They show you ten cards in total – five in black and white, five in color. The inkblots act merely as stimuli, it’s how you perceive them that matters. The technique was coined the Rorschach Test after its creator, Hermann Rorschach. He outlined the procedure in Psychodiagnostik, published in 1921, and since then the test has been in use as a form of psychological study and diagnosis. Those who cannot or will not speak their mind or show their personality, can be read in this way. Hermann Rorschach died just a year after publishing the theory behind his test, though his legacy carries through into modern psychology and is still applied effectively to patients today.
It’s 4am. I can’t sleep again. Eyes glued to the monitor, arms clumsily stretched out over my desk. I’m searching for something but I don’t know what it is yet. Static fleshes everything and wide poles of intense light extrude from the ground. Following their form, they stretch up to what should be a sky. But it just fizzles to black. Rain drizzles back to the ground. Noticing its heavy patter awakens another sense; or is that just white noise? Aimlessly wandering is getting me nowhere but there’s no patterns to offer a hint. Vision is tight and soft-focused. More white against black. More fuzz. More buzz.
There’s nothing here. I pick up my hand from the wrist and flop my finger onto the Esc button. Disgruntled, I confess to myself the need for sleep and roll onto my bed. Eyes shut. Asleep.
“This good little boy, however, had an occasional disturbing habit of taking any small objects he could get hold of and throwing them away from him into a corner, under the bed, and so on, so that hunting for his toys and picking them up was often quite a business. As he did this he gave vent to a loud, long-drawn-out ‘o-o-o-o’, accompanied by an expression of interest and satisfaction. His mother and the writer of the present account were agreed in thinking that this was not a mere interjection but represented the German word ‘fort’ ['gone']. I eventually realized that it was a game and that the only use he made of any of his toys was to play ‘gone’ with them. One day I made an observation which confirmed my view. The child had a wooden reel with a piece of string tied round it. It never occurred to him to pull it along the floor behind him, for instance, and play at its being a carriage. What he did was to hold the reel by the string and very skilfully throw it over the edge of his curtained cot, so that it disappeared into it, at the same time uttering his expressive ‘o-o-o-o’. He then pulled the reel out of the cot again by the string and hailed its reappearance with a joyful ‘da’ ['there']. This, then, was the complete game‹disappearance and return. As a rule one only witnessed its first act, which was repeated untiringly as a game in itself, though there is no doubt that the greater pleasure was attached to the second act.”
…and open them. Phew, safe again. For now. Edging through these dimly lit streets was both a careful and a rushed procedure. Which direction to turn when faced with an option? Let the light guide you or chance the bitter darkness?
“In this short game you must close your eyes to stay alive.”
Statik: How would you describe your style – most of your games have a similar vibe to them I’d say?
Nuprahtor: I prefer the minimalistic approach to every aspect of the game – visuals, sounds, gameplay. This allows me to make stylistically similar games, and as I do, I change my style little by little, thus creating and enlarging the setting my games take place in. By that I mean some kind of an in-game world that grows and develops with new creatures, rules, recurring objects one can recognise, such as the streetlights. The same applies to other recurring elements, which change and improve with every new game.
Statik: Why do you choose to make small experiments (or compositions as you call them on your Tumblr) rather than say work on a bigger project?
Nuprahtor: Bigger games require much more free time than I can afford. Chances of a developer losing interest to the game are more probable when working on a bigger game. However, these are not the only reasons. I try to realize a certain single idea, a concept, in my every game. It may be closing one’s eyes to stay alive, surviving in a bizarre well, attempting to cross an empty battlefield or having to listen to horrible sounds in order to find an exit from a room. The only thing in the game must be this concept. The rest is redundant, and a game session serves the only purpose – delivering these little concepts.
“In this game you have to answer three questions.”
You want to live?
Others deserve death?
Nuprahtor: These games made a deep impression on me. Before playing them, I never thought one could achieve so much with the minimalistic approach to the graphics and other aspects of the game. The SFX of Radio Silence. The red palette of Red Sky. The gameplay of Snowdrift is one of the most thought-out ones in these kind of games, to my mind. I borrowed minimalism in graphics, sound and gameplay from these games, but I tried not to do so blindly. I tried to develop my own style. How it turned out is not for me to judge.
Other sources of inspiration are many, all of them trivial. Firstly, music. Any genre, stirring any emotions. Films, books, other videogames – all of these inspire me as well. Quite often I get my concepts from my dreams, but this is more of a result of constant research of ideas while awake. Sometimes the ideas come from different feelings I get in my everyday life, such as walking down the street or taking a long bus ride.
cadavre exquis / exquisite corpse
Among Surrealist techniques exploiting the mystique of accident was a kind of collective collage of words or images called the cadavre exquis (exquisite corpse). Based on an old parlor game, it was played by several people, each of whom would write a phrase on a sheet of paper, fold the paper to conceal part of it, and pass it on to the next player for his contribution.
The technique got its name from results obtained in initial playing, “Le cadavre / exquis / boira / le vin / nouveau” (The exquisite corpse will drink the young wine). Other examples are: “The dormitory of friable little girls puts the odious box right” and “The Senegal oyster will eat the tricolor bread.” These poetic fragments were felt to reveal what Nicolas Calas characterized as the “unconscious reality in the personality of the group” resulting from a process of what Ernst called “mental contagion.”
“This is game about hunger. In order to survive, you must constantly eat.”
Statik: What are you trying to achieve through making these games? Are you learning something yourself or is it more of a player experiment perhaps?
Nuphrahtor: This is a tough question that I’ve been trying to answer myself for a while, but I’ve yet to find an answer. Right now I can’t stop making games – think of it as of graphomania, but in terms of gamedev. All kinds of ideas come into my head and I feel I need to convey them through games.
My name is Ivan, I’m 20, Russia. I’ve been playing videogames since my childhood. NES, SNES, Gameboy, Sega, Playstation and finally PC. I’ve played a whole lot of videogames, but I’ve taken a hiatus for the last three years.
“This is a game about Nausea. Created for local Russian competition. Theme of compo – “White silence”.”
Statik: I’ve noticed that you have some abandoned projects, why did you abandon them?
Nuprahtor: I don’t have a lot of abandoned games. As I’ve mentioned before, I make little games because they require less time, granting more chances to actually finish them. However, sometimes I freeze the development of a game for some time, returning to it later. Once, the development of a game worth 5 minutes of gameplay took me a whole year – I’ve been making it little by little, developing other games in between. However, about three months ago, my hard drive died by an accident. There were quite a lot of games I’d started, some of them were almost done. They’ll most probably never see the light of day now.
Encased by four walls. Guardians of the outside. Perhaps a trigger or a switch lies hidden. The fingertips serrate against the coldness of the walls. All around but nothing. Perhaps this is an analysis of behaviour – am I doing something wrong? Scan the walls again…still nothing. Over and over. Round and round. Then stop.
It approaches from above. Slowly. Teasing my neck craning. Down to me you come. Like an angel yet without the wings; a machine yet without the poison. Yes. A button. Scan the walls for any tricks one last time. And press.
“I was scanning the room every three seconds”
Statik: Lastly, what are you working on right now? Could you explain a bit about it – details, inspiration, how much it has changed since its inception?
Nuprahtor: Currently I am working on three big projects – as big as my games go – and a handful of smaller ones.
To see the rest of Ivan’s work, head over to his Tumblr page where he posts all of his games – the intriguing little soul.