4 Minutes and 33 Seconds of Uniqueness
released on Feb 02, 2009
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Wasn't interrupted, sadly and unsurprisingly. Though this game gave me the idea of the best song improvisation about 4 minutes and 33 seconds ever.
Also, I just love the deconstruction of competition and patience brought by video games due to this. Yeah, it's probably just a dull little art piece, but I do love the suspense of it (or lack of).
I've read from a few places that this game was inspired by the John Cage composition 4'33, but honestly it sort of feels like a kind of sarcastic response to John Cage. The idea that I've always taken from 4'33 is that even though the musicians are silent, the audience will make some small ambient noises just from slightly shifting around in their seats or whatever else, which combined with the ambiance of the room the piece is being performed in creates a series of sounds that will be unique at each performance. This game is different though, the "game-play" of the game will be the exact same loading bar for everyone. The unique aspect comes from the fact that in order to beat the game, the player must be the only one playing for the whole 4 minutes and 33 seconds (Which is pretty easy nowadays, I wasn't interrupted a single time.) To me, this comes across as questioning why we value uniqueness in the first place. As I was waiting to win the game, I found myself wondering why it's important to be the only one who happens to be playing at this very moment when people have had this exact same experience before me and will after me. It sort of reminds of The Stanley Parable, where in that game the idea of choice and freewill is questioned by having a pre determined path and story even when the player believes they've gone off the beaten path (The ending where you jump out of bounds from the office window is a great example of what I'm talking about here). Here, there's a similar thing where even if the player may feel unique, every moment of the game is pre-determined, meaning every successful play-through will always be the same unless someone else decides to play the game during your play-through. It's never truly unique. And you can apply this to all sorts of other things as well, especially art. What does it mean to be unique if you can easily just make an exact copy of any given painting. Why is the painting being the one originally painted by the artist even matter if you can just make an exact copy of the painting? These same questions can also be asked of movies, shows, books, John Cage compositions, and as this game shows, video games.
Also I quickly want to write about how this game pushes the idea of what is a video game. The only way you can interact with it at all is by launching the game. Does that make this a movie or a video? I would argue no, because other people launching the game will reset your play-through. But that's not a change in the game itself, that's just rewinding the game to the beginning and starting it over. If you were watching a movie in hotel lobby and the staff reset the movie every time someone else glanced at the screen, would that be a video game? or even just a game? I'm not sure, but I think it's really cool that this game makes me ask. Really, that's why I like this game and other games like this. Sure, some may say they're pretentious and not worth playing, but I just love that something as simple as this can ask so many questions about the way that we think about art, uniqueness, and what it means to be a videogame.
hey there, this is a review for the guy who waited a full 4 minutes 3 TIMES IN A ROW before he decided to click on the game and kill it. I spent. 12. whole. minutes. Waiting, sitting ant my screen hoping it would fully turn from black to white and YOU thought it would be awesome to wait and ruin my day. FUCK. YOU.