C’est La Videogame: An Exhibition of Life as a Play Experience

Curated by Andy Sebela, NYU Game Center Librarian
Thursday, February 28th
721 Broadway, 9th Floor
7:00pm – 10:00pm

When I was much younger, I received a Tamagotchi as an Easter gift.  I lifted the toy from my basket.  It was tangled in cellophane grass.  I pressed one of the buttons, and an egg appeared on the small screen.  It began to wiggle, and a few minutes later, it hatched.  What emerged was a circle of pixels with a blank expression.  It looked confused and maybe a little bit happy to see me.  I had just witnessed the miracle of life.

C’est La Videogame examines if and how life can be effectively captured in a game.  It investigates the essential properties of life, and explores what games can say about existence through a play experience.  The games in this collection tend to disregard winning, losing, high scores, and storylines; instead, they focus on strategies for and representations of being alive.  The featured games each offer unique expressions of what life consists in.  The goals and choices that players encounter in these games are reflective of the basic goals and choices that we confront as living things.  By abstracting life in this way, each game in C’est La Videogame is able to articulate its own account of what it means to be alive.

The unexamined game is not worth playing.

Games for play include: Seaman, Passage, Tamagotchi*, Animal Crossing, John Conway’s Game of Life, and more.

*many, many Tamagotchis