Some say that we are living in the golden age of gaming. Rhizome.org's 2005 commissions--all seven of which were produced within the last year--prove the rumors to be true. Each work pushes the boundaries of gaming by creatively developing a unique virtual world that holds an insightful relationship to the real one. Several works modify archetypal gaming models. Carlo Zanni's Average Shoveler adapts the graphical landscape of Leisure Suit Larry (1987) to the East Village (2005) and replaces its libidinous anti-hero with a hipster who shovels hopelessly amidst a barrage of newsbytes falling--in the guise of snowflakes--onto the ground. Reminiscent of America's Army in its vivid, 3D war-scape, Media Blackout by c-level member Michael Wilson enlists players in the 'psychological operations of our time' through tactical conflict with religious fundamentalism, military aggression and corporate interest. Other works provide training grounds for real-life situations--such as Warren Sack's Agonistics: A Language Game, which visualizes the actions that comprise a democratic discussion with avatars propelled by comments posted onto a public, online forum. The full array of commissions, also including work by Jason van Anden, Paul Catanese, Luis Hernandez Galvan and Kabir Carter, is accessible on the Rhizome site. Get addicted today! - Lauren Cornell
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