Art Game Show N Tell – Jazzpunk

by | Nov 7, 2017 | Cool Games & Art, Show & Tell



Jazzpunk is an adventure video game made by Adult Swim in 2014. The game takes place in a 50s setting, where you play as a spy in a top secret spy agency. You get sent out to abstract and nonsensical missions with pretty much just one object, however, the game makes it so that exploration plays a huge part in the gameplay. There are NPCs, objects that you can interact with placed all over the map in every level, thus really driving players to go check out each one of those objects and interact with them, rather than focusing entirely on the objective. I think this is a great art piece because of the art style, the gameplay and the humor.

Art Game

So why I think JazzPunk is a great art game is because of the art, gameplay and humor. First looking at the humor, the game provides all kinds of jokes and one liners when interacting with NPCs, which really bring the barely animate NPCs alive. The little interactions such as putting food on NPCs so birds can charge at the NPCs, spraying things at NPCs, and blowing smoke from cigerattes into NPCs which really enhance the comedy aspect of this game. These interactions actually remind me of the game Postal, where you get to do all kinds of things in the game world. Furthermore, the game has a some mini games, so games within the game. These aspects in the game really break the conventions of a normal game because it really gives players something new and unexpected in each new level!

Not like most games out there, the art style in this game is truly unique. With its low poly, cartoonish, minimalistic, 50s style design, the game truly stands out in the art direction compared to many of the other indie games out there. The art has a strong relationship to the abstract and comedic aspects of the game, which makes me further admire this game. The art style actually also looks very much like many of the art pieces in the Dada movement of Zurich and Hannover. Very colorful, abstract, and toy-like art pieces, which can be seen in this game too. So I also think this game reflects well on the two movements.

Overall, this is a great art game that reflects on many of the experimental art pieces that were discussed in class. Like Yoko Ono’s Chess set, or the giant joystick controller, by breaking gameplay conventions, this game truly is a unique art piece.