Craft & Punishment: The Art and Craft in Game Design was a curatorial undertaking by myself and James Morgan and acted as the spiritual cousin to Learn to Play 1 & 2. Craft & Punishment asks the questions: Is there a dialog between art and craft in game design? Where does such a distinction lead? Is digital pain the new pleasure?
The focus here was on the blurring line between art-games and indie-games during the indie-renaissance and retro-revival of the last decade. Where Learn to Play focused on art, Craft & Punishment examines craftsmanship, polish, and the return of the auteur. The show looked at the intentional backlash against AAA titles and the movement away from mass appeal to masocore. The selection of pieces runs the gamut from calm to brutal, from traditionally challenging to mentally taxing, and looks for players with desire for punishment.
Craft & Punishment ran from January 31st to February 24th 2011 at the Evergreen Valley College Art Gallery in San Jose, CA. The show's opening reception featured an artist talk by indi-game designer and critic, Anna Anthropy, creator of Mighty Jill Off. Notes and slides from the talk are available on Anna's site, auntiepixelante.