Artists Panel with Keita Takahashi, Clement Shimizu and Andrew Hieronymi

PULSE: Art & Technology Festival 2013 is off to a fantastic start! We had a great turnout last night for Hye Yeon Nam and her talk on her various projects, all featured in her exhibition Unfamiliar Behavior: Works by Hye Yeon Nam. The exhibition will be on view at the Jepson Center until April 28, but make sure to check out her workshop called Huggable Nature, creating memorable hugs for trees in our area, on Saturday, February 2, from 10-1 pm.

We had a great Artists Panel this morning with Keita Takahashi, Dr. Clement Shimizu and Andrew Hieronymi; discussing their past work, current projects and the future of video games. Their work is on view at the Jepson Center until February 3, 2013.

We’ll be posting a video transcript of the talk soon, but until then let’s recap the Q&A!


Q: Keita Takahashi [KT], how did you get into the game world and transition from fine arts and sculpture?

A: [KT] After receiving a degree in Sculpture, I realized that I did not want to create sculpture as a living. I wanted to create an interesting 3D shape, wanted to make something with more interaction, that was more playful.

Q: KT Did you like to draw and sculpt when you were younger?

A: [KT] Yes. [Laughs] Do you?

Q: KT Where do you draw your inspiration from?

A: [KT] Everything. Every day living is an inspiration.

Q: How are games making the transition into museums?

A: Dr. Clement Shimizu [CS] It was impossible before- not thought of. But now people are demanding more functionality out of their art.

Andrew Hieronymi [AH] I think they’re more interested in seeing the relationship between computing & the physical world.

Q: What would happen if all three of you shared ideas?

A: [CS] And created a project?

[AH] We could make an awesome game!

[CS] I never met Keita before developing 3D Pacman… I worked from one little concept drawing for awhile. So there’s a lot of collaboration to make games.

Q: Do you have any advice for someone starting out to make games?

A: [CS] With all the tools available, just make games! And share them. It has never been easier.

Q: Do you create games with a specific user/audience in mind? Children/Adults?

A: [CS] I always forget how short kids are! [Laughs] I build a wall to separate the space from the projector and the kids can’t see! My simulations are in museums, so it’s a mix, but a lot of kids.

Q: How did you get into video games or design?

A: [CS] When I was little I was addicted to video games! And I was failing school, so my teacher said I had to be limited to 1 hour a day. Instead I just quit, and started to watch people play video games… and read about video games and the theory. Then I learned how to make them.

[AH] I was in a similar situation… I quit altogether, but didn’t read up on the theory or anything. After getting my fine arts degree I wanted to start playing again, so I did. But it was 10 years.

Q: What was your favorite or best video game to create?

A: [KT] They’re all great… the idea and concept part of each is best.

Q: Have you investigated the educational component of games?

A: [CS] I work on virtual reality simulations for education where it might be too dangerous… like, learning how to fly.

[AH] There’s a huge potential right now for games in a learning environment, but I don’t think as a standalone but as a compliment to traditional education.

Q: What are your thoughts on violent video games and their effect on society?

A: [CS] I think it’s strange that parents allow their kids to play violent video games, but relationships… lovemaking… is a big no no. Off the table.

[AH] Games are inherently about conflict and tension… I’m more disturbed by TV violence than video game violence. It’s done in a more real manner… seems more real.

[KT] When they are creating a game, the way they create is not violent — the content may be. It’s hard to explain… it’s the same action as throwing a snowball. But more bloody.

Q: Have you thought about creating your own game console?

A: [CS] I think it’s more fun to make my own controller…

[KT] I have some ideas now…

A few closing words from Keita Takahashi

Your brain is the best software.

To get started:

1. Do something different from games. Sculpture, painting, drawing.

2. Observe. Observe life, observe everything.

3. Find a plaster sculpture and draw it. From close up, from far away. The view will help you with creating video games.