The Gutter

By: Xander

On: May 22nd, 2009


The Gutter is a recently released “interactive piece of art” by Jan Willem Nijman and Robin Rodrigo Ramirez Rodriquez. I realise their full names weren’t neccessary, but writing that 2nd name was just such a joy.

Saying anymore would be spoiling things, just be sure to give it a try and post back your impressions. Interestingly you can donate $5 to the creators via email and they will add the feature of ‘Death’ to this “Interactive piece of art”. If you can’t afford the full version however the demo version does still feature the functions VOMIT and FEEL ASLEEP, as well as a number of hidden extras. Happy hunting, TIGobos!

  • bob

    This game looks like a cave story ripoff.

  • TCM

    Yeah, I changed my mind, it’s clearly a Cave Story ripoff.

  • the sqrrl

    somebody should nominate this for a IGF award!

  • cm

    I like this. I know it’s a parody, but I think parodies should be good in their own right rather than relying on OH HAY I RECOGNISE WHAT THIS IS SUPPOSED TO RESEMBLE. The Gutter does it right.

  • biznitch

    I’d rather play with myself…

  • cuccatoo

    I think you mean, whilst playing with yourself!

  • IceNine

    Hobo sim of the year. The cat AI was amazing.

  • Tato’s Games

    It’s a curious experiments…

  • RushWare

    WTF?? LOL…that is 5 minutes of my life I cant get back.

  • Pofy

    tigsource should start a compo on TheGraveYard-like games :)

  • mirosurabu

    Robin Rodrigo Ramirez Rodriquez is JW’s imaginary personality that creates art games. He’s a new talent within indie scene and we should thank JW for introducing him to us.

    Credits are mocking MDickie, right?

  • JP

    Simply fantastic… the raw emotion of it! Such genius! I’m so glad the creators made sure to prevent the interactivity from ruining the artistic message. That so often gets in the way of good interactive art!

  • artgamean

    The Independent Gaming Source is now The Independent Interactive Art Source

  • yesman

    MDickie makes the best games as art games evar! Teh are absolute genius!

  • Paul Eres

    The above may be satire, but I kind of agree. Anyone who has played The You Testament or even Wrecked shouldn’t doubt MDickie’s ability to create (unpolished, but heartfelt) art games.

  • ptoing

    I enjoyed it. I even thing you get different music when you pass out on the cardboard. More comfy than sleeping on hard concrete.

    Good stuff :D

  • Xander

    This week I will post something with MASSIVE EXPLOSIONS and something featuring BREASTS.

    Because that’s what games are all about, no?

  • SaucyLover999

    Clocked it! Found the Vomit action, the tipsy action, scored extra points for falling asleep on the cardboard and won an extra life for feeling up that cop. I’ll post a speedrun on YouTube shortly.

  • GooberFOP

    Have you looked in the third window on the left? There’s people having an orgy in there!

  • Arf

    if this is supposed to be a statement about the desperation of being a homeless drunk, it fails miserably. and if it’s not that, then its a cynical exploitation of the homeless/drunk for profit. crap either way.

  • backinmydaywedidnt

    Xander: I don’t know. I always thought games were about, you know, games? I mean, stuff you “play,” or something like that?

    Like Chess for example. That’s a game. Or how about baseball? Now those are games. I mean, stuff where you actually score points or win against an opponent, or challenge your own skills. That’s what games ought to be.

  • backinmydaywedidnt

    Now don’t get me wrong, I like this art and expressing yourself stuff as much as you do. But whatever happened to games just being games? At least give me a high score or some level objectives to beat. Maybe even a lives counter with only 3 lives. Now those were the good days.

  • Anthony Flack

    I don’t mind “art games” being used to explore anything at all. It’s just more software on my computer that I run to amuse myself with – I do all kinds of things on the computer for fun. I can play a game or I can edit sound or I can use Photoshop or I can run this weird thing with a drunk guy in it. That’s fine, and to criticise the existence of any of these things is silly.

    But I do also think that “games as games” need to be given more props. Maybe that’s where the frustration stems from? For example, I think Primrose was a much more interesting and fearless project than Passage! Making games as games is a serious business.

    In my opinion, the people who are really doing the most to establish games as a serious art form are people like Cactus and Messhof. Because they strip away the non-essential elements, until there is nothing but naked video game left for your contemplation. To be assessed, unapologetically, on its own terms and in its own language.

  • smellycunt

    Games as art is redundant if the game doesn’t entertain. So, obviously this is a game because judging by some of the comments that people left they were entertained by it.

