There are three criteria for a great video game: story line, game play and graphics. It's the trifecta of gaming brilliance all designers must perfect if they want their fish to dominate in a highly populated ocean. But in the world of webgames, a designer can hone one or two of these elements to create a successful product. In honor of our video game issue, here are a few casual games that have mastered the interactive art inherent in the genre.
Jason Nelson's webgame is reader-centric poetry with an Atari feel. Game, game, game and again game uses the rules and interface of a side-scrolling video game like Super Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog to convey its message—the little blob of a hero collecting objects to reveal new elements of the poem. A few character-revealing tricks along the way make this a clever art form.
This is more of a webtoy than a webgame as there is no real objective, but it's certainly artistic. Create your own work of Pollock-style art by dragging the mouse over the blank canvas. Click the left mouse button to change colors and then hit space to start fresh. Art in virtual motion.
More of a proper game, but with an artistic element, Maeda Path puts musical creativity into a relationship with the game player. The objective is to follow a path with the cursor, but with each forward motion a musical note is played, giving the user control over the song it creates. Maeda Path is part hand-eye coordination, part music theory.