Ready, Set, Games!

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With the recent announcement that the NEA will provide new guidelines for “media art” which includes video games and mobile art (and the kind of hilarious and very obvious reaction from the conservative right) everyone’s been pretty excited about new definitions of art, art-funding and well, games.

Related and equally exciting is the opening of Cory Arcangel: Pro Tools at the Whitney Museum of Art. An amazing artist who’s subjects are often rooted in games and technology, he is one of the youngest artists ever to take over an entire floor at the Whitney.

All this leads me to my favorite game in the world, SET. While it was not created as a video game, its simplicity and power remind me that games and play are often more important than other forms of passive learning. Charles and Ray were major advocates of play, and I think about them every time I play SET. Not only is it the most beautiful card game ever (it sometimes feels like you are in Adobe Illustrator while playing), it is extremely challenging (SET is a “mensa select” game!). My obsession started when visiting my girlfriend’s family. Her four younger sisters were masters of the game, the youngest, at 12 years old, would absolutely destroy any adult attempting to play.

I’ve been hooked recently as well on the iphone app (though decidedly not as beautiful) but often decide simply to draw up a game myself while on the train:

Enjoy yourself and don’t let FOX news tell you playing games is bad for you!!!


Update, here’s my friend Casey’s new redesign of SET’s packaging.

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About August Heffner

August Heffner is a graphic designer, art director, educator and illustrator. He was born in an antique store in St. Louis, MO and moved to New York City to work for his design heroes Matteo Bologna and Stephen Doyle. For awhile he worked for a really, really big branding firm. He is now a design manager at The Museum of Modern Art, the art director of Diner Journal as well as an illustrator and educator.

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