    The Gutter is a testament to where games in general are heading though if all we do is spew out the same game over and over. I’m growing tired (and have been tired) of games like Halo, Gears of War, Killzone 2, Grand Theft Auto IV and even newly released crap such as Bionic Commando…

    Those games are extremely limited in play value when you really think about it. Sure they look nice and they show off how impressive the technology has become but they do little to inspire or invigorate. I want to see more games like Mirror’s Edge, inFamous, and Uncharted, Bioshock, just to name a few… Sure they may use formulas that have been tried and tested before but the way they’ve been applied and integrated into the game make for a much more enjoyable experience. There are plenty of reusable elements but when they’re tweaked and refined into some new formula they grant the player with a new experience and on top of all that, the story behind these games (which is part of the art itself) enhances the gameplay. If you’re going to go through the trouble of making a big game, at least have a half-witted story that doesn’t just feel like filler. It’s kind of insulting, especially when you put a $50 dollar price tag on it. Me and other idiots that have bought these games shouldn’t be satisfied with the sort of shit that we let some of the big companies get away with.

    Ah well, I’m tired.

    Peace out.

  • iusetoomanydifferentnames

    Well, like I said 2 or 3 posts before this. These interactive art pieces are cool and all, but what about making “games?”

    Games are supposed to be things with a set of rules in which you do an activity and challenge yourself using those rules.

    Even something as simple as tag is a game because due to the fact that its an recreational activity played with a (very simple) set of rules.

    Things like artistic expression or story in games is cool and all, but it isn’t the game itself. It’s just something to give you incentive to play the game.

    But if you remove the game, and just leave the story or artistic expression, is it still a game? Or is it just a pretty cool thing to look at and analyze?

    I thought “this interactive art piece” was cool though. And I am glad that the author didn’t try to act like it was a game.

    But things like this could easily be games though. Just add something like a lives meter and maybe even a level objective or challenge that you have to beat. And there you have it, a game (although probably not very effective one).

    But then again, the point of these indie “interactive artworks” (and what I commonly see in them) is the fact that they mostly try not to be a game at all. They remove all the rules, any familiarity, anything that would actually make it seem like a typical game and instead replace it all with some sort of unfamiliar, artistic, abstract metaphor.

    Personally, I just wish there was more of a balance. Actually, I would much prefer that things are more “game” than “art.”

    It is nice that people are daring to be different, but at times it seems like the indie gaming scene is becoming less and less about games and more about artistic expression through interactive mediums.

  • iusetoomanydifferentnames

    I meant to put quotes around “games” in that last sentence. Games as in things played with a certain set of rules or challenges, or something to that effect.

  • Fuzz

    Ah, but video games are entirely different than board games, sports, and etc. The defining concept of the video game is interactivity, not rules, as in the other types of game.

  • iusetoomanydifferentnames

    I disagree. Video games are still games. They are different only in the medium you use to play them.

    The interactivity is not the defining characteristic, just the method you use to play the game itself.

    I don’t see how video games are an exception. They also have rules, although presented in a different way. Common examples being things like giving you a life meter and telling you to avoid losing your lives or completing an objective under a certain amount of time.

    But a common thing I see in these art games is abandoning any rules or objective to the game and instead using the interactivity to present some sort of abstract artistic metaphor, rather than to using interactivity to play a game.

    While that is pretty cool, I just wish people in the indie scene would make more “games” rather than art I can interact with.

  • JW

    Time to kick in.

    “Ah, but video games are entirely different than board games, sports, and etc. The defining concept of the video game is interactivity, not rules, as in the other types of game.”

    A game is basicly a user trying to get the best within a defined set of rules. Digital or nondigital.

    Now, the guys saying that halo sucks or this is not game are both missing the point. This whole game is about…

    aaah fuck, I’m not going to spoil it… yet.


  • jolli

    you guys like writing essay length posts too much
    i think the game looks cool and i got to kick the cat. man i feel sorry for the cat

  • plvhx

    “The defining concept of the video game is interactivity, not rules, as in the other types of game.”
    This is completely, objectively wrong. What do you think you’re interacting with? It’s a system of rules. That’s a stupidly simple concept.

    Even if games are trying super hard to be art, they still have rules.
    Play Jason Rohrer, Jonathon Blow and Gregory Weir’s games for more on this.

