Gamers Nite Groove
July 27

They've got game -- the latest Gamers Nite Groove is on.
The theme this time around: gaming as contemporary art form.

The event showcases games "weighing in heavily on style, art, and creativity,
as opposed to cheap thrills and uninspired ideas," according to New York-Tokyo major domo Job Stauffer. Damn. No cheap thrills?

"Game developers are always faced with the challenge of incorporating new and engaging features into games," Stauffer says, "but rarely do [final cuts of the] games contain such things. Much like cult movies, there are many games that have attempted such risks, and as a result, may not have sold well commercially, but remain admired by niche gamers."

Lock and load: games on hand for the night include futuristic shooter "Rez," fusing music and gaming to create a surreal trapped-in-the-music experience, and "Viewtiful Joe," an homage to old-school platform games that captures the look and feel of comic books and old b-movie science fiction films.

Other options included "Ico," the tale of a ghostly damsel in distress that calls for patience and puzzle-solving ingenuity as the player journeys through a lesson in digital impressionism. Finally, "Vib-Ribbon," the music-based bunny-hop on a single vector in space takes its minimalist visuals to the sonic and frenetic extreme.

There's also a behind-the-scenes look at exclusive artwork connected to the development of action/role-playing game (RPG) "Sudeki".

GNG regular DJ Prozac lays down tracks for the night. Also warping the speakers with their unique live sets, GNG regulars Bit Shifter and Nullsleep, known for their inspired manipulation of GameBoys to create infectious, multi-layered electronic beats.

Lastly, designer Jonah Warren treats gamers to some body-as-joystick performance art. His interactive installation uses a camera, projector, and a computer, allowing players to choose from three different games, using their body as the controller.

About Eyebeam: Founded in 1996 by indie filmmaker John S. Johnson, Eyebeam is dedicated to exposing diverse audiences to new technologies and media arts, while simultaneously establishing new media as a significant artistic/culturally groundbreaking genre.

About New York-Tokyo (NYT): Best known for Anime Festival and Music Festival, NYT currently runs two monthly meets: GNG (Gamers Nite Groove) and MDS (Monthly Director Series), and two annual Festivals : Tokyo Robotics and WiFi-event eNerGy.

Find it: Eyebeam
540 West 21st Street (btwn 10th /11th Aves.)
Get info: (718) 222-3982

Find more pop-sci/tech news and events in the July 2004 issue of "Arte Six".