Other Places: An Interview with Andy Kelly
Other Places is a celebration of video game art. A way to appreciate the work of artists, designers, and coders, free of gameplay distractions.
The method for producing the videos varies from game to game. The most important thing is accessing a free camera, which allows for bespoke angles and tracking shots. Some games have this built-in – Skyrim and Alan Wake, for example – while others require fan-made hacks or config file editing. For Dishonored, which has no freecam hack, I set the game's gravity to 0 and teleported into the air using the 'blink' power. Once I've recorded a lot of raw footage, I edit it together in Adobe Premiere and select a piece of music from the score that I think evokes the game's mood.
I don't actually watch any machinima regularly. I don't consider myself part of that community.
I love Dead End Thrills, and I've worked with its creator a few times as part of my day job as a games writer. Other Places is definitely all about homage. The whole reason for doing them is to pay tribute to developers and artists.
I think we are, to quote Chuck Palahniuk, the middle children of history. We were born too late to explore the planet, but born too early to explore space. So I definitely think video games appeal to some latent urge to explore buried in our DNA.
In a lot of video game worlds, you can almost see the joins. You can imagine a developer placing scenery and sticking buildings together. The games featured in Other Places are distinct in that these worlds, to me, feel real and lived-in.
Video game tourism is one of the reasons I love indie. Games like Dear Esther, Proteus, Journey, and Miasmata appeal to me because I enjoy exploring. But big budget titles like BioShock Infinite (which I love) need a hook for a more general audience, like combat, etc.
I have no bias towards open or non-open worlds. I have quite a few open worlds coming up in Other Places. It's just by chance that I've avoided them so far.
I'm not sure of the legal ramifications of using video game footage. I haven't monetised any of my videos (I'm just doing it for fun), but I know that most publishers are okay with it. Only Nintendo, who are notoriously controlling of their brand, have started issuing copyright notices to YouTube creators.
I've tried and tried, but I just can't find a way to hack a free camera into Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which is one of my favourite video game worlds of all time.
In an interview, media artist Kent Sheely told me that for him, games are the perfect art-making tools. What's your opinion? Do you see your work in the context of media art at all?
I would say Other Places is a form of art. I daren't say it has artistic *value*, but if it makes people feel anything, then I think it can be considered artistic. A few people have said the Columbia video made them cry, which I find very interesting.