is considered “art,” and to be more specific it is an “art game.” According to John Sharp in Works of Game: On the Aesthetics of Games and Art art games, “uses innate properties of games—among them interactivity, player goals, and obstacles providing challenge for the player—to create revealing and reflective experiences” (12). In other words, an art game is a game that is used as a medium of expression. Furthermore, Sharp states that it “creates revealing and reflective experience.” Therefore, the game allows the player to reflect on a personal experience giving the game more credibility of it being called “art.”
Then and Now
However, Johan Joachim Winkelmann, a historian and archeologist, states in his book Reflections on the Imitation of Greek Works in Painting and Sculptures, “Good taste, which is becoming more prevalent throughout the world, had its origins under the skies of Greece” (27). Consequently, there are people who agree in art simply considered as paintings and statues because they were more aesthetically beautiful. Although he states that the Greeks knew art, he also mentions that good and bad taste exists and although we do not have taste in art like the Greeks, “we are improving.” On the contrary, Walter Benjamin in The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction would semi-agree with Johan Winkelmann. He would agree that we are improving with art but not that the Greeks “knew” art. Benjamin states that the “understanding and treatment of art and of artistic technique must progressively develop in order to understand a work of art in the modern context.” Therefore, as mankind progresses so does art.
So what does this have to do with Tuboflex?
One of Walter Benjamin’s main points is that art is a form of expressionism, so that is what Molleindustria did with this game. They expressed the issues with bureaucracy and the current dynamic labor market through the video game. Nowadays being able to keep a job is difficult especially with the high demand of customers and low paying jobs. When I played this game the first thing I had to do was give the drive-though customers their food. However, if I did not give it to them fast enough they would honk at me. Also, if I got honked at my game level went down stating that I was close to getting blacklisted. Basically, I had to keep the customers content and if not I
would lose my job. In the end, Tuboflex is considered an art game because the artists or Molleindustria wanted to express the issues with bureaucracy through a cartoon video games, thus proving it is an art.
Johann Joachim Winckelmann. (1998 ). “Reflections on the Imitation of Greek Works in Painting and Sculpture.” In The Art of Art History: A Critical Anthology, edited by D. Preziosi. Oxford: Oxford University Press: pp. 27-34.
John Sharp. (2015). “Game Art.” In Works of Game.
Walter Benjamin. (1986 ). “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” In Video Culture: A Critical Investigation, edited by J. C. Hanhardt. Salt Lake City: G.M. Smith in association with Visual Studies Workshop Press: pp. 27-52.