Workplace Klingon


Yesterday I blogged about my recent New York mag essay, in which I mused over why today’s artists are so joyfully plundering old retro video games. Then today I went to Boing Boing and discovered Pac-Mondrian — a hilarious mod of the game created using the style of the famous artist. You can play the game online for free here!

As the creators note, Piet Mondrian’s signature gridlike style was inspired by Manhattan’s urban life — as well as the boogie-woogie jazz scene, which he loved. In the game, you pilot a traditional Pac-Man around a Mondrianesque maze, munching portions of the painting while pursued by ghosts. Better yet, the munching triggers synchopations in the jazz, as the creators note:

Pac-Mondrian disciplines the syncopated rhythms of Mondrian’s spatial arrangements into a regular grid, then frees the gaze to follow the viewer’s whimsical perambulations of the painting: a player’s thorough study of the painting clears the level.

Each play of the game is an act of devotion. Mondrian’s geometric spirituality fuses with his ecstatic physicality when Pac-Mondrian dances around the screen while the Trinity of Boogie Woogie jazz play ‘Boogie Woogie Prayer’.

Each play of the game is an improvisational jazz session. Pac-Mondrian sits in as a session drummer with Ammons, Lewis, and Johnson, hitting hi-hats, cymbals, and snares as he eats pellets.

(Thanks to Boing Boing for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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