Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 8pm
Games by Mark Essen

Game artist Mark Essen, a.k.a. Messhof, will install five playable games at Light Industry, including two new titles: Stenography Hero, a competitive text-based stenography simulator in the spirit of Guitar Hero, and Rail War, a western-themed side-scroller projected in a Cinemascope aspect ratio.

Essen will present a short talk about his work during which he will upload Stenography Hero and Rail War live to his website for free distribution. Other titles available for play will include Randy Balma: Municipal Abortionist (2008), Punishment: The Punishing (2007) and Flywrench (2007).

Filled with counterintuitive physics, chaotic game mechanics and bursts of strobing color, Messhof’s work combines the essence of old 2D arcade titles--misleadingly cute single-player games that did everything they could to make you choke on that twenty-five cents--with the viewer-challenging puzzle-logic of avant-garde cinema.

The evening will also include a performance by Jordan Stone, who composed music for Essen’s games, using bent toys, dying drum machines, and circuits of his own design to create distorted soundscapes reminiscent of 80s videogaming.

More information about Essen’s work, including screenshots and reviews, is available on his website.

Mark Essen is a game designer living in upstate New York. He recently graduated from Bard College, where he studied experimental film and video under the likes of Peggy Ahwesh and Les Leveque. His games have been written about in Rhizome, Businessweek, Kotaku, Play This Thing, IndieGames.com and 1up.com. In February, Jonathan Blow, creator of indie gaming hit Braid, presented a talk at the Game Developers Conference 2008 called “Experimental Gameplay Sessions,” focusing on Essen’s work.

Tickets - $6, available at door.