    “The Independent Interactive Art Source”
    The problem with Tale of Tales, is that they don’t want to make games. This is spelled out clearly in their ‘REALTIME ART MANIFESTO’. They are appropriating the word ‘game’, as an excuse to create watered down interactive toys with deathly boring narrative.

    Realtime 3d art and the demoscene live and thrive, so why don’t Tale of Tales just deal in those communities? Self-importance, and attention grubbing. They wouldn’t deserve ire if they were simply making bad games, cause hey, try again next time guys! No, they don’t want to make games, and they punish players for wanting to play them. Maybe they haven’t figured that out themselves.

    The irony is even sweeter because typically JW actually makes incredibly fun games that are pure joy to play. He’s the anti-ToT, perhaps.

  • mirosurabu

    Go and play games if you want to play them. There are billions of “real games” out there.

  • GooberFOP

    Clearly, the game is just highlighting what we’re all thinking: that Chris Brown is an abusive woman beater who deserves nothing less than sodomy by truncheon wrapped in barbed wire. It’s a subtle point, but the scene with the cat confirms it.

  • Dinsdale

    This “thread” alone makes it all worthwhile. It’s almost as if they were trolling with The Gutter.

  • Kvalsternacka

    They were.

  • cm

    I ALMOST beat the boss by, like, this much. Has anyone managed and do you have tips :(

  • sameguypostingindifferentnames

    “Go and play games if you want to play them. There are billions of “real games” out there.”

    And sadly, very few of them are ever posted on this site while “art games” are pretty much a dime a dozen here.

  • sameguypostingindifferentnames

    And I don’t think it’s just this site, but rather the whole trend or direction that the indie scene is starting to learn towards.

  • sameguypostingindifferentnames

    But then again, I give this guy credit for being honest about what the fact that it’s not a game. Huge props for that alone.

    Most people never really want to admit that and try to pass things off as games despite having very little to no actual gameplay.

  • Anonycat

    You do get the victory music when you fall asleep in your home.

  • mirosurabu

    To person who complained about “art game” coverage – no. Other genres are also covered on TIGS, and there is a whole topic dedicated solely to TIGSource RPG coverage on forums.

  • Paul Eres

    by my estimation tigsource still 90% of the time posts about game games rather than art games, so why complain about the 10% that gets through?

    i also find it strange that someone would say that something isn’t a game because it only has a little gameplay. no gameplay i can understand, but a little? like, there were people calling glum buster not a game, even though it clearly did have a significant amount of gameplay. gameplay doesn’t have to mean heart-pounding action, there are different kinds of gameplay. going at a slow pace and exploring things, moving around and trying to discover stuff, solving puzzles, etc., rather than just shooting anything that moves — they are all different kinds of gameplay. action is not the only kind.

  • AmnEn

    Well the thing I don’t understand about Art “Games” is why they so desperately want to be Art Games when they shun everything that defines a game.

    I quite enjoy experiencing interactive Art and find most of those quite inspiring and enlightening, however I cringe everytime someone tries to declare their interactive Art as games.
    Why do they so desperately want to be Games? Why do they want to be part of that Genre when they could have their own genre.
    It’s like a shaver being sold as a Lawnmower, because technically, it might be able to cut the grass.

  • s

    why does it matter what a game is or not? And getting angry at it hahahaHAHA funny people

  • Paul Eres

    i’m not sure why definitions matter so much — if someone wants to call an ice cube a game, let them. there’s almost a religious dogmatic fervor that people are showing about what is and isn’t a game. it’s like you believe that if people start using the word game for things that don’t have rules and goals indie games are going to collapse or something. it just gets tiring to hear over and over — don’t you think people get it by now that some people don’t think some things are games?

  • Anonymous

    Hey guys try walking backwards into the camera.

  • IceNine

    Oh boy, let’s not do this again. Makes it all the more pointless if this is a satirical game, flamebait in binary form.

  • AmnEn

    Because Definitions actually have a use. Try tossing a bunch of Heavy Metal Fans in a room with a bunch of Hip Hoppers. There are two possible results:

    Nu Metal

    Both are unspeakable Horrors. Whats bad about definitions and genres? It’s quite useful to determine whether something is to your tastes or not. And a Game without any ounce of actual game in it, why does it want to be labeled game in the first place?
    Evil tongues would say because they get more attention that way, and that is just cheap. Let quality carry the art.

  • TCM

    I define video games as “video games”.

    Webster is rolling in his grave.

  • torsion

    Definitions are important because otherwise, you have groups of people who are using the same word to mean different things. (By definition.) And they argue. Forever.