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Culture

Real architects deconstruct video games

Real-world artists offer insights and observations on the art of game levels.

The Architects' Journal

You'd think an article written for an architectural journal about architects deconstructing video game levels would be boring. But you'd be wrong. Even if you're not an art nerd (I am, now), this short but sweet article in The Architects' Journal gives a little more insight into video game levels than most blog posts do.

Take, for example, this excellent observation of one of the all-time greatest games, Tetris:

Tetris can teach us all a lesson in dimensional coordination and rotational symmetry. Featuring just seven standard building components as the basis for construction, it takes a radical approach to reducing waste material. Tetris has an aesthetic charm too: its combinations of solid and void have proved inspirational for a range of architects including Slovenian architecture studio, OFIS.

Indeed, it can teach us how to reduce waste! Simple, reusable shapes that snap together (hopefully) give us far greater utility than would be expected. That is smart! There are other games listed, too, like Halo and Halo II, and Grand Theft Auto, among others. We learn that Marioland teaches us about "the 'blobitecture' of Zaha Hadid's Dubai Opera House." Neat!

I have several friends who work for video game developers and many of them develop levels, worlds, and backgrounds. They all studied architecture. I'm glad architecture is studying back.